Chicken and Shrimp Penne Rustica


If you like Romano's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica, this is for you.
*DISCLAIMER* This is NOT their original or even a copycat recipe. This is my own recipe that simply tastes like what you get at the restaurant.

Gratinata Sauce
3 tablespoons butter 
2 tablespoons minced garlic [1 tsp garlic powder]
1/4 cup marsala wine [or any good white wine, heck or none at all, it was good when I made it without too]
2 cups heavy cream  [I used 2 % milk]
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese from Block
1/2 cup cream cheese 
1 cup chicken broth 
2 TBSP cornstarch , or 2 TBSP flour
1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary 
1/8 tsp [pinch] dried thyme 

1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked 
12 large shrimp [or 1 lb], peeled and deveined 
2 large, skinless chicken breast fillets  [grilled or pan seared, and sliced thin]
1/2 cup red bell pepper, slided thin [I used fire roasted from a jar]
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) thick-sliced smoked prosciutto, chopped [*didn't use it, didn't miss it*]

Topping
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoons paprika

1. 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.
[* I used garlic powder and skipped that step.]
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. You want the pasta tender, but not mushy (al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside.

4. Pound the thick end of your chicken breasts a bit with a kitchen mallet [side of hammer] to make them a uniform thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper.  Pan sear the chicken for 2 minutes per side on medium-hi heat. If there is any pink in chicken when slicing, don't worry, there will be plenty of time for it to cook completely through in the oven.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Grease  9X11 [ or similar size] casserole dish. Add all of pasta, top with sliced chicken, raw shrimp, and red pepper slices. Pour all of the sauce over the top.
Sprinkle with 1 cup grated Parmesan and dust top generously with paprika. [The Paprika is mostly for color].

Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then broil for 2 or 3 minutes --WATCH IT during this phase, bake until cheese starts to brown slightly. Remove immediately, and serve with hot, crusty Italian bread and a side of broccoli or spinach.

Feeds 4-6 adults.

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