Monday, April 9, 2012

A Buca Knockoff…I *Think*

I’ve never been to Buca di Beppo.  Am I missing out?!  Let me answer that.  I’m sure I am.   If it’s food I haven’t enjoyed…I’m SURE I’m missing out.  Dangit.  Why does our babysitter always have to be busy?  Since I know it would be in poor taste to leave my boys {3 & 4} home alone while Mr. Spouse and I head out for a night of wining and dining at the Beppo, I decided to bring the Beppo to our house.  There’s nothing that says “date night” quite like a knockoff in the comfort of your own kitchen.  I say this is a Buca di Beppo knockoff because that’s what the original poster says.  I’m goin’ with it.  And I gotta say, if this dish is any indication of what the dishes at Buca are like, then I need to find a new babysitter asap so that Mr. Spouse and I can enjoy their food PRONTO!!!!!



adapted from a recipe by Kerry Hicks

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 tbsp. crushed red pepper {less if you aren’t a fan of hot & spicy}

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 chicken breasts, sliced

3/4 cups marinara sauce {I used Paul Newman’s Marinara}

1/2 cup alfredo sauce {I used Bertolli}

2 tsp. butter

1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed {I would HIGHLY suggest using more if you’re a fan!!}

1 lb. rigatoni, cooked according to package directions

Shaved parmesan cheese {optional}


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


First things first.  Cook the rigatoni according to package directions.  Meanwhile, slice the chicken.  I *think* I used 2 breasts…maybe 3.  But they weren’t very big!!  Use more or less depending on your preference!


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add red pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic. Saute it long enough to let it caramelize and get your kitchen smellin’ all yummy. 


Now add the chicken and saute until cooked through…about 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your slices. 


Once the chicken is cooked through, add the marinara to the skillet.  Mix with the chicken and then add in the alfredo.  Bring the sauces to a simmer and cook until the sauce has time to thicken just a bit.


Turn off the heat and add in the butter and peas.  While the original recipe called for 1/4 cup of peas, I can tell you that I definitely added more.  I don’t know why because peas aren’t my favorite veggie, but I couldn’t.get.enough of them in this dish!  I might have added a cup…maybe a cup and a half…of peas.  Next time I think I’d add even more!!!  Once the peas and butter are mixed well into the sauce, pour everything on top of the pasta and mix well.


Does it look amazing?!?!?  It SHOULD!!!  The flavors in this dish were OUTSTANDING!!!!!  And you know me…I LOVE a good pasta dish!!!


I’m a GIANT fan of shredded parmesan…we always have some on hand…so that’s what I used to top it all off.  YUM.  You can add a few more sprinkles of crushed red pepper to your dish, but I don’t like things so spicy that I’m crying as I eat, so I left that addition out.


If you’re a Buca di Beppo fan, I can’t tell you how close this comes to the original dish, but if it’s anywhere in the same ballpark, then you’ll LOVE it!!!!  Mr. Spouse says this deserves lots of play in our dinner rotation.  I would have to agree :)


  1. This looks really yummy!! I love peas but the hubby isn't a fan...maybe he would eat them in this! I'll have to try this recipe! Pinning it now!

  2. Looks yummy! I'll have to try it soon.

  3. Thanks for posting. Will definitely try!

  4. I love Beppo's! I'll definitely be trying this recipe as we aren't near Beppo's anymore and I miss food more than anything else from where I grew up (where there was a Beppo's).

    Grab that babysitter and go! Like tonight. It'll be worth it, I promise.

  5. Yum this looks soo good.


  6. my mouth started waterin lookin at the pics! this will be made tonight!

  7. I think I've figured out what I will cook for supper tomorrow! This looks so so yummy!

  8. Sounds delicious! I've never been there either although I've always said we need to go! I'll have to find the time to go and to make this! Thanks!


  9. Mmmmm! This looked so good I made a trip to the store for alfredo sauce and made this for dinner. SO good! And if I hadn't used the last of the feta in my pepperoncini salad for lunch, I would've made one of those to go with it!

  10. Peas? PEAS? :( I suppose I could maybe pull it off with FROZEN baby peas ... and probably only a 1/4 cup worth. Maybe they just become all hot and spicy and I won't notice them? Excellent looking recipe otherwise! ;)

  11. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing. I put it on my menu for next week!

  12. Made this for dinner tonight, and it was deeeeelicious! I didn't have marinara sauce so I used some "zesty" spaghetti sauce and it worked just the same. And I agree... the peas really make this dish. I may have added over a cup as well. :)

  13. I made this last night, and it was SOOO delicious!! Thanks for posting!

  14. very yummy--thanks for a great recipe!

  15. omg!! One, I LOVE your blog. I am so excited to try all your recipes and amazing decor ideas.Two, I love this recipe! I just had to make it as soon as I read it, and it was a hit! I was worried it might be a lil too spicy for my 2 year old, but she loved it. Thanks for sharing with us : ) Oh and I used like 5x the suggested amount of peas and it was perfect.

  16. Made this for me & my hubby tonight. He loved it & so did I. I think we are going to increase the amount of Crushed Red Pepper next time to really give it a kick!

  17. I just have to tell you how much I love this recipe - it's fantastic - it's become a staple dish in my house. One of my all time favorites! Thank you!!!

    Danielle of

  18. I tried this last night, it was good! I would suggest a little less crushed red pepper (I like spice but I think it overpowered it just a bit) and more peas, for sure!

  19. This was awesome! I added some asparagus with the peas (I always liked it in my pasta from cheesecake factory) and it totally made it. Thank you!

  20. I made this last night and it was better than I could have ever imagined! Thank you for posting the recipe!


  21. I nearly had a fire with the amount of oil and heat. I'm an inexperienced cook and this is an easy recipe, but that kind of combo for me was dangerous. Next time, I'm just cooking the chicken on low with a tablespoon of oil.

  22. Just made this last night! AWESOME! And SO easy!!! Thank you!

  23. Made this last weekend and I ate it all week without getting tired of it! DELICIOUS!! I added more peas like you said and could have even put more and I don't even like peas either! Thanks for all the tips!!