#COOKING: “UNLIMITED SALAD AND BREAD STICKS” | OLIVE GARDEN ITALIAN DRESSING
“Unlimited” Salad and Breadsticks. We miss our cross-border trips and part of the joys of high school involved living right beside an Olive Garden. While the Italian-American family chain’s days in these parts of Canada were short-lived, we miss them greatly and we try to make time for a visit when we visit the U.S. We don’t even care about the Pasta, just give us Unlimited Salad and Breadsticks!
Olive Garden‘s House Dressing is available now in Canada at select grocers and you too can replicate that magic at home! We prefer bread from scratch but there’s nothing wrong with buying pre-made dough.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
1/4 tablespoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Additional sea salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
Optional: 1/4 cup grated cheese (Mozzarella/Cheddar)
1. Mix flour, salt and butter in mixing bowl. Use two forks criss-crossing to cut butter in.
2. In bowl, mix 1/3 cup lukewarm water (not warm or hot) with yeast and sugar till dissolved and filmy. Let stand a few minutes.
3. Mix yeast water into flour bit by bit, using forks. Pour another 2/3 cup lukewarm water, forming dough.
4. Turn dough onto flat, floured surface. Sprinkle with flour till dough no longer is sticky, kneading 10 minutes. Dough should be punchy and elastic.
5. Grease large bowl and transfer dough into it. Cover with damp cloth and place in oven on top rack with a pot of hot water on the rack below. Shut oven. Replace hot water again in 30 minutes. This provides a perfect environment for your dough to rise. Be careful!
6. Dough will have doubled in size by one hour if proofed right. If not, your water might have been too hot when activating or something is up with your yeast. Transfer back to floured surface and knead 5 minutes, releasing air pockets.
7. Cut dough into 10 even portions. Roll into narrow logs. Place evenly-spaced onto wax paper-lined baking sheet. Proof again for 45 minutes to 1 hour covered, with pot of hot water underneath in oven. Dough will have doubled again in size. Remove from oven.
8. Preheat oven at 425°F.
9. Brush bread sticks with butter and dust with sea salt and garlic powder to taste. Add grated cheese too if desired.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till golden brown. Rotate pan once, half-way through. Allow to cool 15 minutes in pan and transfer to cooling rack. You can freeze these if you can’t finish them right away.
1 bag of Garden Salad Mix
1/4 cup Olive Garden Italian Dressing
1/4 cup croutons
1/4 cucumber, chopped thinly
1/4 red onion, chopped thinly
6-8 cherry tomatoes
4-5 olives, no pits
2/3 Pickled Peperoncini
Ground black pepper
1. Toss all ingredients in bowl, adding Parmesan, dressing and croutons into the mix only right before serving. Season with ground black pepper.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)