Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mom's B-Day

August 3 was my mother's birthday (yup this post is a bit belated), for the past few years I've made a point to cook whatever she requests for her because for the last twenty something years she's done the same for me. This year was no exception, actually it was quite the homecoming of sorts since it was the first time in five years that mom, dad, my sister and I have all be in the same country for her birthday.

Mom has always liked the Penne Rustica at Macaroni Grill, who can blame her, shrimp, prosciutto, cream sauce...damn what a way to serve pasta! So this year she requested that I make a pasta dish similar to Penne Rustica, so I set to work...yes there are a few short cuts in here, I didn't make my own alfredo sauce, but I did substantially improve on the store bought stuff!

Mom's Birthday Penne

1/2 Cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Butter
5 slices Pancetta
2 lbs Chicken Tenders
6 oz Mushrooms
6 oz Roasted Red Bell Pepper Strips (from jar)
8 oz Artichoke Hearts (from can)
Rosemary (for garnish)
12 oz Alfredo Sauce
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1/2 lb White Penne
1/2 lb Red Penne
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz shredded romano cheese

1. Slice pancetta into small bite-sized pieces, saute until crisp in skillet. Remove from pan and set aside
2. Cut chicken tenders into thirds, saute in oil from pancetta and season with garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Remove chicken from skillet, place in bottom of a 13 x9 casserole dish with the pancetta.
2. In the same pan, sautee mushrooms in butter, until almost tender. Add sliced red bell pepper to skillet, saute 1 minute.
3. In a large sauce pan, add alfredo sauce, add white wine, mix until well combined. Season with nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Allow to come up to a simmer.
4. While the sauce is simmering, boil pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 350 F.
5. Drain pasta, place in casserole dish with meat, mix and add vegetables so they are evenly distributed. Pour alfredo sauce over the pasta, meat and vegetable mix. Sprinkle liberally with a mix of the romano and mozzarella cheeses.
6. Bake until brown and bubbling.

Mom loved my version of the Rustica. For dessert we had vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting! Happy Belated B-day to my Mom!


Denise said...

Good for you making your moms favorite meal. It looks delish. Happy Belated Birthday to her.

girlichef said...

That is so cute :) Happy belated to your mama...what a delicious meal! Wish I could virtually send a slice of German Choc. :D

Chef Fresco said...

Aww how fun!

We get Israeli couscous at Trader Joe's - do you have one close to you?

Gloria Chadwick said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Dee!! :) The pasta dish looks wonderful. Can't wait to see what you cook up with your Hatch chiles.

Dee said...

It was delicious!! I enjoyed every moment of that evening!

Katherine Aucoin said...

You are so sweet to make your Mom a birthday dinner and what a meal it is. This would definitely be my favorite!

Anonymous said...

The penne sounds fantastic! Happy birthday to Dee!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

How sweet! And Happy Birthday Dee! Belated. The pasta is just loaded with goodies - looks really delicious!