Recipe Du Jour: Johnny Carino’s Penne Alfredo

Penne Alfredo
Penne Alfredo

So, a long, long time ago, in the land of Italian chain restaurants, there was Johnny Carino’s, and their Penne Alfredo.  It was a scrumptious dish, with peas, tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms, and chicken or shrimp, depending on how you ordered it.  It was downright addictive.  But for whatever reason, they did away with it.  Occasionally, you might find a waiter or a chef who remembers how to make it, and then you’re in for a treat.

This dish has a beautiful brown tinge to the normally white alfredo sauce.  It’s how you knew it was the right one.  I used to think that this was a result of something special they did to the alfredo sauce.  But no!  It’s just a result of the cooking methods of everything else!  Come, join me in a plate of this super easy pasta dish.


  • 1 oz butter
  • 4 slices of bacon, already cooked
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • 4 oz alfredo sauce (I used a bottled sauce, but you could use homemade if you make it.  It just needs to be made ahead of time.)
  • cooked pasta (enough for a huge portion for one person)


Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, peas, and spices.  Saute until mushrooms are a golden brown and the tomatoes are soft and starting to fall apart.  Add alfredo sauce, and stir until you get that brownish tinge to the sauce.  Remove from heat; add pasta directly to saucepan, toss to coat.  Dump out on the plate, grab a fork and enjoy.  Serves 1 huge portion (probably should be 2)

Tastiness Factor:

It’s another One Pan Wonder, folks.  And it tastes just like the Johnny Carinos dish I miss and love.  I made this with bowties, and made a few too many, but it was fantastic.  A little salt and pepper to round out the flavors.

Reheat Factor:

Sadly, didn’t get to test this.  I ate the whole plate in one sitting.  I would imagine that it would reheat ok, if the Johnny Carinos one was anything to go by.  Maybe use a little water to thin out the sauce in the microwave.

Overall Impression:

I have been searching for this for years.  Years, I tell you.  Now, sure, I could have used real garlic instead of garlic powder, but the powder provides a more even flavor I think.  And it was super quick once I had everything chopped, cooked and ready to go.  Next time, I’ll try adding shrimp or chicken.  Probably need to cook those separately as well.

Nutrition Facts: Trust me, you don’t want to know.  This is a copy of a restaurant dish, of course it’s high in calories, fat, and carbs.