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Adapted from delish.com
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook asparagus until crispy, then season with a pinch of salt. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic and wine to scrape up flavor from the bottom of the pan. Add heavy cream, lemon juice and zest. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add in salt, Parmesan and pepper. Reduce heat to low and mix until combined.
Turn off the heat and mix in pasta, asparagus and parsley. Toss until well coated. Add small amounts of reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Serve with more grated parmesan, cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes.
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