With the advent of warmer weather, somehow my mind turns to food. As with every season. Have I mentioned that I love food?
I always imagine eating on our wonderful back porch, with a cool evening breeze and listening to the birds sing and the frogs in the pond croak. . . . *croak* . . . Maybe a even light a fire in the fire pit and singing “Kumbaya” – or is that “Jumbalaya”. Doesn’t matter. No flies, no dust, no pollen, no sounds of cars screaming by no dogs barking.
Well, where we live it goes from winter to summer pretty fast. We’ve had one or two evenings where the fire pit idea was perfect.
That was before the oak pollen starting raining from the heavens – like cats and dogs.
More like just dogs. No cats at our house.
So, we come full circle back to the food idea. Indoor dining isn’t so bad. Especially when you have something delicious, nutritious, and nicely chilled.
A bottle of vino never hurt anything either. But I’m actually talking about pasta salad. I love it, but left pasta alone for a lot of years because my body just doesn’t like carbs. Being diabetic seemed to severely limit my pasta intake. Just the other day, though, I was reading that pasta is much better than eating even brown rice (if I find that article again I’ll post it for you).
Through my BFF Susie, I found Dreamfield’s Pastas. Lower on the glycemic index and high in fiber. You know, most of the good-for-you pastas I’ve tried before ended up tasting like cardboard. But not this one. I guess all this information gives me the green light to have a little pasta.
I love this dish. Even My Mountain Man ‘likes’ this dish. He’s really a meat and taters kinda guy. If he likes this pasta salad then hopefully you will, too. Add to that the spring asparagus season is here and you’ve got the perfect picnic and back porch settin’ food! (Pollen not included) And it is oh, so, easy!
Chicken Asparagus Penne’ Pasta Salad
1 pkg Zesty Italian Dressing Mix – Dry
1lb Chicken Tenders, grilled and seasoned with 1 Tbsp dry Zesty Italian dressing mix (save the rest of the dry mix for later). Rough chop into approx ½” pieces. (You can also sub cubed roasted chicken)
14.5 oz (1 box) Dreamfield’s Penne Pasta
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 lb. Asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces
3 cups Cherry Tomatoes (or 8 quartered small round tomatoes)
½ cup fresh, rough chopped Celery
½ cup finely chopped Onion
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Pasta Water
1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1 small can of Sliced Black Olives
1 small jar of sliced green salad olives (1 small jar of capers could be used instead)
2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
4 Tbsp Fresh chopped Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Cracked Pepper
Cook pasta according to directions. Pour into large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later.
Saute’ garlic and asparagus in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until asparagus is tender. Add tomatoes and toss with garlic and asparagus over low heat for 2 minutes. Then add mixture to pasta.
Add all other ingredients, except for ¼ cup cheese and basil. Mix thoroughly. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with remaining cheese and basil. Salt to taste. Garnish with whole basil leaves. You can serve this dish warm or chill before serving.
3 Deuce Carbed,
You can purchase high-resolution photos of this recipe picture and others here. They make great kitchen decor and gifts. Also, the notecards are great for sharing recipes! More added every week.