Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

Last month they closed down my local Macaroni Grill.  My girlfriend and I loved to dine there!  Once I learned this news I went right to the web and found that the nearest Macaroni Grill is over an hour away!  I’m not worried though, I’ll just recreate my favorite dishes at home at a fraction of the cost of eating out.  I hope you enjoy this copycat recipe for Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

Gratinata Sauce:
2 teaspoon Butter
2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup marsala wine
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cups heavy cream

Saute butter, garlic , and rosemary until garlic begins to brown but do not burn the garlic.
Add marsala wine and then reduce by one-third. Add remaining ingredients and reduce by half of original volume.
Set aside.

Penne Rustica:
1 oz. pancetta or bacon
18 shrimp peeled and deveined
12 oz. grilled chicken breast, sliced
4 1/2 cups of granita sauce
3 lbs. cooked Penne Pasta
3 teaspoons pimentos, minced
6 oz. butter
1 teaspoon chopped shallots
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Saute pancetta until it begins to brown. Add butter, shallots, and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are evenly pick but still translucent, you do not want to overcook the shrimp or else it will be rubbery. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly. Add granita sauce and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and simmer until the 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 pimentos and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 475 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

20 thoughts on “Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

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  2. HappyCthulhu says:

    I made this recipe this weekend and it was fan-freaking-tastic. (I did add a lot more shrimp than called for though.)
    My only complaint is that I didn’t know exactly how much uncooked penne equaled three pounds of cooked penne.
    So I just went with my gut and bought a one pound box of penne and it turned out just fine.
    I also spent about 3 hours stirring the cream sauce during the reduction.
    Would this have been better accomplished with a double boiler?

  3. HappyCthulhu says:

    “Hello, how many people does this dish serve? It sounds huge…”

    This made about 6 good servings.

  4. joelwyn says:

    I tried to make it myself but end up with nothing, then my sister help me on that, i prefer to add more garlic for the sauce because it smell nicer and overall is pretty well recipe and we enjoy it, thanks for great sharing

  5. Libby says:

    The original recipe calls for chicken stock- reduced 1/2 way, a LOT of parmesan cheese, as well as corn starch- this makes it thicker,faster and cuts down on calories and cost!

  6. Jennifer Carmen says:

    This was a great copycat recipe! Very yummy and rich! I used only 1 lb. of uncooked pasta and it still was a lot of sauce. The sauce took a very long time to reduce but it was worth it. Next time I will make the Granita sauce the night before my party to save on time.

  7. Briar Richardson says:

    I used to work at Macaroni Grill and I just wanted to give you a couple of “tweeks” on your recipe. The red things that they top the dish off with are not pimentos, but rather roasted red peppers and the “bacon” like meat in the dish is not pancetta, but procuitto. Otherwise, everything else sound great! I can’t wait to use your recipe to re-create my favorite dish there!

  8. Chef Stephan says:

    8, I say, 8 cups of heavy cream?!?!?! That would cost $20 bucks alone! And 9 cups of total liquid to reduce?!?! People, you need to scale this recipe wayyyyy down unless you are feeding an army. I feel bad for the person that reduced and stirred for 3 hours, oh my!

  9. Jessa Mc. says:

    This is so delicious. I always make it for special occasions. It has a unique flavor that most people have never tasted, but they love it. It’s a labor intensive recipe, but well worth the work.

  10. shelle says:

    This sounds delicious, and I’m going to try it tomorrow!

    Just a nitpicky chef thing, though.. If you follow the directions for the shrimp, you will definitely have overcooked shrimp. Either cook the shrimp in the sauce, remove them, and lay them on top of the finished pasta before serving.. or lay the raw shrimp on top of the pasta before baking, and let them cook in the oven. Cooking them twice will GUARANTEE overcooked shrimp.

  11. MAMA says:

    On my second attempt for this recipe. I never cook shrimp, so the first time…I made a bad mistake and cooked it with the chicken…ok..NASTY fishy taste throughout. I never added the pimentos cause I knew that wasn’t right. TY to the old MG employee to specify it was red peppers. So also my tweek to this recipe. I distinctly taste a poultry seasoning when I was at the Mac Grill a few weeks ago. So my own tweek, was to add chicken base (thick stuff in a jar) Approx tea and half. Although wish I could find a good place to buy pancetta or prosciutto, the thin cut is for the birds.

  12. Erin says:

    To make it a weeknight meal- use a can of progresso Creamy Roasted Garlic recipe starter add in approx 10- 12 oz evaporated milk, minced garlic, spicy mustard, & lots of fresh rosemary- cover, cook on low. Boil penne, cook chicken with salt, pepper & garlic til barely white. In a large dish mix chicken, cooked pasta, cold cooked deveined shrimp & sauce mix. Top with fresh grated parmesan & paprika.

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