Penne Romana

Inspired by Romana Neri, head chef at Olive Garden Riserva di Fizzano restaurant in Tuscany and the Culinary Institute of Tuscany. 

Romana Sauce:

  •   1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •   3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces
  •   1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  •   1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  •   2 cups white wine
  •   2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
  •   1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  •   1/2 teaspoon salt
  •   1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  •   2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a small saucepan at medium high heat. Add onions and crushed red pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in wine, rosemary, parsley and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch and chicken broth. Add mixture to sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil and set aside. 


  •   2 cups green beans, blanched
  •   1 cup tomato, diced
  •   4 cups Romana sauce (see above)
  •   4 cups penne pasta, cooked
  •   3 tablespoons Romano cheese
  •   3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Heat sauté pan over medium high heat. Add green beans and tomato and cook for 1 minute. Add Romana sauce and hot, drained penne pasta. Add Romano and Parmesan cheeses. Stir well with a spoon, making sure the pasta is well coated. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

·         1 1/2 cups chicken stock

·         2 shallots, peeled and sliced

·         3 sprigs Italian parsley

·         1 bay leaf

·         3 sprigs fresh rosemary

·         1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

·         4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

·         28 oz. can chopped plum tomatoes (with juice)

·         2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 recipe homemade pappardelle, cooked and drained (see Homemade Pasta in chapter introduction), or dried pappardelle cooked according to package directions.Pour the stock into a small pan. Add the shallots, parsley, bay leaf, rosemary and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Drain.Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the stock and tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half.Meantime, make the pasta. Cook it in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 3 to 4 minutes or until firm, but tender. Drain immediately. Add the cheese to the sauce and toss with the pasta.Serve immediately.Serves 4 to 6 as a main course or 7 to 8 as the pasta course.