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Penne RusticaThis is definitely not a recipe that I should have made with spring break approaching.. the large amounts of cream, the cheese, the pound of penne isn’t the waistline’s best friend.  However, this was delicious!  The sauce was incredibly flavorful and it smelled AMAZING while it was cooking. The crispy and crunchy coated topping also added that little extra “sumthin’ sumthin'”.  My brother and dad also were excited that there were not only one, not two, but three different meats for their carnivorous stomachs.  I hope you enjoy this splurge as much as we did!

Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

(original source)

What you’ll need:

Gratinata sauce:
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon dill
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
    • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 4 cups heavy cream
Penne Rustica:
  • 1/2 ounce pancetta or bacon (I used an ounce which was 1 strip of bacon for me)
  • 9 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces grilled chicken breasts, sliced (1 large breast or 2 small)
  • 8-12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • (optional) 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (for garnish)

 What to do:

  • For Gratinata Sauce: Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown.
  • Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third.
  • Add remaining ingredients, reduce by half of the original volume. Set aside.
  • For Penne Rustica: Saute pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown.
  • Add butter, shallots, and shrimp.
  • Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
  • Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  • Add gratinata sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  • Simmer until sauce thickens.
  • In a large bowl, combine shrimp and chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
  • Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup more parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.