Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cooking Challenge Week 16 - Asparagus - Chicken Asparagus Pasta Salad

This was one of those lightning-flash inspirations.  I like asparagus just fine, now that I eat my green vegetables, which wasn't always true.  But aside from the deep-fried asparagus at Scottys when we visit my husband's parents during prime asparagus season....I really don't eat it much.  Looking though the few recipes I do have, the seasonings for asparagus sides always seemed to involve lemon, garlic, or both.  I didn't want to throw some token roasted asparagus next to a steak and squeeze a lemon over it.

When I realized I had another meal planned this week that needed chicken, so I was already dragging out my beloved pressure cooker, and I have lemon juice and olive oil and garlic and pasta all sitting around anyways...

Chicken Asparagus Pasta Salad

  •  8 oz. uncooked small pasta shapes (like rotini, in my case)
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
 In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and blend thoroughly with a whisk.  (Alternately, if you have a cocktail shaker, those work great for mixing viniagrettes too--thank you, Good Eats!)

Slice the asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces, and load into a steamer basket.  Steam over barely simmering water, covered, for five minutes--we're shooting for cooked but not mushy.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool while preparing pasta.

Then, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions, as times will vary by pasta shape.  Drain, but do not rinse, and add to the asparagus.

Add the chopped chicken to that, then pour over the dressing and toss to coat everything.  Refrigerate until fully chilled before serving.

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