Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Olive Garden Dinner

We had a yummy feast at our house the other night: Pasta e Fagioli & Breadsticks. Both, boasting to be replicas of recipes from a favorite restaurant among many: Olive Garden.

This post is gonna be a double whammy.

First, I started with the breadsticks. I found this recipe at I started with the breadsticks rather than the soup as the dough needed to sit for about 45 minutes, so it worked well timing-wise. I could not believe the simplicity of this recipe. It was incredibly easy, surprisingly quick and even I, who has been known to botch a yeast-filled recipe more than once, didn't mess it up too bad. Here are the breadsticks when they were all done:

So, obviously they weren't as pretty as Olive Garden, and I can improve them more, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with them. The blog did call for 1 stick of unsalted butter, 2 tsp of garlic powder and 1 tsp of salt. I halved that, and my breadsticks still had plenty of buttery/garlicy goodness to them. The only thing I wasn't crazy about: they were VERY heavy. Definitely not light like you would expect. They were almost a meal by themselves. I am certain this was an error on my part and not the recipe as I truly am awful when working with yeast. I'm hoping one of my amazing friends reading my blog may be able to direct me on how to prepare bread that isn't as heavy as bricks. But, in the meantime, the good news is: they still tasted quite yummy!

And now, onto the main course: Pasta e Fagioli. This recipe can be found at

Simple, delicious and easy to make - just my style! Here it is ready to simmer for one hour. good.

About 10 minutes before the meal is ready, you will want to add your noodles. The pasta it calls for is Ditali Pasta (but for all us simpletons, that's just a fancy way of saying macaroni salad pasta.)

You do NOT want to add the pasta in sooner then that or the pasta will suck up all the soupiness and you will have a pasta with sauce rather than a soup with a bit of pasta in it. Or, if you do want to add the pasta sooner - I just heard from a friend that if you cook the pasta first, you don't have to worry about it cooking more in the soup! Awesome tip!

I have to say, this dish was simply divine. I am not sure if it is the same as Olive Garden's as I have never had that dish there. But, I will be making this again. One thing about it: I pretty much always add salt to my dinner (it's like its own food group for my family, as my husband says). But this dish did not need it. It had just the right amount of flavor and texture and goodness. Mmmm mmmm mmm.

I forgot to add the parmesan cheese, but it was still really good!
It certainly doesn't look much like the bloggers' pictures, but it really was quite tasty. Even reheated, the Pasta e Fagioli was very good. Although, as I stated before, it was more like a pasta with sauce rather than a soup with a bit of pasta in it. But, still very good re-heated. I'd highly recommend this recipe. Oh-so yummy!

Thanks for reading and, as the saying goes: when you're here, you're family.

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