May 04, 2009


Once upon a time there was a beeeeautiful girl named Mandi. Mandi was the fairest & smartest & funniest girl & cleverest & most humblest girl as ever there was a girl that lived! Huzzah! One day her father, The Butthead, took her to a wondrous, magical land in upstate New York... a land called 'Amsterdam.' Ooooh! Nestled next to the highway and a small patch of dreamy meadow(across from the place that sells cement blocks & up the street from the ginormous K-Mart) stood the most magnificent restaurant that ever lived. This restaurant was called 'The Raindancer.' 'The Raindancer' was a magnificent-- sheesh forget it! I keep this 'fancy talk' up & you'll be reading this blog til Christmas! :)

Anywhoozle! My dad took me to this restaurant for the first time years ago & I had this meal. THE MEAL TO END ALL MEALS. The meal that made me cry & swear off every humanly pleasure if only to taste the oodles of noodles melt in my mouth once more! That dish being: Grilled Chicken Penne a la Vodka. Since having allowed this dish's magical flavors to dance in my mouth, I've flown back & forth between LA & New York NOT to see my family or friends (There I said it. I did.) but for my beloved Penne!! (Just kidding Mom & Dad!) And being brokey-broke, I hardly get to go home anymore! This makes me sad! It must be remedied! It must be remedied... TONIGHT! TONIGHT! TONIGHT!
*cue Phil Collins*

And let me quickly tell you ANOTHER reason why The Raindancer is AWESOME! I knew I wanted to make this dish but couldn't for the life of me remember what kind of cheese was melted on the top. Parmesan? Mozzarella? Parmesan? Mozzarella? So while standing in the cheese aisle of the Vons on a Friday night in Studio City, I 411'd The Raindancer. ...What?

Here's what transcribed (The following reenactment is not real. It is a recreation by actors based on true events):

M: "Hi! This is kinda weird, but do you happen to know the cheese that's melted on the top of the Grilled Chicken penne?"

*long scuffle, scuffle*

M: "Hi. This is kinda nuts but I was wondering what kind of cheese is melted on the top of the GCP a la V? I live in California & this is my most favorite meal in the whole wide world! I miss it so much, I'm going to try & recreate it tonight!"

Chef Dude: "Okay. What does the recipe tell you to do?"

M: "Ugh. Err... Gosh, I don't know. I don't have it with me. I'm in the cheese aisle of the grocery store on a Friday night like a sad sack."
Chef Dude: "Hahaha... Okay, here's what you do... You put some butter in a pan..."

And wouldn't you know, Chef Dude practically gave me their recipe from start to finish. Now, he didn't give me specifics because helloooooooooo they're the freakin' RAINDANCER (the awesomest of awesomestsesssesses) but here's what I pieced together & what I've come up with. But seriously. How freakin' COOL is Chef Dude!!??? That made my night in more ways than 20! In fact, I think it made my year!

So here it goes... Mandi's Slash the Raindancer's Grilled Chicken Penne a la Vodka:


1 pound of Penne pasta
4-5 oz. of Prosciutto, diced-ish
5-8 oz. chicken breast, grilled & chopped
1 medium onion (preferably not water soaked from a leak in your fridge), finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
4 T butter
1 cup of vode-kuh
1 1/2 c. tomato puree (or marinara sauce)
1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. of shredded blend of cheese (italian blend- asiago, romano, mozzarella, parmesan, etc.)
black pepper, to taste
parmesan, to taste
wine, for me, just a-cuz

1. First things first. According to the directions on the package, cook-a de pasta! Drain-a de pasta! Set aside. Drink-a de wine! :)

2. In a large frying pan on medium heat, butt the putter in a pan. OR put the butter in a pan. Your choice. Add the olive oil.

3. When butter & oil are heated, throw in your prosciutto and grill that up real nice. Til it's almost crispy, like so:

4. Remove said prosciutto from pan & put it on a plate. Take a picture of prosciutto. Wish it didn't look like dog food.

5. In the remaining "goopty glop," throw in the finely chopped onions (how YOU doin?) & garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

6. Pour in vode-kuh and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Sadly, the vodka needs to cook out & go bye-bye. :(

7. Stir in tomato puree and stir. Then stir some more. You really can't over-stir on this in case you were wondering. Add the whipping cream & do the same. (Stir & stir & stir, like so).

8. Reduce heat to low. Allow the cream sauce to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in salt & pepper (like so). Throw in the chicken & prosciutto and let that simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Drink wine.
Drink wine. Drink wine.

Wine. Mmmm... "Please, sir? Can I have some more?"

9. Finally, mix up the cream sauce & pasta.


So glad I worked out tonight.

10. Next, we're throwing this bad boy in the oven! Because I don't have one of those fancy "Be careful, this plate is hot!" dishes... I'm going to dump all of this deliciousness into a super sexy pie plate. (The onions are suddenly very jealous).

11. Sprinkle the cup of cheese on top of the pasta. Or the whole bag. Oops (Hey, if it happens to turn into ziti who really cares, right?) And put it in the broiler until the cheese is melted and crispy.

Psst! Penne!? Are you done yet? *meep*

12. And finally... eat, enjoy, mange!!! HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN!!!! :) :) :)

Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

So This is what I'm having. What are YOU having? ;)
Say it with me now, in the voice of Desmond from Lost... "Penne! Penne! I loave ya, Penne!"


Robyn said...

Great story!!! I love that you called the restaurant!! and it looks fantastic!!! I should try that! yum!

stacy marie said...

never have I wanted pasta so bad at 8:00 in the morning.

excellent story and recipe!

Miss Daisy said...

You are too much, love.

Family of Food said...

Great post! I must eat some!!!!!

NannyPants said...

I'm not even hungry and yet... YUM! I may have to stop by Raindancer next time I'm passing through Amsterdam. Although I would rather have yours.

Anonymous said...

I got to taste the awesomeness that was this dish for lunch today...WOW! that s'alls I'm sayin'...So delicious!!!

foodiepants said...

Mandi! Shut up! This looks so amazing, I am SO making the blog, I'm glad you have one! Keep 'em coming...

Darci said...

That looks like it turned out RAWKIN', Puddin Pie! Make me some? Cuz you know how I hate to cook but love to eat. :-)

MandiCrocker said...

Awww, thanks you guys! I thought the whole thing was pretty funny!

I appreciate all the support. This is so much fun, I hope you truly enjoy it! :)

MammaDucky said...

Sweet jebus. It's 9:30 in the morning and I'm seriously considering leaving work to go shopping then home to make this. No, really.