Penne with asparagus, ham, and basil

Total Time
27 min
7 min
20 min
Here's a hearty penne dish that comes together in less than half an hour and features hearty ham as well as fresh asparagus, tomatoes, and basil. The sauce also comes together thanks to the addition of reduced-sodium chicken broth and lemon juice, plus a touch of heat from crushed red pepper flakes. If you happen to have an herb garden—in a window box or outdoors—feel free to snip a handful of your favorite blend of herbs and toss into the skillet in step 3 to let it cook down ever so slightly. It'll add even more depth of flavor to an already delicious, easy pasta recipe.


Uncooked whole wheat pasta

8 oz, penne variety (2 cups)

Olive oil

2 tsp

Fresh tomato(es)

1 large, coarsely chopped


3 medium clove(s), thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes

¼ tsp

Uncooked asparagus

1 pound(s), trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

Reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup(s)

Lemon juice canned or bottled

1 Tbsp

Lean ham

½ pound(s), cut into bite-size pieces


¼ cup(s), fresh, chopped

Grated Parmesan cheese

3 Tbsp


  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, omitting the salt if desired; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomato, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, broth, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 3 minutes longer.
  3. Add the pasta, ham, basil, and Parmesan to the skillet; toss to combine. Yields about 13/4 cups per serving.