Saturday, December 22, 2012

Copy-Cat Recipe: Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica

When The Other Williams and I worked the 9-5 we used to occasionally slip away for a lunch date and one of our favorite places close by was Macaroni Grill.

Our dish of choice was the sinfully delicious Penne Rustica. We would actually just share one order because it's that rich and filling. It's a cream sauce with shrimp, chicken, and prosciutto. Yea, it's really good.

We are constantly inspired by the food we eat at restaurants and both of us have a bad case of "we can make this!". After finding an awesome recipe on Top Secret Recipes, this was our attempt at the Penne Rustica. It came out awesome! We really couldn't tell a difference.

Restaurant food in your own home for much cheaper, yes please!

Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica
Recipe by Top Secret Recipes
Serves: 4


Gratinata Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons marsala wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked
12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 skinless chicken breast fillets
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) thick-sliced smoked prosciutto, chopped

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

12 sliced pimentos
4 sprigs rosemary


1. Preheat barbecue grill to high.

2. Prepare gratinata sauce by melting 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add garlic and sweat it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the marsala wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisk well until smooth. Bring mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10 minutes or until it's thick. Cover sauce and remove it from the heat.

3. Cook pasta following directions on the package (7 to 9 minutes in boiling water). You want the pasta tender, but not mushy (al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside when it's done.

4. Pound the thick end of your chicken breasts a bit with a kitchen mallet to make them a uniform thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. Spear the shrimp on skewers (6 per skewer should work fine), then rub them with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Grill shrimp for 2 minutes per side. When chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Build each dish in a large, shallow baking dish. Or you can use a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Load 3 cups of pasta into each baking dish. Add one-quarter of the chicken, 3 shrimp and 2 tablespoons of prosciutto onto each serving. Spoon 3/4 of a cup of gratinata sauce on each serving and toss to coat. Combine 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese with 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of this mixture over the top of each serving. Bake the dishes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. Arrange three pimentos on the top of each serving, then jab a sprig of rosemary into the center and serve.


  1. This looks fantastic! I've pinned it for future reference. I found your recipe on Foodgawker.

    Have a wonderful day!


  2. Yummy! Thank you for linking up with the Clever Chicks this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


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