Pasta Shells with Prosciutto and Lemon Crunch Topping

by Pamela

Pasta Shells with Prosciutto and Lemon Crunch Topping

Pasta dishes are always a hit at our house, but with the summer heat we don’t want anything too heavy. This pasta shells with prosciutto and lemon crunch topping is perfect for those hot weather days. It doesn’t matter if you eat it hot or cold, it still tastes delicious. And that lemon crunch topping? That’s a little bit of a surprise.

Pasta shells are probably my favorite shape for pasta. I love how their little cups hold all the goodies so you can actually taste a little bit of everything all in one bite. And as far as pasta dishes go, this one’s got a lot of little pieces for those shells to hold on to. Things like prosciutto (yum!), cream, garlic, dandelion greens, lemon and a granola crunch topping. WHAT?!?

Pasta Shells with Prosciutto and Lemon Crunch Topping

Yep, granola crunch topping. I’ve entered this recipe into the Golden Girl Granola recipe contest. The deal was you had to make an entree with one of their flavors of granola (they sent me a package of their granola to use in the recipe). Not a dessert, or breakfast treat, but an actual entree. Oh sure, I could have taken the easy way out and just breaded some chicken, fish or pork with the granola and called it a day, but I thought I’d try something a little outside of the box. If breadcrumbs are good, wouldn’t granola be great?

To transform the granola from a cereal bowl thing to a delicious entree ingredient takes just a little bit of creativity. Okay, it also takes a few minutes in a frying pan with some olive oil, salt and lemon zest. While this may sound strange, the sweetness of the granola is subtle and pairs really well with the bit of salt and tangy lemon zest. This is the kind of thing that makes your pasta dishes stand out from the rest – a little bit of creativity.

Pasta Shells with Prosciutto and Lemon Crunch Topping

I really like pasta dishes that have a lot of different textures (not just a pile of soft noodles and sauce). This dish has the creamy, crunchy, tangy, salty and sweet that I crave. I mean, what’s not to love about a dish that’s loaded with crispy pieces of prosciutto?

While this recipe looks like it’s got a lot of ingredients, everything comes together really quickly and easily. This would make for a perfect weeknight dinner recipe. Even the kids are going to love this. And you can pair this light and tasty recipe with a chilled glass of vinho verde and really make your taste buds sing.

Pasta Shells with Prosciutto and Lemon Crunch Topping
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pasta dishes don't have to be boring. This pasta shells with prosciutto and lemon crunch topping is the perfect weeknight dinner recipe.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • Lemon Crunch Topping
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Golden Girl Granola - Home Sweet Honey Flavor
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • Pasta
  • 12 Ounces Pasta Shells
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Ounces Prosciutto, diced into small pieces
  • 1 Clove Garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • ¼ Cup Half and Half (or you could use cream)
  • ¼ Cup Pasta Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Thinly Sliced Dandelion Leaves (or you could use radicchio or kale)
  1. Lemon Crunch Topping
  2. Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium high heat.
  3. Once oil is hot, add granola to the pan.
  4. Stir and cook until granola is browned (about 3 minutes).
  5. Remove from pan and pour out onto a paper towel lined plate.
  6. Sprinkle with kosher salt and lemon zest then stir to combine everything.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Pasta
  9. Cook pasta according to package instructions but be sure to save ¼ cup of the pasta water before you drain it.
  10. Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium heat.
  11. Once oil is hot, add prosciutto, garlic and thyme to the pan.
  12. Cook until the prosciutto is crisped (about 8 minutes) then add half and half and pasta water to the pan.
  13. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 2 minutes) and turn off the heat and remove the thyme stems.
  14. Stir the pasta into the sauce.
  15. Add lemon juice, salt and the dandelion leaves and give everything a good stir to combine it.
  16. Sprinkle the lemon crunch topping on top of the pasta and serve.



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John@Kitchen Riffs July 29, 2015 at 9:57 am

Love pasta shells! One of my favorite shapes. This topping has my name on it — so flavorful! Really nice — thanks.

Pamela July 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm

I’m with you on the shells shape John. They work for so many recipes and the shape is just fun! I think you’ll really like the topping…the granola adds a great crunch to the dish.

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