ROMANO’S MACARONI GRILL’S | Shrimp Portofino Pasta

Shrimp, Mushrooms, Spinach and Pine Nuts in a Lemon Cream over Angel Hair Pasta.

by RRR
How to make Romano Macaroni Grill's Shrimp Portofino Pasta

I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, but I should have been born Italian!

I’ve traveled to Italy several times and Italians just know how to live!  Their zest for life is enviable, their food is simply the best and I love every opportunity to cook Italian. Once while in Italy, my husband and I stopped in Parma to buy the famous Parmesan cheese, Parma Prosciutto and a loaf of Italian crusty bread. We ate the “picnic” on the road in our rented Fiat on route from Milan to Florence. An experience I will never forget…clearly!

Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s concept is inspired by Italian country cuisine, which is probably why the chain ranks as my #1 for Italian-American restaurants.  I find their menu items to be fresh, light and much closure to the authentic flavors of Italian cooking than the others.  And this recipe for their Shrimp Portofino Pasta checks all those boxes.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill was founded by Philip J. Romano, an entrepreneur and restaurateur, in 1988. The first restaurant opened in Leon Springs, Texas, with a concept that aimed to recreate the ambiance and flavors of an Italian trattoria.

The restaurant’s focus was on serving classic Italian dishes made with fresh ingredients and homemade sauces. The menu featured a variety of pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, salads, and other Italian-inspired entrees. One of the highlights of the dining experience was the open kitchen, where guests could watch their food being prepared by skilled chefs.

The success of the first location led to rapid expansion, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill quickly grew into a popular national chain. The restaurant’s warm and rustic interior design, reminiscent of a traditional Italian trattoria, further contributed to its appeal.

Over the years, Romano’s Macaroni Grill has gone through various changes and updates to its menu and branding, reflecting the evolving tastes and preferences of its customers. However, the core concept of providing an inviting atmosphere and serving delicious Italian-inspired dishes remains central to the chain’s identity.

For more amazing Italian-inspired dishes, try: Romano’s Chicken Scaloppine, Maggiano’s Ravioli al Forno, and Old Spaghetti Factory’s Mizithra & Browned Butter Spaghetti.  Buon Appetito!

How to make Romano Macaroni Grill's Shrimp Portofino Pasta

Macaroni Grille's Shrimp Portofino Pasta with Lemon Cream

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 750 calories 24 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 2 voted )


  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups of button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. of vermicelli (angel hair) pasta (Barilla pref.)
  • 6 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 TBL pinenuts
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 TBL garlic, minced
  • 3 TBL shallot, minced
  • 3 TBL EVOO
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


Toast the pinenuts in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 minutes. Pay attention that they don’t burn, pinenuts toast quickly.

Boil the vermicelli in salted water until al dente, according to instructions on the box. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

On a med-high heat and in a very large sauté pan, heat the EVOO until it shimmers. Add the garlic and the shallot and sauté until translucent. Next, add the mushrooms and allow the mushrooms to get a little color on them before adding the shrimp. Shrimp and sauté until it turns pink. Add the spinach and cover the pan. Allow the spinach to wilt, then remove entire sauté pan from the heat and set aside.

In a dry saucepan, add 1 cup of dry white wine. Allow the alcohol to burn off and add the lemon juice. Slowly add the heavy cream and whisk constantly to prevent the cream from separating. Add the white pepper and cracked pepper. Stir and bring to a light simmer making sure not to scorch the bottom or burn the cream mixture. Once the cream mixture is simmering, add the butter and continue to whisk until mixture is creamy. Bring the cream sauce back to the shrimp and spinach mixture and pour in. Add in the al dente pasta and toss all ingredients together until the pasta is well-coated and heated through.

Serve with the Tavern on the Green Caesar Salad and Enjoy!


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