I really love Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica. It is my favorite thing to get when I go there. So I started searching for a recipe I could do at home. I know it will never be as good as you can it at the restaurant, but that's okay. So I found a few recipes, one was on Mark's Black Pot, and several from various other sites. I didn't have all the ingredients for any of them, so I just improvised a little from each recipe. I did use the sauce recipe from Mark's post though.
12" dutch oven
1 lb. penne pasta
1/2 lb. bacon
2 clove minced garlic
3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 large red pepper, diced
16 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
healthy shakes of rosemary, salt, thyme, ground cayenne pepper
healthy shakes of oregano and paprika
First I cooked the bacon in my 12" DO until it was nice and crisp. Then break it into pieces and set aside. Drain off most of the grease, and cook the chicken, garlic and bell peppers in the same pot. In my 10' DO, I cooked the penne on my camp stove, according to package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and set it aside while you make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients and stir well. I used a 10" DO with about 12 coals underneath. You don't want to boil the sauce, just heat it through. I also threw in about a quarter of the shredded mozzarella.
When the chicken and peppers are cooked, drain off any liquid. Add the pasta, bacon and stir in the sauce. Top with the mozzarella cheese. I baked mine at 350*, with 14 coals on top and 10 on the bottom, for about 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.
The Finished Product
I really wish I could make it look as good as it tastes!
I think I died and went to heaven! I ate WAY more of this than I needed to! It was so good. I was really unorganized in my preparation since I had never made this and I was combining a couple of recipes. It was worth the effort! Next time it will be easier, and there will be a next time, probably many next times. This is probably one of my favorite recipes so far this year! It made a lot and there were no leftovers. The whole family gave it an A.