Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in penne and return to a boil. Cook pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Penne will still be slightly firm.
Stir asparagus into the pot with the boiling penne pasta and bring back to a boil; cook until pasta is tender and asparagus is softened but still bright green, about 3 more minutes. Drain pasta and asparagus.
Place penne and asparagus into a large bowl; lightly stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and black pepper until thoroughly combined.