I have a favorite dish that I will get almost every time I go to Romano’s Macaroni Grill. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant, they are a Italian chain restaurant, but a good one. Personally, I think they’re the best one.
Anyhow, they have an item on their menu, Penne Rustica, that is so good! It has this creamy white sauce, chicken, shrimp, and pancetta ham, all tossed with penne pasta then baked with a layer of parmesan cheese. Oh boy! I absolutely love it!
I searched around the internet, and found some so called “copy cat” recipes. I tweaked one a little to create the dish I am going to share with you.
This meal requires a little bit of planning, and the sauce takes some time to make, but trust me, it will be worth it.
I omitted the shrimp, but feel free to add some if you want. And just a note about the pancetta, if you can’t find it locally, which I couldn’t, you can substitute thick cut bacon. You’ll want to cook it fully, when it bakes with the white sauce it will get tender.
Enjoy! Comment with your results and thoughts. Thanks!
*Don’t forget to click the Yum button! 😀
- 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
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 ounce pancetta or thick cut bacon (If you're adding shrimp, use a little less)
- 6 ounces grilled chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, sliced thin after cooking (1 large breast or 2 small)
- 8-12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, sliced and chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped shallot
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4-1/2 cup of thinly slice red onion, then roughly chopped
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- (optional) 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (for garnish)
- Sauté 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.
- Sauté pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown.
- Add butter, shallots, garlic, and red onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken, salt, pepper, roasted red bell pepper, and mix thoroughly.
- Add the white sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
- Simmer until sauce thickens.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
- Pour into a large casserole dish.
- 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.
This will easily feed four people, possibly six.
A note on the white sauce, keep it at a high simmer, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. It will take 10-15 before it starts to thicken and reduce, but be patient. Reducing the sauce properly is critical to the wonderful flavor it has.