Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, red pepper, and asparagus; cook and stir 5 minutes until the garlic softens and mellows. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until the vegetables have softened, then add the basil, salt, pepper, butter, and chicken. Cook and stir a few minutes until the chicken is hot. Stir in the cooked pasta, then fold in the Parmesan cheese and pecan halves to serve.