About Olive Garden

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.6 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated nearly 30 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

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Parmesan Roasted Asparagus



PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS
Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

1 pound fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (for the sauce)
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese for garnish
1 lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons fresh chopped tomatoes if desired

Prepare balsamic vinegar reduction by adding 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a small pot. Heat on high until the mixture boils, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. The reduction should yield 1/2 cup of vinegar. Store in an air tight container.

Prepare asparagus by cutting off about 1 inch of the bottom end of the asparagus, lay asparagus on a sheet pan drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast on medium heat on an grill for about 10 minutes turning the asparagus over. Cooking time with vary with the thickness of the asparagus. Remove asparagus from grill when done. If desired squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over the asparagus. I do not think the Olive Garden does this, but I think it really helps to bring out the flavor of the asparagus.

Prepare Parmesan sauce by adding heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese in a small pot or skillet. Simmer on low for about 10 - 12 minutes. The cream should reduce by 20% in volume.

To prepare plate some of the cooked asparagus on a plate, drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. Garnish with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and then serve with the sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped tomatoes if desired.

Baked Tilapia with Shrimp


BAKED TILAPIA with SHRIMP
Olive Garden Restaurant Copycat Recipe

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 raw peeled deveined shrimp, large (about 26-30 per pound)
4 tilapia or other white fish filets
1 onion, medium, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons minced parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter in large saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Saute the shrimp for about 2 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Remove to an oven safe dish and set aside.

In the same pan cook the fish filets, 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Place in the dish with the shrimp. Cover loosely with foil and place in oven to keep warm.

To the same saute pan add the shallot and garlic and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Saute  until the shallot begins to soften and turn golden. Add the wine to skillet, and boil on high heat until reduced by half, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream, thyme, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 1 minute more. Do not allow  the cream sauce to boil.

Divide the fish and shrimp evenly between 4 serving plates. Pour the wine cream sauce over and garnish with minced parsley if desired. Serves 4.

Notes: Red snapper, flounder or ocean perch are suitable tilapia substitutes.

Garlic Mussels Marinara


Mussels tossed in a homemade garlic marinara sauce. 
Served with garlic parmesan breadstick toast.

GARLIC MUSSELS MARINARA
Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

1 (2 lb.) bag live mussels (frozen mussels work great too)
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup red wine
1-3 garlic clove, grated or chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 loaf crusty bread

If using live mussels, dump into colander and rinse well. Any mussel that does not close (at least a little) when sprayed with water is no good and should be discarded. Remove any"beards" remaining.

Put the mussels into a heavy skillet and add tomatoes, oil, wine, garlic, and seasoning.Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Mussels are done when the shells open up (discard any that remain shut). If using frozen mussels, cook until completely heated through.

Piadina Dough


Piadinas are an authentic Italian street food. They’ve been loved by Italians for centuries because of their signature flaky crust, fresh ingredients and savory flavors. No matter how you say it, the piadina is a delicious new way to learn a little Italian at lunch.

PIADINA DOUGH
Olive Garden Restaurant Copycat Recipe

4 1/2 cups cake flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lard or butter (cut into cubes)
1 cup ice water

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the pieces of lard over the flour and pulse just until incorporated. With the motor running, add the water and process just until the dough begins to clump together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.

Heat griddle to medium heat. Cut the dough into 3 inch rounds. Working in batches, place the rounds on the griddle and cook until light golden brown on the first side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side.


These are the Piadinas currently on the menu at Olive Garden.  Once you have created the bread stuff them with your favorite grilled meat, vegetables and Italian cheese. 

  • GRILLED CHICKEN PIADINA: Grilled chicken, fresh spinach and savory Italian cheese sauce seasoned with garlic, basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Served with a side of marinara.
  • GRILLED VEGETABLE PIADINA:  Roasted red peppers, mushrooms, fresh spinach and a savory Italian cheese sauce seasoned with garlic, basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Served with a side of marinara.

Florentine Lasagna


FLORENTINE LASAGNA
Olive Garden Restaurant Copycat Recipe

1 pound fresh spinach
1 pound fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup onion chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 2/3 cups Parmesan cheese divide
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
16 lasagna noodles
4 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese shredded
marinara or tomato cream sauce as desired
extra Parmesan cheese

Steam the spinach until tender; press out excess moisture and chop coarsely. Chop  the mushrooms and onions and mince garlic over medium high heat until onions are tender.  Drain excess liquid and cool. Mix the ricotta cheese, 2/3 cup Parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, basil and oregano in large bowl.

Add the cooled spinach and mushroom onion mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Cook lasagna according to package directions; rinse under cool water and drain thoroughly. Place four lasagna strips in bottom of lightly oiled 9x13 inch pan, overlapping slightly. Top with 2 cups of spinach filling.

Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Repeat layering two more times and top with remaining four lasagna strips. Spread 1 cup of marinara or tomato cream sauce over top and cover tightly with foil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and keep warm at least 30 minutes before cutting. Top with extra Parmesan cheese. (Can be refrigerated a day in advance of baking if desired.)

Risotto Milanese

This recipe is from the files of 
Riserva di Fizzano and the Rocca delle Macie Winery
 – Olive Garden’s Italian Partners.

RISOTTO MILANESE
Olive Garden Restaurant Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth or 5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron thread
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste


In a saucepan, heat oil until fragrant. Add onions and saffron and saute 3 minutes or until onions are soft. Keep broth warm in a separate pot. Add rice to the onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add white wine and let evaporate. Add the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Continue to add until all of the broth has been used. Turn off heat. Add butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine with rice/risotto. Transfer to large bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Finished risotto should be creamy and rice is firm. Serves 4.

Olive Garden Unveils New Breadstick Sandwiches and Deep Dish Spaghetti Pies


Olive Garden is doubling its offering of Breadstick Sandwiches and bringing new twists on an Italian classic. Beginning this week, iconic Olive Garden menu items will transform with new varieties of the legendary Breadstick Sandwiches and brand new Deep Dish Spaghetti Pies. To celebrate, Olive Garden is giving unique and customized opportunities for families to come together around the table.

Last summer, America fell in love with Breadstick Sandwiches when they debuted in restaurants and on food trucks touring the country. Inspired by fans’ excitement and passion, Olive Garden is hitting the road again helping guests across the country create summer memories. The Olive Garden Never Ending Family Table will cross the nation to give fans the opportunity to gather together and sample the new menu items.

Available for lunch, the new Breadstick Sandwiches joining the popular Chicken Parmigiana and Italian Meatball Breadstick Sandwiches are:


  • Spicy Calabrian Chicken Breadstick Sandwich: Lightly breaded chicken, fried and tossed in our spicy Calabrian sauce served with tangy gorgonzola sauce on Olive Garden’s signature breadstick.
  • Eggplant Parmigiana Breadstick Sandwich: Hand-breaded eggplant, fried and topped with Italian cheese and marinara served on Olive Garden’s signature breadstick.


Olive Garden is giving guests new ways to enjoy spaghetti throughout the day:

  • Meatball Deep Dish Spaghetti Pie: Spaghetti, seven cheeses and Italian bacon baked to perfection in a flaky crust and topped with meatballs and homemade meat sauce.
  • Chicken Alfredo Deep Dish Spaghetti Pie: Spaghetti, seven cheeses and Italian bacon baked to perfection in a flaky crust and topped with grilled chicken and our homemade Alfredo.
  • Spaghetti Rosso with Chicken & Bacon: Tomato-infused spaghetti with grilled chicken, bacon, red peppers, tomatoes and asparagus tossed in a homemade Parmesan pesto sauce.