THE ORIGINAL COPYCAT RECIPES WEBSITE

Olive Garden

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    Menu Description: "Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto, and a lemon garlic sauce.”

    This Olive Garden signature dish hack starts with a quick 30-minute brine to bless the chicken with flavor and juiciness. While the chicken is marinating and then grilling, you’ll have plenty of time to make the basil pesto and lemon garlic sauce knock-offs.

    When the chicken comes off the grill, it gets topped with cheese and popped under the broiler for a nice melt. Once plated, the chicken is doused with sauce, topped with pesto, and sprinkled with grape tomato halves.

    I also worked up a clone for the side served with this entree at Olive Garden—the Parmesan zucchini. I've got that hack in the Tidbits below if you’d like to include this simple addition to your copycat plate.

    This recipe makes four servings, which is four lunch-size servings at Olive Garden, or two dinner portions. How hungry are you?

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    For me, the most important component of a good crostata, or Italian baked tart, is a great crust. When cloning this top Olive Garden dessert, that's where I first focused my efforts, baking dozens of slightly different unfilled sugared crusts. Thankfully, flour is cheap. Once I had an easy, yet still delicious and flakey crust that was as good, if not better, than the real thing, I turned to the filling.

    Olive Garden uses Northern Spy apples in the crostata, which is a somewhat tart, firm apple, often used in pies. But they are hard to find. If you can’t find Northern Spy apples, I found that the much more common Granny Smiths work just fine here. When it came to cutting the apples I noted that the apple pieces in the real crostata have no uniformity—the apples appear to be sliced, then those slices are coarsely chopped resulting in a mixture of small and large apple pieces. We'll do the same here.

    After your crostatas have been baked to a golden brown, top each one with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle some caramel sauce over the top for a beautiful dessert no one will have the power to resist. 

    This recipe makes 4 crostatas, which is enough for 8 people to share. If you have crostatas left over, they can be stored in a covered container for a couple of days, then re-heated under a broiler until hot, just before serving.

    Want some more of my Olive Garden clone recipes? I've got a bunch right here.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: “Slow-simmered meat sauce with tender braised beef and Italian sausage, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta and a touch of alfredo sauce—just like Nonna’s recipe.”

    It’s a mistake to assume that a recipe posted to a restaurant chain’s website is the real recipe for the food served there. I’ve found this to be the case with many Olive Garden recipes, and this one is no exception. The widely circulated recipe that claims to duplicate the chain’s classic Bolognese actually originated on Olive Garden’s own website, and if you make that recipe you’ll be disappointed when the final product doesn’t come close to the real deal. I won’t get into all the specifics of the things wrong with that recipe (too much wine, save some of that for drinking!), but at first glance it’s easy to see that a few important ingredients found in traditional Bolognese sauces are conspicuously missing from that recipe, including milk, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.

    I incorporated all those missing ingredients into this new hack recipe, tweaked a few other things, and then tested several methods of braising the beef so that it comes out perfectly tender: covered, uncovered, and a combo. The technique I settled on was cooking the sauce covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for 1 additional hour so that the sauce reduces, and the beef transforms into a fork-flakable flavor bomb. Yes, it comes from Olive Garden, but this Bolognese is better than any I’ve had at restaurants that charge twice as much, like Rao’s where the meat is ground, not braised, and they hit you up for $30.  

    As a side note, Olive Garden’s menu says the dish comes with ruffled pappardelle pasta, but it’s actually mafaldine, a narrower noodle with curly edges (shown in the top right corner of the photo). Pappardelle, which is the traditional pasta to serve with Bolognese, is very wide noodle with straight edges, and it’s more familiar than mafaldine, so perhaps that’s why the menu fudges this fact. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which pasta you choose. Just know that a wide noodle works best. Even fettuccine is a good choice for this Olive Garden braised beef Bolognese recipe.

    Check out my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.

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    Garlic mashed potatoes are a great side for many entrees, especially when the potatoes are as creamy and flavorful as those at Olive Garden. In our hack, the garlic gets boiled with the potatoes to soften it. When the potatoes get passed through a potato ricer (or mashed) the softened garlic goes along for the ride and gets mashed up too. This way you’re guaranteed to get plenty of garlic in every bite. I settled on cream as the dairy used here after my attempts using milk and half-and-half resulted in thin and runny potatoes. I found that cream adds the perfect thickness and smooth richness to the mashers, and it made the closest duplicate.

    This side goes great with our Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala copycat recipe.

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    Menu Description: “Creamy marsala wine sauce with mushrooms over grilled chicken breasts, stuffed with Italian cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.”

    This recipe includes a marsala sauce that even marsala sauce haters will like. My wife is one of those haters, but when she tried this sauce, her eyes lit up, and she begged for more. Great, now I won’t have to eat it alone.

    Not only is Olive Garden's delicious marsala sauce hacked here (and it’s easy to make), you’ll also get the copycat hack for the chain's awesome Italian cheese stuffing that goes between the two pan-cooked chicken filets. Build it, sauce it, serve it. The presentation is awesome, and the flavor will knock their socks off.

    Try this dish paired with my recent free clone of Olive Garden’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the complete O.G. Stuffed Chicken Marsala experience.

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    Need a simple cocktail for a hot day when the thought of lemonade makes your mouth water? Try this one. You start crafting this new signature blender drink by making lemon syrup from scratch from lemon juice, sugar and water. Track down some limoncello--an Italian lemon liqueur--and Smirnoff citrus vodka or your favorite citrus vodka. Refreshing and boozy. Sounds good to me.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    The delicious Frozen Tiramisu—Olive Garden's dessert in a glass—requires espresso syrup that you can make with sugar and espresso or strong coffee. Each serving requires just a little of the syrup, so you'll have plenty for several servings.

     

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    I tweaked this world-famous hot artichoke and spinach dip for an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. Now you can enjoy your favorite appetizer guilt-free. Using reduced-fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt, this recipe cuts the fat and calories of the original dish nearly in half. 

    Original                 Todd's
    488 calories          264 calories
     23g fat                  15g fat

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    One of the most popular and hard-to-pronounce items on the Olive Garden menu is found in the soup column. It's more like chili than a soup, really, with all those beans and veggies and ground beef in there. The reduced-fat grams in this clone are especially important when we consider that this dish makes an excellent meal by itself, and you may want to eat more than the 1 1/2-cup serving size measured for the nutrition stats.

    We'll keep the added fat to a minimum by sauteing the veggies in what little fat is not drained off from browning the lean ground beef. The soup will fill your mouth with flavor so it won't matter that we aren't adding additional fat. You'll have a hard time distinguishing between this version and the original. Try it.

    This recipe makes about eight 1 1/3-cup servings. If you can't eat it within a few days, it freezes well.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 1/2 cups
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–312 (Original–416)
    Fat per serving–4g (Original–17.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.84. Votes: 223

    Here's an updated Olive Garden fettuccine alfredo recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes that includes more grated Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. You'll find this sauce thickens easier and has an improved Olive Garden taste. Just be sure not to crank the heat up too high when simmering the sauce or it could break, resulted in a not-so-creamy, curdled Alfredo. Also check out our copycat Olive Garden toasted ravioli recipe!

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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