Here’s a light, refreshing pasta salad that still has enough substance to make it a meal. It is simple and easy to make and very flavorful.
The idea for this salad, like some of my other pasta salads, came from the deli section of the supermarket where I shopped back in Indiana. They had a large selection of interesting pasta salads which I looked over as I waited for meat to be sliced. I never actually bought any of the salads for a number of reasons: Most did not have meat or seafood, and I was interested in pasta salads as a main course. I’m sure their salads had too much salt. And if I made the salad myself, I could include more of the good stuff, as with this salad. More asparagus, less pasta.
I usually have clear preferences for the types of pasta to be used for each of my salads. The shrimp pasta salad needed the tri-color rotini to go with the colors of the shrimp, scallions, and green and red pepper. Farfalla seems to have the right shape to go with the pieces of romaine in the pasta Caesar salad. And for this salad, the shape of the pieces of asparagus absolutely requires the penne pasta.
Asparagus, chicken, and penne salad
1 cup cooked chicken breast in bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup penne pasta
1–1/2 cups asparagus, 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small or 1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 teaspoon herbes de Provence
fresh ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan
Some time before serving, cook the pasta following package directions. Drain and rinse.
Put the asparagus into boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and keep green color.
Put pasta, asparagus, and chicken in a bowl and chill.
When ready to serve, whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Pour over salad and mix. Put the salad on the serving plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan.