If there’s a dish that recently surprised me, it’s this one! For my recent Pasta Party dinner, I wanted to include a pasta dish that had a cream sauce other than alfredo. When looking through some restaurant menus for inspiration, I remembered trying Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Milano dish a while ago. In an effort to recreate that dish for my dinner, I tweaked the recipe to my tastes and hoped for the best. To my surprise, my guests loved my Pasta Milano and even my husband was asking me to make it again the next day!…
What is Pasta Milano?
Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Milano dish consists of “roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, and imported farfalle pasta in a roasted garlic cream sauce.” It sounds pretty approachable if you want to make it at home, right? Well, fortunately, I found a recipe online to use as a guide. Rather than using fresh minced garlic, I wanted a subtle sweetness and used roasted garlic instead. I also decreased the amount of chicken from the original recipe since I wanted to cut it up and toss it with the pasta rather than serve a whole breast per person. Another change to the original recipe I used was making the sauce in one pan versus two. Who wants to clean more cookware than needed anyway? Besides, using the same skillet allowed me to use every bit of flavor. Lastly, I baked the pasta dish in the oven with a generous topping of Parmesan cheese for some texture on the top and to help the pasta soak up all the flavors of the roasted garlic cream sauce. I’m definitely making this again and again because it was the hit of the Pasta Party dinner!Print
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream (or half & half for a lower fat version)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces dry farfalle (bowtie) pasta
- water for boiling pasta
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- In a large skillet over high heat, brown the diced bacon.
- Season the cut-up chicken with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken to the skillet and saute until lightly browned.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the sliced mushrooms and saute until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, and chicken broth to the hot skillet. Allow it to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender.
- Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring.
- Take off the heat add the bacon, chicken, and mushroom to the sauce, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Add dry pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, and transfer to a bowl.
- Pour the chicken and sauce over the hot pasta and toss.
- Place in a baking dish and top with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot.
* To make ahead/freezer meals – Prepare as directed, however, cook pasta to barely al dente. There should be a bite to the pasta where it’s not completely cooked. Place pasta, chicken and sauce in an ovenproof container and allow to cool. Cover and freezer. When ready to prepare, defrost and bake in a preheated oven as directed above.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
Techniques for Making a Perfect Pasta Milano
Choosing the Right Pasta
While most Pasta Milano recipes recommend penne, the beauty of this dish lies in its versatility. Fettuccine, rigatoni, or even spaghetti can serve as a perfect canvas for the sauce. The key is to ensure the pasta is cooked al dente, retaining a slight bite.
Preparing the Sauce
The sauce, a blend of heavy cream, garlic, and Parmesan, acts as the binding agent for the dish. Slowly simmering the cream ensures thickness, while roasted garlic imparts a nuanced, smoky flavor. Grated Parmesan, when added, melts seamlessly, giving the sauce its iconic velvety texture.
Remember to season in stages. Adding salt while boiling the pasta and seasoning the chicken before grilling ensures every component shines. Additionally, using quality olive oil can make a significant difference in flavor.
Health Benefits of Pasta Milano Ingredients
While Pasta Milano is a rich dish, it also offers a plethora of nutrients. The chicken provides lean protein, and the sun-dried tomatoes are packed with vitamins, especially Vitamin C and K.
Health Benefits of Sun-dried Tomatoes
These ruby-red jewels are not just flavorful but also packed with antioxidants. They help in improving bone health, maintaining healthy skin, and even in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Olive Oil’s Role in a Balanced Diet
A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of certain diseases when incorporated into a balanced diet.
Garnishing & Presentation
Choosing the Right Herbs for your Past Milano
A sprinkle of freshly chopped basil or parsley can elevate the dish, providing a pop of color and a burst of freshness.
Serving the pasta in a shallow bowl and garnishing with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, and a few basil leaves can make the dish restaurant-worthy.
Pairing Pasta Milano
Best Wines to Complement
A creamy dish like Pasta Milano pairs best with wines that have a touch of acidity. Pinot Grigio or a light Chardonnay can be ideal choices.
A crisp salad with a tangy vinaigrette or some roasted vegetables can balance the richness of the pasta, creating a well-rounded meal.
For those with gluten sensitivities, swapping the regular pasta with a gluten-free variant can ensure they don’t miss out on this delightful dish.
Vegan Pasta Milano
Replace the chicken with grilled tofu or mushrooms, and use cashew cream in place of heavy cream to create a delicious vegan version of the Pasta Milano.
Storing and Reheating
It’s best to store the pasta and sauce separately. This ensures the pasta doesn’t become overly soggy when reheated.
How to Reheat without Losing Flavor
Using a stovetop to reheat is ideal. If using a microwave, ensure to sprinkle some water to avoid drying out the pasta.