In Illinois, asparagus is in season, so every farmer’s market is overflowing with fresh, purplish green stalks. I love it grilled in the summer, but was looking to mix it up tonight and use some other ingredients I had on hand. I ended up making rotini with chicken and a grilled asparagus tomato sauce finished with goat cheese. Browned butter and garlic added a nice complexity that was really well balanced out by the tanginess of the tomatoes and goat cheese. It was definitely a keeper.
I wanted to keep the sauce simple, and let the fresh ingredients stand out. I started by sauteeing two cloves of garlic in just under a tablespoon of butter. Once it browned, I added in a can of diced tomatoes (use fresh if they’re in season, but use canned if the only tomatoes you can get at the store are a dull orange color — canned tomatoes are ripened on the vined and then canned, so they paradoxically have a much fresher flavor than greenhouse tomatoes). I let a bit of the liquid cook out for a minute or two, then added some fresh basil and turned the heat off. Fresh basil makes a huge difference — you could use dried, but you won’t get the same flavor.
I then grilled some asparagus on my cast iron grill pan with some salt and pepper, then cut it up and added it to the sauce. The chicken breast got a rub with a basic italian spice blend, and was then put on the grill while the pasta cooked. Once everything was done, I combined and finished with a crumble of goat cheese. Quick, easy, delicious.