Yea it's happy day! We have been talking about a making a patio on the back of our house for years and it finally happened.
I'm pretty sure that our family and friends are just as happy to see the new patio go in as we are, because we will FINALLY stop talking about it! It's not that we were dragging our feet on purpose, we just couldn't seem to agree on what we wanted it to look like. Posts, no posts, screens, wood, stone, cement, wall, no wall - so many decisions.
After 8 years of negotiating and debating and analyzing over this patio - it's finally in! I actually did a little happy dance the first day that I could walk on the patio. Are you ready for the before and after pics? Brace yourselves.
This is what the back of the house looked like when we first moved into this house...
Several years ago, we tore down the lattice under the porch because it was deteriorating quickly.
Thanks to the handiwork of my dad, last winter we pulled out a door, replaced it with a window and added a set of french doors to the basement. It was the kickstart that we needed to get this project underway.
We used the space to store our garbage can, a wheelbarrow and any various yard clippings and garbage that we happened to collect. Basically, it was an unusable space - for anything practical at least. We FINALLY came to an agreement and decided to replace the twisted support posts, pour a cement pad and turn the space into an actual patio.
These are the guys who made it all happen...
And after a few plants, the patio is shaping up nicely.
All that's missing now is a little patio furniture a porch swing and viola - a perfect place to sit outside and enjoy the evening. (Can you guess what's on my Christmas list this year?)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups heavy cream
1 strip bacon
9 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used way more than 9 shrimp.)
6 ounces grilled chicken breasts, sliced (1 large breast or 2 small)
8-12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
pinch salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
For Gratinata Sauce: Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown.
Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third.
Add cream and pepper, reduce by half of the original volume. Set aside.
For Penne Rustica: Saute pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown.
Add butter, shallots, and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Add gratinata sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Simmer until sauce thickens.
Stir in the cooked pasta.
Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster. (I divided my penne between 2 dishes.)
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup more parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
We didn't eat our Penne Rustica on the new patio but that sure would have been a good idea. I can hardly wait until we get a table out there.