Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lighter Penne Rustica

Lighter Penne RusticaIt's a tough life being a food lover and blogger. I spend too much time perusing other foodies' blogs and drooling over their creations with an end result of an exploding list of recipes to try. I finally got around to crossing one off: a delicious pasta dish that I first saw on Mr Orph's Kitchen blog. Penne Rustica is full of smoky prosciutto, chicken and shrimp, mixed in with a creamy sauce accented by peas. Though the recipe sounded divine, I knew I needed to lighten it up without compromising on taste. Hubby had just been on a cheeseburger bender (long story) and as his wife, it's my duty to look out for his cholesterol, right? :)

I ended up decreasing the butter & cheese, using fat free half and half instead of cream, and adding some mushrooms in for good measure. The dish resulted in hubby proclaiming his never-ending love for me, and internally thanking all of our wedding guests for buying us such nice kitchen gear (that 6 months later still inspires me to cook). This is probably the most sinful tasting, yet not-really-that-sinful dish I've ever made. We enjoyed this dish with a 2005 Chateau St Jean Chardonnay we brought home from Sonoma & some warm French bread.

Penne Rustica
adapted from Mr Orph's Kitchen
1 pound penne rigate pasta
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley minced, for garnish
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
1/2 cup marsala wine
2 cups fat free half and half (or use heavy cream if you prefer)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees

1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Set aside.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute chicken in olive oil until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and mushrooms; cook until shrimp is almost done (just turning pink), about 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken, shrimp, and mushrooms from pan and transfer to plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.

To make the sauce:
3. Using same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add minced garlic and rosemary and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until garlic begins to brown. Add the marsala wine and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until marsala wine is reduced.

4. Add the half and half, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, dijon mustard and spices (salt through cayenne pepper). Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Combine cornstarch and milk in a small bowl or glass. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and continue whisking until smooth.

6. Bring sauce to a simmer and simmer until sauce thickens. Add chicken, shrimp, prosciutto, and peas and combine. Cover and turn off heat.

7. Assemble the dish by spraying a 13 x 9 baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the pasta. Add the sauce and mix well. Top with additional Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted & bubbly. Garnish with parsley.


Adrianna said...

Thanks for making it so easy to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner this weekend! This dish looks delicious. My boyfriend is a huge fan of shrimp and to be honest, I don't really cook with it much. Your blog is a gem for great shrimp recipes!!

Sharon said...

Adrianna, Let me know how it turns out! I never cooked with shirmp much either until I finally gave in and now buy peeled & deveined shrimp (with tail on). It's a little more expensive but worth the time saving! Hope it turns out well.

Liz said...

Yum! I'll be trying this out soon.

Mo said...

I have the same problem with reading food blogs and the continuous adding to my to try file. This one is being added now too! It looks delicious and your wine pairing sounds perfect!

MrOrph said...


I am glad you enjoyed this dish. We really love it here, ahem, complete with all the butter and cream! I actully used Plugra. Wait til you see my lasagna roll-ups. I used a three cheese cream sauce! I don't feel guilty at all. We just had a leaf of romaine for dinner the next night. :-)

Adrianna said...

I made it for dinner tonight and we loved it! It was great how there was chicken or shrimp in every bite. And it was nice to know it was a little bit low fat :) Thanks Sharon!