Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus is such a deliciously flavorful simple pasta dish and it has a few of my favorite ingredients, tender juicy chicken, fresh asparagus, and ripe grape tomatoes from the garden.

As some of you know from following the blog, I have a wonderful lady that I adore, her name is Josephine but her family and close friends call her Josie, to me she is Nona. This is one of her American-Italian recipes and a family favorite of ours.

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

Nona Josie is a wild little short Italian lady that loves to cook and make a HUGE mess in the kitchen. Her food is really so fantastic so we rarely grumble cleaning her piles of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils up.

Josie can be a rather amusing cook, she often appears to be coveted by her family and close friends for her inner cooking goddess. She has always had a very unorthodox, yet oddly traditional style of cooking.

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

Josie also has a much different way of making Primavera Sauce. She will tell you from word one that adding that cream listed in the recipe below is NOT an old-school Italian Tradition. She will also tell you that Primavera is not about the sauce, It’s ALL about those beautifully colored vegetables. She may lecture you for hours that the vegetables need to be the freshest most vibrant vegetables you can find at the market.

If you don’t watch it she will tell you to open her refrigerator and pull the vegetable bin out, then proceed to go through each item in the vegetable bin and tell you if it’s perfect. Or she seems to murmur ” Nah–it’s OK, but not what I want to show you…THIS, yes. This one is GOOD!!! You will notice a triumphant gleam in those wise old brown eyes that are surrounded by lovely laugh lines. You will know Josie has yet again schooled you in the art of family tradition.

With that said… we will move on to what we came here for the recipe

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

  • 16-ounces of uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound of baked seasoned boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1×1 pieces
  • 4 cups of homemade Primavera sauce, below
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed & in 1 and 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 minced garlic clove
  • virgin olive oil
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Homemade sauce

  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Garnish and topping

  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • freshly grated cheese


  1. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a full boil over high heat. Add the pasta-cook until Al dente about 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and toss with a little olive oil to coat the pasta.
  2. Pour the heavy-cream in a sauce pan. Place on medium low heat add both types of cheese, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir constantly on low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or all cheese and ingredients are incorporated. Turn off the heat completely.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the remainder of minced garlic, which should be 3 minced cloves, cook about 1 – 2 minutes on low. Do not brown the garlic. Add the asparagus and grape tomatoes, then season with the salt and pepper. Cook for about 3-4 minutes to slightly soften (You will want the asparagus to remain firm.)
  4. At this time add the vegetables, pre-baked and pre-cut chicken then place sauce over Penne Pasta. At this time lightly toss and combine all ingredients together.
  5. Top with extra cheese, pepper flakes, and chopped basil before serving.

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus Recipe pin


© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2017-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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