This year when I asked Ian what he would like for his birthday dinner he replied with something that made me cringe. “I want you to make a new recipe that you haven’t ever made before…be adventurous!” It’s the last word that got me because adventure is so out of my comfort zone. But I sucked it up and knew exactly what recipe I was finally going to try. Whenever we go to Macaroni Grill Ian always gets Penne Rustica…his favorite dish. I happened upon this recipe a few months ago and thought it was ambitious, but wanted to be “adventurous” and try it out someday.
I altered it to make it my own so it is Penna Rustica-ish and MIGHTY delicious! Original recipe can be found here.
Rustic Chicken Pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast or 8 chicken tenders (they tend to cook a bit faster)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
4 strips of thick bacon
1 red bell pepper, cut in half then thinly sliced
2 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
pinch of cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1/2-1 tsp salt
3 cups uncooked penne pasta
Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking dice bacon and place in a pan that has been preheated on medium high heat. Brown and remove to a bowl. Drain off grease, but do not clean pan out. Place 1 TBSP of olive oil in pan and heat to medium high heat. On a plate, mix together flour, garlic powder, parsley and pepper together. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and place in pan. Cook until no longer pink in the center, about 4-6 minutes for chicken breasts and 2-4 minutes for chicken tenders on each side. Remove to a plate to let rest. Pour remaining 1 TBSP olive oil in the pan. Heat up to medium heat. Place sliced red pepper into pan and saute for 3 minutes. Add in minced garlic and move constantly (to prevent burning) and cook for 45 seconds to a minute. Pour in chicken stock and whisk up bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring some. Turn down to medium heat and whisk in dry mustard, rosemary, cayenne pepper and heavy cream. Add in parmesan cheese and stir until completely melted. Add in salt to taste. Cook for one minute. Slice up chicken. Place chicken, bacon and pasta into the sauce and toss to coat. (Be careful not to add to much pasta because it will soak up all the sauce.)
I also served one of our favorite bread standbys…Macaroni Grill’s Bread-ish! I love this bread. Unfortunately it’s not as good the second day so you must eat it ALL when you bake it! Here is the original recipe.
Macaroni Grill Bread
1 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
And finally here are those Brownie Bites I was talking about. And they are not just any Brownie Bites…they include a white chocolate cheesecake filling! Or if yours turned out like mine and didn’t really fall, frosting! I got this yummy recipe from my friend, Jamie (private blogger), who I hope doesn’t mind that I am sharing it.
Bake brownies in a small WELL GREASED muffin pan for about 10-13 minutes or until center comes out clean. Let them cool completely and remove. If they get stuck, stick them in the freezer for 5 minutes and then remove. In the microwave, melt together chocolate and milk 15 seconds at a time until mixture is smooth. Whip together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in cool whip and chocolate mixture. Pipe onto brownies. Top with berries and drizzle with more melted chocolate.
*I didn’t have any berries, so I just used to the remaining white chocolate to make myself some little snow flakes!