When springtime rolls around I find almost any excuse to cook fresh asparagus we bring home from the market. This is an easy pasta dish with asparagus and chicken breasts.
Goat cheese melts into the cream sauce to make it even creamier.
The lemon juice brightens the sauce, and a glance of nutmeg adds a final note.
Feel free to play around with this one! Swap out a different cheese, or experiment with different herbs like thyme or basil, or even add some heat with a few chili pepper flakes.
Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta
- 1 lb asparagus spears, tough ends cut off and discarded, spears cut on the diagonal in 1-inch to 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3/4 lb penne or bow tie pasta
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sinews, and cut into strips 1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Blanch the asparagus
Bring a large pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water) to a boil. Add the asparagus and blanch for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside
Cook the pasta
In the same water you used to blanch the asparagus, add the pasta and prepare according to the package instructions for al dente, while cooking the chicken.
Reserve a half cup of the cooking water for adding back to the pasta if needed.
Sauté the chicken strips and shallots
Heat butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chicken strips to the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Do not stir, cook until lightly browned on one side. Add shallots, cook for a minute longer.
Add the chicken broth, cream, nutmeg, goat cheese, lemon zest, oregano, thyme, and most of the Parmesan cheese
(reserve some Parmesan to sprinkle on top when serving). Cook, stirring, until the cheese has fully melted and incorporated into the cream.
Add the blanched asparagus
Let come to a simmer and simmer for a minute.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Sprinkle with more black pepper to taste.
Place pasta in a serving bowl. Stir in the chicken asparagus cream sauce
Add as much of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed for a creamy texture for the pasta. Serve with reserved grated Parmesan.