Chicken Bacon Ham and Roasted Asparagus Pasta

I’ve been up to my eyeballs dealing with our newest litter of puppies!  Although Mara (the mama) does a fantastic job taking care of them, this is her first viable litter so I’ve been overprotective.  Especially after the little boy died.
Every litter we’ve had has been girls.  Both the boys passed away shortly after birth.  As much as I love these little girls, there are only so many usable Star Wars female character names!  We’ve had to resort to little known characters from the books.
We haven’t been using their Star Wars names because for the first couple weeks, you couldn’t tell them apart. They were all white with no markings. Then, two of them showed black markings around their noses, but we couldn’t tell them apart! We called the white one Snow White, then the twins were Freckles and Angel.
Now we are starting to call them by their given names, now that we can finally tell them apart! Snow White is now Mon Mothma, Freckles is Beru, and the littlest one is Aalyah.  These little ones are almost a month old and had their first taste of real food today.
They sure are cute! But that’s not why you’re here, is it? After my hiatus, it was good to be back in the kitchen for real.  Despite the heat, that is.  Is it super hot where you are?  I knew when I moved back to Utah what I was in for, but, come August, I still complain! Especially when I’m in the kitchen.
This is why you’re here. Deliciousness.
I found this recipe on Eat Cake For Dinner.
So, here’s the sitch: if you what to make this recipe easier, buy a ready made rotisserie chicken to shred, ready-diced ham and remember to tell your kitchen helper to NOT chop the asparagus before it goes in the oven. (Although, for the record, mine still turned out. I just didn’t get to use my new baker’s rack.)
Here’s what you need:
  • 4 chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup broth, chicken or vegetable for cooking chicken (omit if you use ready-made rotisserie)
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3/4 cup ham, diced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • asparagus
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • spaghetti noodles (I used thin)
For Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2-4 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth (for sauce)
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole)
  • 1 cup half n half
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • onion powder, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1-1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded (I used a parm, Romano and asiago mix)
I don’t balk at a little extra work, so I cooked my chicken in the slow cooker the day before.  Just 4 breasts, a cup (or two) of broth, salt/pepper and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours. Then shred with a couple of forks and store for later use.
Start by roasting your asparagus. Cut an inch off the end. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, then pop into a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Set aside for chopping later.
In a high-sided skillet, cook a 1/2 lb of bacon until crispy. Set aside on paper towel; do not dispose of all the bacon fat… you need some, about a tablespoon or a little less.
Toss the ham and brown sugar into the same skillet with the bacon fat. Cook until ham is browned and sugar dissolved. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
Start cooking your pasta!!
In the same skillet, toss in the butter and minced garlic. Cook for a minute, then add flour, a tbsp at a time, until it thickens (or makes a rue, if you’re up on the terminology.)
Once it’s thickened, slowly add the milk.
Then slowly add the broth.
Then slowly add the half n half.
Whisk constantly.
Add the sugar, garlic and onion powder. Remove from heat.
Add cheddar cheese, while stirring. Then add the Parmesan.  Since I cooked the chicken the night before, a stirred it into the sauce to warm it up. You’ll use about a cup.
Strain your cooked pasta, return to pot, then add the sauce.  I then added most of the bacon, ham and chopped asparagus, incorporating all of it into the pasta.
When you serve, sprinkle a little of the remaining pig and veggies on top.

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