I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy Olive Garden Recipes but I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Sure, they do some great pasta and yep, I love their tiramisu, but surely anyone can cook these dishes themselves at home?
My folks just love Olive Garden food and are steadily working their way through the menu. What with their ruby wedding anniversary imminent, I had promised weeks earlier to take them out for a meal, but I was seriously strapped for cash and desperately wondering how I could re-create one of their favorite meals at home. It can’t be that difficult, I thought, as I desperately scoured the internet for recipes. The trouble was, I found, so many recipes all claiming to be authentic and from the hands of the restaurant themselves, when in truth they were all different. What on earth was I going to do?
Now, I’m no great master chef and I’m more used to cooking a simple lemon chicken recipe than I am to cooking any of the tempting dishes to be savored at my local Olive Garden but I was certainly up for the challenge if I could just figure out some way of finding out what was in the recipes. Perhaps I could phone up and ask to speak to the chef? No that wouldn’t work. It was a friend who finally hit upon the idea of bringing me back some sample food so that I could play around with it and see if I could suss out the ingredients and work out the recipe. Here are three of the steps that he suggested:
1. Choose something that seems relatively simple and then start to make a basic version. So, if it is chicken in a white sauce for example, start off with a standard bechamel sauce and then decide if it needs to be sweeter or sharper. Has it got a creamy taste or a tomato base? Can you taste wine in it? Break your sauce down into small portions and experiment with flavors until you hit the nearest taste to the original. Often it is something really miniscule such as a dash of tabasco sauce or a grating of nutmeg. It’s easy for your tastebuds to become overwhelmed, so take your time and drink sips of water in between tastings.
2. If you’re trying to copy a sweet pie, you may touch upon flavors by eating the pastry apart from the filling. Can you taste cinnamon or coconut perhaps? Try and get clues from the color. A darkish color could mean there is brown sugar in the pastry, a lighter color may indicate it’s just a vanilla wafer.
3. Break everything down into smaller components and keep tasting and adjusting and repeating until you’re as near as damn it. Even if you’re not right on the money, friends probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
The following weekend and the Day of Judgement dawned. I had given it my best shot and produced what I though were two reasonable replicas of some great Olive Garden fayre. My folks made some very encouraging comments, although these may have been fuelled by too much wine, but overall I have to say the meal was a success.
But now I understand what all the fuss is about. It’s not just about eating any old Italian dish, it’s about eating a masterpiece of culinary delight that has been loving created following a secret recipe that has probably been handed down through the ages. Yes, you can with a lot of time and hassle make something similar, but it is that magic ingredient that gives all Olive Garden Recipes a true touch of authenticity.