3/4 pound medium asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon snipped chives
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until just al dente. Drain the orecchiette, reserving 2/3 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water to the skillet along with the lemon juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the orecchiette is al dente and the asparagus is just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the goat cheese and chives and stir until melted. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese.