We’ve been lucky enough to get brief glimpses of spring’s arrival over the last couple weeks: temperatures are sneaking up into the 40’s, the giant snow banks are finally melting, and birds are starting to chirp in the trees once again. Each year when these signs of spring appear, I get so excited to start cooking up light dishes like this Penne with Chicken & Spring Vegetables, which highlight the delicious, seasonal produce available. Does this happen to you too? If a fresh, spring-inspired meal is on your mind (like it obviously is on mine!), you’ll love this simple pasta dish. Sautéed vegetables including crisp-tender asparagus, yellow summer squash, and plump cherry tomatoes are combined with chunks of chicken breast and hot penne pasta. Tossed at the last minute with parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil, this is a delicious pasta dish that also happens to be protein and fiber-filled! So, forget about winter this week and fast forward to thoughts of warm weather and sunshine with this light and spring-y meal!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add penne pasta, and cook according to package directions (until al dente). Drain the pasta, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in the skillet and add onion and garlic; sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the asparagus, season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and summer squash; sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour the chicken broth in to the skillet and return the cooked chicken to the pan; bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes are softened and the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cooked hot pasta and the parmesan cheese to the skillet. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta, if needed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or platter; garnish with fresh chopped basil and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.
Leah Anderson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of WI.