Penne Pasta With Asparagus, Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas

This is a delicious pasta that could be served with any meat, fish or poultry main dish or it could be served by itself with some crusty French bread.  You could also add cooked chicken, shrimp or sausage in step 4  to make it a one-bowl meal.

Serves 6-8
(depending on the optional additions*)

1 pound penne, regular or whole wheat or whole grain
1 pound asparagus spears, stems broken off and cut into 1 1/2" lengths
1 large carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
1 cup sugar snap peas (or 8 oz. bag ‘Farmers Market’ Ready Veggies – Oriental Style Mix – sugar snap peas and baby corn – available at Harris Teeter)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup parmesan cheese

Additional parmesan cheese to serve

*Optional – 1 1/2 – 2 cups bite size cooked chicken pieces or cooked shrimp or cooked sausage, sliced in 1/2" thick pieces

1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously.  Cook the penne for 8 minutes. Add the asparagus, carrots and sugar snap peas or ‘veggie package’  and cook for 2-3 minutes more, making sure the pasta is still al dente and then drain all.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a LARGE saute pan or pot over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes or so, stirring.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook1-2 minutes, stirring.

3.  Add the cream and chicken broth and mustard, bring to a simmer and simmer for a 2 minutes, scraping up any bits in the pan.

4. * Add the chicken, shrimp or sausage, if using, and stir, until heated.

5.  Add the drained pasta and vegetables and stir all together until pasta is coated with the sauce, and everything is heated through. Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in 1 cup parmesan cheese.

6.  Scoop into large serving dish or bowl and serve – with additional parmesan cheese on the side.

Good with crusty French Bread. Yum!

Note* You could add to or substitute vegetables in the recipe……