Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

This Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica recipe tastes like a restaurant dish that can be made at home! This Italian dinner is full of shrimp, chicken, and bacon all in a creamy sauce.

Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

This week was Spring Break for us here so I have been at the beach, the movies, and hanging out with my kids. Happy Easter tomorrow!

This recipe is not healthy by any means…but it is good. It’s not easy…but it’s worth the time. It smelled unbelievable while it was cooking.

The recipe listed below is the recipe cut in half. It fed our family of 4 with leftovers so unless you are planning on feeding all the neighbors, stick with the halved recipe.

Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Christy Denney
Gratinata sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups heavy cream
Penne Rustica:
  • 1/2 ounce pancetta or bacon (I used an ounce which was 1 strip of bacon for me)
  • 9 raw shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces grilled chicken breasts , sliced (1 large breast or 2 small)
  • 8-12 ounces penne pasta , cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • optional 3 sprigs fresh rosemary for garnish
  1. For Gratinata Sauce: Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown.
  2. Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, reduce by half of the original volume. Set aside.
  4. For Penne Rustica: Saute pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown.
  5. Add butter, shallots, and shrimp.
  6. Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
  7. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  8. Add gratinata sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  9. Simmer until sauce thickens.
  10. In a large bowl, combine shrimp and chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
  11. Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster.
  12. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup more parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
  13. Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
  14. Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.
Recipe Notes

Source: Recipezaar


Speak Your Mind



  1. No wonder it smelled good while cooking!!! YUM! Happy Easter!

  2. YUM!
    Going to try this.

  3. Super YUM! This looks incredible. Happy Easter!

  4. This looks delish!! Totally up my alley:)

  5. Wow, looks amazingly yummy! LOL @ feeding the whole neighborhood with the full recipe.

  6. This looks totally delicious! I found you on TS 🙂 I’m bookmarking the recipe to try myself!

  7. This looks totally delicious! I found you on TS 🙂 I’m bookmarking the recipe to try myself!

  8. I just wanted to let you know I tried this recepie and it was perfect! Delicious! Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂

  9. I just made this tonight and it was a smash! Penne Rustica is my husband’s favorite Romano’s dish, so he was a tough judge, but this definitely won. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

  10. I just tried this and it is soooo good! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. This is my favorite dish at Macaroni Grill!!! I am DEFINITELY trying this very soon! I’m going to subscribe!

    I have a recipe for Macaroni Grill copycat bread and it is to die for– I’m definitely making them together and saving myself about 20 bucks! Haha!

    Here’s my bread:

    Happy blogging!

  12. Made this last night for my family, it was a HUGE HIT…i did use half n half instead of heavy cream, and added extra shrimp….the sauce didn’t thicken as much as I wanted but it delish!!!!

  13. I plan on making this for the Holiday but I am confused on the sauce. You say to use 4.5 cups but if you follow the recipe and reduce by half, you will only have 2 cups. So do you only use 2 cups in the final casserole?


  14. B.S. B.S. B.S.! For starters, cut the dill in half and triple the dijon! 9 shrimp & 6 oz. Of grilled chicken breast?? Are you kidding me? That’s the stuff everyone wants! Double the roasted red bell pepper and the rosemary! The cream made it so sweet I had to use an entire lemon to balance out the taste. This recipe was a good start but I had to use my Iron Chef skills to get it even in the same neighborhood! I really don’t think the Romanos wanted anyone to know this recipe and this one in particular gives thhe basics but that’s it!

    • Where’s the roasted pepper in this recipe?! But I agree to double chicken and shrimp. My other suggestion, without trying this is to just barely cook the shrimp, otherwise 15 mins in the oven will make them rubbery. Just adding my two cents!

  15. I made this tonight and added more shrimp and used Italian chicken sasuage and seasoned my chicken and shrimp with old bay seasoning and garlic. This was very good.

  16. Warren L. Pharr says:

    I cannot print out your recipes because pop-up ads (not shown on web page) appears atop the recipes. I hate pop-up ads!!!!!

  17. Could you make this a day ahead and cook it the day you want to eat it?