Recipe | "Creamy Lemon Penne with Chicken and Asparagus" by Sue Ready

Cook’s Notes: Asparagus, a spring star, is a succulent, savory vegetable that contains a stimulating blend of nutrients, making this a fantastic food for your health whether it’s grilled, roasted or baked. 

Cooking Tip: For more tender pieces of chicken marinate for 2 hours in buttermilk. Roast asparagus while making chicken dish. Don't skip the red pepper flakes as it adds a little punch to the dish. Recipe serves four and  adapted from


  • ¾ cup buttermilk 
  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced in small pieces
  • 1-1/4 TB. olive oil, divided 
  • ½ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • ¾ lb. asparagus spears, woody stems removed 
  • 1-1/2 TB. butter
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TB. flour
  • 1-3/4 cups water 
  • 2 cups dried penne
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers (jarred), drained on a paper towel and diced 
  • 3 oz. Neufchatel cheese (1/3 cup fat cream cheese) diced 
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1-2 TB. lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 TB. dry white wine
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB dried parsley flakes
  • Place chicken pieces and ¾ cup buttermilk in a zip loc bag. Marinate for 2 hours, drain. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • On a parchment lined baking sheet spread asparagus spears out evenly and drizzle with ¼ tablespoon olive oil, grate fresh Parmesan cheese over spears and roast 15 minute until al dente. Cut into pieces. Lay foil piece lightly over to keep warm and set aside. 
  • Heat olive oil and sauté chicken with onions and garlic about 4-5 minute until cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove chicken mixture and keep warm with asparagus pieces. 
  • Add butter to pan with water, broth and penne. Bring to a boil and cook penne to al dente. There will be some broth /water leftover to use as sauce. 
  • Mix flour with a little water add to the leftover broth/water with cream cheese, Parmesan, peppers, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes and parsley. Mix well. Add in asparagus pieces and chicken. Cook on low heat until thickened. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese.

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