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April Pasta

I put this together with some pretty random ingredients we happened to have in the fridge, and it was a hit. The marinade for the chicken was inspired by J, who used to dip his chicken tenders in honey as a kid. The prosciutto and feta add a salty bite to what is, otherwise, a relatively sweet dish.

For 2 giant servings, you'll need:

+ 2 chicken breasts, trimmed
+ 1 lemon
+ 3 cloves of garlic
+ olive oil, 4 tablespoons
+ honey, 3 tablespoons
+ 3 thin sheets of prosciutto
+ 1 bunch of asparagus (get the skinny guys, for this)
+ whole wheat pasta (penne or another short shape), about 2 cups
+ butter, 3 tablespoons
+ feta cheese, crumbled, 1/4 cup

For the chicken:
Remove the tenderloin from each breast. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the chicken breasts, and beat (using another pan-- a cast iron skillet works really well) into cutlets.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Crush 2 of the garlic cloves, and add to the oil. Drizzle over chicken; allow to marinate for at least one hour.

For the rest:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet, and place the prosciutto slices on it; bake for 5-6 minutes or until crispy. When cool, give it a rough chop. Set aside.

Remove the woody stems of the asparagus; discard (or save, to make vegetable stock or even asparagus soup). Cut the asparagus into thirds, on the bias. Crush last clove of garlic; set aside.

Bring a pot of water to the boil; salt liberally and cook pasta until al dente (usually around 7-8 minutes, but keep an eye on it). Add the chicken (with the marinade) to a baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes. Turn heat to 450 degrees F, and bake for another 3-5 minutes (start keeping time as soon as you change the temperature; do not wait for the actual oven temperature to rise). Remove from oven, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice into bite-sized pieces.

Melt butter in a skillet; add the asparagus (and remove the crushed garlic clove). Saute on medium heat until tender. Remove garlic. Add the cooked pasta and chicken; toss.

Sprinkle crispy prosciutto and feta cheese over pasta; serve. Enjoy!

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