If anyone has been to Macaroni Grill they know there are two must haves, the Pasta Milano & the Penne Rustica. This rich pasta dish is a luscious mix of penne, pancetta, shrimp & grilled chicken all swimming in a decadent cream sauce. And although it might seem like it's too much work, trust me when you get a whiff of the garlic & rosemary sauteing in the butter, you won't second guess the work! You may have to hit the gym first thing in the morning though, which is why I would only recommend you make this for special occasions or as the AKA suggests to please your man or impress your friends & family.
Overall we liked the recipe very much. The sauce is too die. Is it a carbon copy of Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica? No, but it's a good rival and I will definately be making this again.
I made a couple of changes to the recipe as the recipe I got off the internet wasn't very complete. I will write the recipe as is, but please see my notes/changes below. So without further a do here is the Man Pleaser, I mean the Penne Rustica!
1 tbspn Butter
1 tbspn Garlic
1/2 tbspn Dijon Mustard
1/2 tspn Salt
1/2 tspn Chopped Rosemary
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1/8 tspn Cayenne Pepper
4 cups Heavy Cream
Saute butter, garlic and rosemary until garlic & rosemary are fragrant. Add Marsala wine and reduce by 1/3. Add remaining ingredients and reduce by half of original volume set aside.
1/2 oz pancetta or bacon
9 ea. Shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used colossal)
6 oz. grilled chicken breast, sliced
16 oz. penne, pre-cooked
3 oz. butter
1/2 Tblspn shallots,chopped
Pinch of Salt & pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tspn paprika
Saute pancetta until it begins to brown. Add butter, shallots and shrimp. Cook until shrimp re evenly pink but still translucent. Add chicken, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and simmer until sauce thickens. In a large bowl, combine shrimp and chicken mixture with precooked pasta. Place this mixture into single serving dishes or one large casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 300* for 10-15 minutes.
NOTES: I baked the Penne Rustica in my 2 1/2 qt. corning ware dish. I strongly recommend you bake it in a dish that is at least 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep for the sauce's sake. First off the sauce, if I would have let it reduce by 1/2 I would probably still be cooking. I did the sauce as the water boiled & the penne was done & the "penne" part was ready for the sauce. And trust me the sauce was thick enough and it didn't reduce by half. Second, I used four slices of pancetta because I couldn't bring myself to ordering 1oz at the deli. Next time I think I would add 1/2 of the 1/4 pound I bought if not all. As for the chicken I used 1 chicken breast and seasoned it with salt & pepper. Third, the Parmesan cheese is wrong. You do add a 1/2 a cup into the the mixture however, you still require more to sprinkle on top. I would sprinkle enough to cover the top but not make a full layer of cheese on top. Also I would finely grate it too as apposed to shredding it. Finally, the paprika I would just sprinkle it liberally & eye ball it. That's what's going to give it that beautiful Tuscan inspired color.
Other than that I would recommend you enjoy it with a special someone or a group of someones with a good bottle of wine and Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder's "Taking Timbuktu". I know what you're thinking this meals requires some Sinatra but trust me this Album brings the romance,sexiness and vibrance of all these wonderful flavors to life!
And just so you are sure to try this here is one last shot. This one, is a shot after we dug in so you can see all the layers of deliciousness!