So, when he started his Mormon Foodie blog, it wasn’t long before that inspired me to start writing my recipes and stories here at the black pot. It’s been almost a year, now.
So, when he started writing a month-long series on pasta, I couldn’t help but join in. There are a number of pastas I’d like to make in my dutch oven. I’ve already done lasagna and spaghetti. I’d like to try Tortellini and a few others. Stay tuned, because I’d also like to try making some pasta from scratch.
But not this week.
This week, I had found a chain restaurant knock-off recipe for Macaroni Grille’s Penne Rustica. I love eating at the restaurant, and when we go there, we always get the Penne Rustica. So, I was eager to give this a try. As it turned out, it was some of the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted, and certainly the best I have ever cooked myself. I don’t really know that it’s a good knockoff of the original, but it was really good. I think some of that was because I had to do a couple of ingredient substitutions. Also, because I think that knock-offs are rarely exact. Think about the Niemann-Marcus or the Mrs Fields cookie recipe circulating around the ‘net and you’ll see what I mean.
Dutch Oven Penne Rustica
12” Deep Dutch Oven
11 coals below, 20 coals above
10” Dutch Oven
lots of coals below and above
- 1 lb penne rigate, cooked
- 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lb skinless chicken breasts or tenderloin
- 4 ounces prosciutto, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons marsala wine (I used white grape juice)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- healthy shakes of rosemary, salt, thyme, ground cayenne pepper
- healthy shakes of Oregano, paprika
- 16 oz grated mozzarella and asiago cheeses
So, I came home from church and started up some coals right away. As soon as the coals were ready, I put some water on to boil in the 10” dutch oven. As soon as that was boiling, I put in the penne.
In the meantime, I worked on the other parts. It was really quite hectic to prepare, rushing here and there to get all the steps done. I also didn’t have it very well planned out. Next time I do this it’ll be a lot easier.
The next step was to get the chicken and the shrimp ready. This is where I kinda cheated, but the results tasted great. I took the chicken (I used tenderloins), and the shrimp and put it in a big bowl. I shook in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and stirred it up. Then I put the shrimp and chicken on skewers and fired up the grill. That’s kinda cheating, because in cookoffs you have to do all the cooking in dutch ovens. But I loved the grilled flavor on the chicken and the shrimp.
Then, I got out the 12” deep oven and put some coals under it. I put in some olive oil, then the garlic, the grape juice, and the proscuitto, and just stirred it and cooked it a bit.
While that was going on, I mixed up the sauce ingredients (everything else) in a bowl. By this time, the penne was cooked (partly boiled, partly steamed in the dutch oven), so I added it to the deep dutch oven, and poured in the sauce mix. Then I put in some of the cheese and stirred it all up to get it well mixed. Finally, I covered the top with the rest of the chesses, and put it in the heat with the coals listed above. I cooked it for about 25-35 minutes, turning it once.
While that was cooking, my wife had suggested I make some breadsticks with seasonings and parmesan cheese. She showed me this recipe in an old Relief Society Ward cookbook. I admit I was a bit skeptical. It was a yeast bread recipe, but the rise time was really short and the instructions were really strange. But I decided to give it a shot.
12” Dutch Oven
12 coals below, 22 above
- 1 Tbsp Yeast
- 1 ½ cup warm water
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- ~4 Cups flour
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- liberal shakes of parmesan cheese and other seasonings
First, in a bowl, I put the water, the yeast, and the honey together and let the yeast activate. Then I added the salt and the flour. Don’t add the flour all in at once, because then you can gauge the moistness and the density of the dough. I kneaded it for 10 minutes. Then I poured the melted butter in the bottom of the 12” oven, and spread the dough out over it. I cut the dough into strips, then sprinkled the parmesan and the seasonings (I used this really great salad seasoning combo). This is where I was really skeptical. At that point, I set it aside for about 20 to 30 minutes to rise. That’s it. No long raise or proofing.
Finally, once it had risen some, I put it on the coals. In about 20 minutes to a half hour, they were done. And they were delicious!
And, the penne was incredible. It was really filling and wow, what a dinner!