This recipe is adapted from the "Simply Down Home Cookbook' that I received from Studentchef in the Spring 2009 Cookbook Swap. It uses some of my favorite ingredients and I can not wait until late Spring when fresh, local asparagus is in season! A neighboring town, Hadley, Massachusetts is famous for its asparagus and I eat more than my fill every year!
- 1 lb penne rigate or 1 lb rotini pasta
- 6 -8 ounces of fully cooked boneless chicken, seasoned to your own taste (Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic work well in this recipe and I use leftover roast chicken)
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- 16 ounces fresh grape tomatoes
- 2⁄3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup pitted coarsely chopped olive (kalamata or the olives of your choice)
- 1 cup crumbled feta or 1⁄2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a stockpot.
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain pasta and keep warm.
- Wash asparagus and remove and discard tough ends.
- Slice asparagus into one inch pieces.
- Cook asparagus in a large skillet in shallow water and steam for 1-2 minutes until crisp tender.
- Drain well and reserve.
- Chop chicken into one inch pieces.
- Cut grape tomatoes in half.
- Combine Italian dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add cooked pasta and asparagus to the Italian dressing and mix together until everything is evenly coated.
- Add chicken, tomatoes, basil, olives, and cheese and stir to combine.
- Serve pasta salad warm or at room temperature.