When you have a food blog you tend to be the one who does most of the cooking in your house. This works well for us - I work from home now but even when I was commuting to an office I was always home before SP. He is a fantastic cook, his first job was working in a restaurant, but his schedule has made it difficult for him to get in the kitchen these last few years. Recently he asked me to make it possible for him to cook one meal on a weekend (usually Sunday). He spent a lot of time looking through my back issues of Cook's Country before choosing this recipe for Pasta with Lemony Chicken and Asparagus.
As agreed, I stayed out of the kitchen and let him do his thing. Baby Girl helped trim the asparagus (she loves snapping off the woody ends) and I consulted when he had any questions but this meal was entirely his. And it was fantastic, light and flavorful with the brightness of the lemon and the kick from the garlic. The asparagus were perfect - not to thin and not to thick, cooked until tender but not mushy. The chicken was nicely browned and we both loved the campanelle pasta even if it was almost twice the price of our usual store brand. I can't say enough good things about this meal. Even the leftovers were awesome.
The original recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts (1 1/2 lbs) and only half a pound of pasta. I convinced SP to cut it down to 3 chicken breasts and it was still a lot of chicken. I'm modifying the recipe to only 2 chicken breasts. I also think a bunch of asparagus is less than a pound (we didn't weigh it) so you might want to buy two bunches - you can never have too much asparagus.
I can't wait to see what he'll make next!
Pasta with Lemony Chicken and Asparagus
Cook's Country Magazine April/May 2008
8 ounces campanelle pasta
Salt and pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4"-thick slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return pasta to the pot and set aside.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat with another tablespoon of butter and the remaining chicken.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the now-empty pan and add the asparagus. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, chicken, asparagus, lemon juice, cheese and parsley to the pot with the pasta and toss to combine, adding the 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water as needed to make a sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed, then serve.