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Loving Romano’s Signature Dish

Columns Ethnic Faves

May 1, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Sometimes the authenticity of the cuisine gets lost in the brand when dining at a corporate restaurant, where bright lights and clever slogans are often substituted for simple, time-honored flavors.

  • The ever-popular Penne Rustica ($16.59) has remained a part of the menu at Romano's Macaroni Grill since the restaurant opened in 1988.
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Romano’s Macaroni Grill, now an international sensation, does not fall into this trap. Instead, the restaurant stays true to its roots, honoring the fresh, simple and genuine flavors of the Italian Mediterranean coast.

Since its inception in 1988, Romano’s Macaroni Grill has kept a few of the original dishes on the menu, one of which is Penne Rustica ($16.59).

“To me this dish (Penne Rustica) is Macaroni Grill. It has been with us since the beginning,” says Romano’s Macaroni Grill chef Michael Longworth.

Like most meals from the Italian Mediterranean region, Penne Rustica is a celebration of food, created to captivate the taste buds and fill the belly. The dish begins with imported Italian penne pasta, succulent shrimp, roasted chicken and fresh prosciutto, which is typically found along the Mediterranean coast. A light-roasted garlic cream sauce and parmesan cheese are added before the whole dish is baked.

“It really is a one-dish meal,” says Longworth.

Although dishes are often tweaked and adjustments are made to most menu items, Longworth assures that the Penne Rustica is right just the way it is.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

  • Where
    • Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hookipa Terrace
    • 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard #4240
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 356-8300
  • Hours
    • 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Fridays and Saturdays