Rigatoni with Grilled chicken, Lemon and Asparagus
16 oz. dried rigatoni [or pasta of your choosing]
8-16 ounces chicken breast [more chicken=heartier meal]
1 bunch asparagus
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until cooked. If you're afraid of your grill or don't have one, then just cook it however you want, although the grill or a good oven roasting will make it taste the best.
Put your pasta on to boil; you should be able to do the rest while it's cooking. I'm going to confess that rigatoni was a super score because everyone at the table ended up with little pieces of asparagus hiding in their rigatoni—that's food and fun, and if you have boys, well, you need as much fun as you can get! Zest both lemons, then squeeze the juice of the lemons over the zest and let it sit while you prepare; this will soften the zest and make it more palatable. Peel asparagus (yes, it made a world of difference, although I doubted at first) and slice on the bias into 1-inch pieces, set aside. I only peeled the lower 2/3 or so, and it was awesome. Slice or chop chicken according to your "poultry-in-pasta" preferences. Alternately, you could serve the chicken whole with the pasta on the side; whatever—I like it in, Liz likes it out. sometimes.
Anyway, in the last minute of cooking, add the asparagus to the pasta. When pasta is cooked and while asparagus is still crisp, drain, but don't rinse. Immediately throw the noodles and asparagus back in the cooking pot (this will preserve a bit of the cooking liquid) and add butter & olive oil. Stir a moment to melt the butter, then add chicken, lemon juice and zest, and parmesan cheese. Stir well to mix ingredients. If you'd like, just before serving, drizzle about 2 Tbsp heavy cream over the pasta, then mix in. I just happened to have heavy cream on hand and it took this dish to over-the-top. I highly recommend. Season to taste with salt and pepper, although I didn't really need much.