It was like something out of the Wizard of Oz here today! I guess that's kind of appropriate since L. Frank Baum was from this area, but there were no balloons floating around today, just a whole lotta the white stuff. I'm sooooooo over it already! I was very excited to see the driveway yesterday, now it's gone again! :(
Bummed about the weather and not wanting to go out if at all possible, we were tossing around dinner ideas. There was some chicken in the fridge, all kinds of pasta in the pantry, and some naked lemons in the fruit bowl (they donated their zest to my Lemon Thyme Cake the other day). OK, so chicken, pasta, and lemons. What else have we got? Not a whole lot at the moment. At least by way of veggies. Per usual, the Dunkin Junkie couldn't make it through a day without my java, so I did end up running out. I was going to get some multi-colored bell peppers or maybe some snap peas, but then it hit me - asparagus! We all love asparagus, and it certainly pairs well with chicken, pasta, AND lemon. What didn't occur to me was that white wine would also go well with those things. Maybe next time.
Kraft grated Parmesan (not the "good stuff"/not store brand - use Kraft!!)
1 Box Spaghetti, Linguine, or Fettuccine
2 lb Asparagus
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 Small Red Onion
Juice From 1.5 Lemons (INCREASE)
Fresh Grated Parmesan for Garnish (the Kraft is fine too)
Trim the ends off the asparagus, then cut the rest into about 1" pieces. Mince, grate, crush, or slice your garlic - I used my impulse purchase garlic slicer from a Pampered Chef Party for the first time. I keep forgetting about it. Ignore the second pile of garlic in the corner on the right. That's for my next project - a ginormous batch of meat sauce.
Now that your veggies are ready, you can put on a pot of water for your pasta if you want.
Dredge the chicken in Dijon Mustard, then in the Kraft Parmesan. I don't know if it's a difference in moisture content or what, but this chicken always works best with the Kraft. Fresh grated Parmesan and store brand Parmesan don't seem to come out as well. We happened to have a store brand on hand today. You can see how a lot of the cheese came off and didn't color evenly. Cook the chicken in a little olive oil, then set aside on a plate, but do not clean out the pan.
Your pot should be boiling by now, so go ahead and toss in some salt and your pasta. Bear the Parm in mind when you're salting your pasta, as the cheese is salty as well, and you will be using some of the pasta water.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan with the "crispies" from the chicken, bring the heat back up and toss in the garlic and onions. When they are nicely coated with the oil and start to cook down, add the asparagus and a healthy dose of Lemon Pepper.
While that's cooking, go ahead and cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces. Don't forget to check on your pasta. ;)
When the asparagus is cooked to your liking, add the chicken and lemon juice, then pour over a little of the pasta liquid. Here is where I would have added some white wine if I had any. Gently toss in the pasta, then transfer to a serving platter and top with fresh grated Parmesan.
Funny - this looks like a plate of pasta, but it's really a huge platter.
The verdict - very good, but needs MORE LEMON! I figured between the lemon pepper and a lemon and a half, that would be plenty, but it was still pretty mild. Had my lemons not already been naked, I would have used the zest as well. I'll definitely make it again, but with more lemon and maybe some crushed red pepper. Yummmm!