Saturday, February 11, 2012

Better Than Olive Garden Breadsticks & Salad

We had lasagna last night. Very good lasagna, too. My mom also made breadsticks that taste pretty darn close to Olive Garden breadsticks, and I remembered that, since I have mentioned these absolutely amazing breadsticks to a few friends in the past, I was supposed to share the recipe with a few people so I figured I'd post it here for all of you.

Almost-Famous Breadsticks
1 package active dry yeast
4-1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon fine salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of dried oregano

1. Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

2. Kneed the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1-1/2 inch long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7 inch long breadstick. Arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost double, about 45 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 400. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt. Enjoy!

And while we are at it, here's a recipe to make a really good salad to go with those breadsticks:

Almost-Famous Garden Salad
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 bag American salad blend
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4 small pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini (I would skip this, personally, but if you like hot peppers, go for it)
1 tomato, sliced, quartered or however you prefer it
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1/2 cup croutons
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1. Combine all the dressing ingredients and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
2. Place the salad blend in a large bowl and top with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!

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