They Call It Macaroni

Columns Veg'n Out

September 16, 2012

Story By: Terri Hefner | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Create Your Own Pasta ($14) features such choices as fettuccine with roasted garlic tomato sauce, roasted mushrooms, broccoli and roasted peppers.

The best thing about pasta is … well, just about everything. You really can’t go wrong. There are so many fun shapes to choose from and so many ways to prepare it. And in restaurants, creative chefs love to embellish pasta in their own signature style, while others steadfastly adhere to traditional recipes.

The only problem with pasta dishes on many restaurant menus is the addition of meat, fish, eggs and cheese in nearly every offering.

With the word macaroni in its name, Romano’s Macaroni Grill should know a thing or two about pasta and what it takes to make customers come back for more — and it does.

The menu offers a simple yet smart concept: Create Your Own Pasta ($14), which offers a choice of pasta, sauce, three vegetables and a meat (or roasted eggplant for vegetarians). And, according to executive chef Nawai Keko‘olani, veggie lovers don’t have to stop at three. In fact, his favorite concoction is fettucini with roasted garlic tomato sauce, mushrooms, eggplant, broccoli and roasted peppers topped with fresh grana padano cheese.

Executive chef Nawai Keko‘olani with Romano’s very akamai dish, Create Your Own Pasta ($14)

Guests can choose as many of their favorite vegetables available — roasted peppers, broccoli, fresh spinach, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, roasted garlic, roasted mushrooms, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and more — as they wish for this dish.

Pasta choices include spaghetti, capellini, penne, farfalle and rigatoni, as well as fresh quadratini and whole wheat fettucini. The chef notes that fresh pastas are made with eggs, so ask your server before ordering, or just opt for the high-quality dried variety.

“Our dried pastas are specially made for Macaroni Grill,” Chef Keko‘olani says. “You won’t find it in stores.”

Top off your pasta with your favorite sauce: pomodoro, arrabbiata, garlic olive oil, garlic cream, Alfredo, basil pesto and more. Chef Keko‘olani notes that some guests like to mix it up with the sauces, ordering two for the same dish — so have fun!

“We try our best to take care of every guest,” he says. “We make accommodations to make guests as happy as possible. After all, they come here to dine.”

Macaroni just the way you want it. It’s all in the name.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Open daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best