Penne Gratinata

Boy am I glad last week is over!! Now that Commencement has come and gone, our work schedule has slowed down considerably. It’s crazy how fast the school year can fly! I’m definitely looking forward to a more relaxed work flow and Fridays off in the summer! I’m making a solid effort this summer to get to the beach more often. Since I only live about 15 minutes from it, I should have no excuses!

When I was in high school and a little in college, I waitressed at a Macaroni Grill. I actually really liked working there and really liked a lot of the dishes they had on the menu. One of my favorites was called the Penne Rustica. I liked it because the cream sauce was so flavorful and unlike any other pasta dish I had before. When I made my 28 by 28 listing in December, I added to make a copycat recipe of the Penne Rustica. After searching around, I came across the recipe! I only made a few modifications…I use fat free half & half in place of the heavy cream, and I didn’t have pancetta so I used bacon instead. You can add chicken or shrimp (or both) to this as well.

Gratinata sauce
1 teaspoon EVOO
-1 teaspoon chopped garlic

-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
-1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
-2 cups fat free half & half

Penne Rustica

-3 strips pancetta or bacon (I used  bacon)
-penne pasta, cooked
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
– pinch salt and pepper
-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon paprika

1. For Gratinata Sauce: Saute EVOO, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown. Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third. Add the mustard and half & half, reduce by half of the original volume.

2. For Penne Rustica, saute pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown. Add butter, salt and pepper, and shallots. Add gratinata sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, simmer until sauce thickens.
3. Pour penne into a casserole dish and pour sauce mixture over top. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

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