kruizing with kikukat

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Olive Garden, Where Are You???

In my previous job assignment, I was fortunate enough to travel to the mainland occasionally.  Whenever I would travel with coworkers, we always made it a point to have at least ONE meal at The Olive Garden.  I know, I know, for you quasi-anal Italian food aficionados, The Olive Garden, is hardly even close to what you'd consider a proper Italian meal.  And yes, I do know what real Italian food is like because for a number of years when I lived in Seattle, I had a real Italian obachan who used to make everything Italian, all from scratch.  I'm sure she would cringe if she knew I was a big fan of the Olive Garden.

My love affair with Olive Garden's Chicken Marsala began in Orlando, FL, about five years ago.  Shamefully, I didn't order it.  A colleague ordered it and was nice enough to share a morsel with me.  Ooh, how I wish I had ordered Chicken Marsala instead of the lasagna special.  Having been wowed by the experience, I returned home, vowing that one day, I would make it in my own kitchen.

Thanks to the Internet, copycat recipes for The Olive Garden's Chicken Marsala can be found without too much trouble.  I looked over several, added my own twist, and have been making my version of it for a while.  The other night, chicken was on the rotation, and I needed to come up with something fast for dinner.  Chicken Marsala to the rescue!

While its not exactly like what you get at The Olive Garden, it is quite similar.  What I like about making it at home is that I can add my preferred mushrooms.  We are fortunate on the Big Island to have Hamakua Mushrooms, and my favorite variety is the Ali'i Oyster (eryngii). 

The Olive Garden normally serves Tuscan Potatoes alongside the chicken.  I've made Tuscan Potatoes at home, but I will save that for another blog.  Chicken Marsala is also nice when served alongside a mound of garlic mashed potatoes.

I'm dedicating today's blog to Colleen.  Thanks to her generosity, I had the good fortune of sampling a tidbit of  what has become my favorite Olive Garden meal.  Of course, Colleen was the first person I initially shared this recipe with when I first tried it out.  Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson!

click on recipe title for printable recipe
2 boneless-skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c Marsala
Slice each breast half into 3 pieces.  Place a piece of chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Using the flat side of a meat mallet, flatten each piece to 1/4" thickness.  Repeat with remaining pieces.  Combine flour, salt, and oregano.  Coat both sides of chicken pieces in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  In a skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Cook chicken for 2 minutes on the first side (light brown).  Turn chicken over.  Add mushrooms to skillet.  When chicken is light brown, add wine.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

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