Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

Chicken , Penne Pasta , Asparagus, Grape Tomatoes , with Garlic Primavera Sauce

As many of you know from visiting here often  I have a wonderful Grandmother that I adore.I have to say ” I am her # 1 fan! ” Her name is Josephine or as her family and close friends fondly call her Josie. If you had no idea — Trust me if you come here long enough you will learn more than you might care to know about Josie.

Grandmother or 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 though . ..We rarely grumble cleaning her piles of pots, pans and kitchen utensils up . You see that little feisty short Italian lady has rules . The rules are -she shops for the food, pain painstakingly picking it out at the Farmers Market … lovingly cooks it to perfection … YOU do ALL the cleaning …. It’s the RULES … You have to follow the rules .

Little Josie is 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 . You by now have already gathered from the start of this story — she’s a bit messy  and sometimes bossy . She really is the BEST though . That means she gets some leeway from us … OK  you caught me a LOT of leeway from us.

Now keep in mind Josie has a much different way of making her Primavera Sauce– She will tell you from word one — adding that cream listed in the recipe below is NOT an ole school Italian Tradition . She will also tell you that Primavera Sauce is not about the sauce (It’s ALL about those beautifully colored vegetables ) She will 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 … She will 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 a family tradition .

With that said… we will move on to what we came her for

Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus

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

Homemade sauce

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

Garnish and topping

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

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- If desired toss in a little olive oil to coat the pasta .

Pour the heavy-cream in a sauce pan. Place on medium low heat add both cheeses, minced garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stirring constantly on low heat. Cook stirring on low for about 5 minutes or all cheese and ingredients are incorporated. Turn off heat completely .

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 about 1 -2 minutes to slightly soften (You will want the asparagus to remain firm.)

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.

Top with extra cheese before serving -if desired pepper flakes and chopped basil.

© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2015. 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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