Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Olive Garden.... To My Heart's Content!

Olive Garden is my favorite restaurant... has been for years and I don't see anything taking it's place in the near future! BUT - the closest Olive Garden is quite a fair drive away, which means I don't get there very often! So... in step a couple of these tried and true "Olive Garden" recipes! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped into small pieces
6 c. water
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 larger potatoes, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 med. onion, chopped
2 c. Swiss chard or kale (spinach MIGHT work... haven't tried it)
1 c. heavy whipping cream (can get away with 1/2 c.)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a skillet over med. high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as your fry it; drain and set aside. In a skillet over med. high heat, brown bacon; drain and set aside. Place water, broth, garlic, onion, and potato in a pot; simmer over med. heat until potatoes are tender. Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper. Heat through.

Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

1 c. chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1 quart half and half
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1/2 c. celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. carrots, finely shredded
1 c. onion, finely diced
1 c. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 T. extra virgin oil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – optional
1 lb. potato gnocchi – can buy this in the gourmet section or dry pasta section of many supermarkets

Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in butter and olive oil, over medium heat. When the onion becomes translucent, add the flour, and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half.
Cook gnocchi according to package directions.
Into the roux add the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings. Simmer until soup is heated through.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

1/2 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. corn syrup
2 1/2 T. grated Romano cheese
2 T. dry pectin (the secret)
2 T. beaten egg
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all of the ingredients with a mixer on medium speed or in a blender on low speed for 30 seconds. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve over mixed greens or use as a marinade.

Place torn or chopped Romaine into large salad bowl. Top with thinly sliced onion strips, pitted black olives, sliced tomatoes and sweet Italian peppers. Drizzle lightly with Olive Garden salad dressing. You don't want to drown the lettuce in oil. Use just enough to lightly dress the salad. A pool of oil in the bottom of the bowl means you've used too much. Don't toss yet!

This is the most important step. If you skip it, you'll still have a good salad, but it won't be fabulous. Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and leave it alone for ten or fifteen minutes. This is when the magic happens, so let it do its thing. No touching.

Serve with croutons and fresh Parmesan and of course, bread sticks!!!!!

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

1 pint heavy cream
1 stick butter
2 T. cream cheese
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder (I like using a couple cloves of fresh garlic)

In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer this
until all is melted, and mixed well. Add the Parmesan cheese and garlic
powder. Simmer this for 15 to 20 minutes on low. You may wish to season
with a little salt and pepper.

You can also find a few more recipes HERE at Olive Garden's website!!

Buon appetito!!

1 comment:

  1. You can buy a bottle of their salad dressing and have a really nice bottle, after it's all gone of course, and use it for your own. Is the recipe pretty close to the restaurants. I love olive garden too and have only ever gotten the marsala chicken. SO GOOD with roasted potatoes, peppers and onions. Not the same at home.