Prep 25 mins
Cook 15 mins
The asparagus is oven-baked - I served this to two people who do not normally care for asparagus and they loved it. Oven baking brings out a whole different level of flavor and texture. Thin, fresh asparagus works the best for this recipe! I always cut out any tough, white or red pieces on my chicken breasts. If breast tenders are cheaper, they will work perfectly instead of whole breasts. Beginner cooks - you can cook each thing separately ending with the chicken to relieve stress from multiple things at once
- 1⁄2 lb asparagus
- 1 whole bulb of garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces chicken breasts
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 teaspoons of grated parmesan cheese
- 4 pinches sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of regular table salt
- 4 pinches black pepper
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes
- Turn oven to 375°F and start a pot of boiling water for pasta.
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces, toss in a bowl with 1 pinch of kosher or sea salt, 1 pinch of black pepper and 1 pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Cut the top 1/4th of the garlic bulb off to expose tops of cloves.
- Brush garlic lightly with olive oil, place on oven-safe pan in the corner.
- Rinse and dry asparagus - hold a stick of asparagus between your fingers towards the end of the stick and give it a light bend - snap the bottom of the asparagus stick off slightly before it starts getting hard - repeat with each stick (or for a time saver - just chop off the bottom 1 and 1/2 inches of each stick).
- Place asparagus in the oven-safe pan with the garlic - lightly coat with olive oil - sprinkle 1 pinch of kosher or sea salt and one pinch of black pepper on asparagus and garlic.
- Cook in oven for 25 minutes or until asparagus is crisp and garlic clove is browned (You may need to remove one before the other is done cooking depending on sizes).
- Cook penne pasta according to instructions on packaging; add table salt to water after water starts to boil - drain when cooked slightly beyond al-dente and rinse quickly with cool tap water.
- Cut mozzarella into pieces less than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch and place off to the side.
- In a frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add chicken pieces - stir often to cook each piece and each side evenly until golden brown.
- In a large bowl, empty chicken pieces and remaining olive oil, toss in pasta and mozzarella.
- Cut asparagus into bite size pieces and add to pasta mixture.
- Remove garlic cloves from husk and chop or mash with a knife or fork into small pieces and mix well into pasta mixture.
- Add remaining seasonings and parmesan cheese and give it one last good mix then serve.
I doubled this and used an entire 2.25lb bag of asparagus from costco, because I wanted a pasta with a lot of vegetables.. I cut the asparagus before roasting, which is easier. I think I would not add the mozzarella next time, because it makes the pasta too heavy/gunky in my opinion (but I used shredded mozz, not fresh). It needs a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on the top for color and taste. I like the concept of this recipe, but it needs tweaking... I think the cheese was what made me like it less than the original fresh, clean-tasting chicken-pasta-asparagus mix.
This was fabulous! I modified it slightly due to time constraints, using shredded mozzerella and cubed chicken. I know, I know, too much processed food but it was still excellent. Highly recommended and I am sure would be even more excellent using original suggested ingedients.