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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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Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta

•1 loaf Italian bread , sliced into 1/4 inch slices (such as ciabatta or semolina)
•1 cup sour cream (Do not substitute light or fat free)
•1 teaspoonthyme
•1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
•1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or 3 cups smoked mozzarella cheese , cheese*
•3 cups shreddedsmoked provolone cheese or 3 cups provolone cheese , cheese*
•3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
•3 tablespoons grated romano cheese
TO SERVE
    •8 teaspoonsfresh diced tomatoes
    •chopped fresh parsley


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Arrange sliced Italian bread flat on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Combine sour cream, thyme, red pepper, cayenne pepper and four cheeses in a large bowl and blend thoroughly.
  4. IF SERVING FAMILY-STYLE:.
  5. Spray an 8x10-inch casserole dish with pan spray, then use a spatula to transfer the mixture.
  6. FOR INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS:.
  7. Spray eight individual heat-resistant serving bowls, such as souffle cups, with pan spray and fill each with 1/2 cup of mixture. Place individual bowls on a baking sheet. Using a large spoon, spread cheese mixture to create an even surface.
  8. TO BAKE:.
  9. Place casserole dish or baking sheet with individual bowls on center rack in oven.
  10. After five minutes, place baking sheet with bread, still covered, on top rack in oven. Bake for an additional five minutes. Remove bread and fonduta from oven.
  11. TO SERVE:.
  12. Garnish casserole dish with diced tomatoes and parsley in center of fonduta or divide evenly among smaller bowls. Arrange bread slices around bowl(s) and serve immediately.
  13. *This recipe calls for one of these two cheeses to be smoked and one to be regular).

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