Eating asparagus always tastes like springtime. I am old enough to remember when asparagus was only available for a few weeks and during that time it seemed like asparagus was omnipresent in every meal. Now, of course, we can eat it almost any time of the year (but not for $1.99/lb.!)
I cut the asparagus into the same shape as the penne and really only cook it while adding the penne, pasta water, pepper, and parmesan together to make a sauce. It turns out kind of like cacio e pepe except with penne instead of strands and asparagus.