Monday, April 11, 2011

Olive Garden - I have an "app" for that, redux

First, let me state that I do not have a fear of dining in restaurants. My family has (finally) grown accustomed to my desire to create everything and anything related to food in our kitchen. While others watch an advertisement for a local restaurant and say "Mmmm, that sounds good. Let's go there to eat", I always say "Mmmm, that sounds good. I'll bet I can make that."

Such is the case with the most recent television commercial for Olive Garden's cheese-filled soffatelli. I have no problem with the folks who operate Olive Garden. I've eaten there many times and have enjoyed each and every meal. But.....I also enjoy cooking, enjoy finding ways of making new things, and enjoy Italian food. So, why not try to replicate a recipe from a place I hold dear in my heart?

Well, for one thing, I've not tasted the soffatelli at Olive Garden. And, since it's being offered for a limited time only, the chances that I will eat there before it disappears are pretty slim. So, I'm exercising a tremendous amount of ego to offer this recipe, and, if you choose to use it, you are taking a giant leap of faith in my culinary skills. Let's jump off that cliff together, OK?

Carb Diva's Cheese-Filled Soffatelli
One 17.3 oz pkg. puff pastry sheets
One pkg. Stouffer's Spinach Souffle
Cooking spray
One 8-oz pkg Sargento Fancy Shredded 6 Cheese Italian Cheese
2 whole fresh lemons
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Puff pastry sheets are typically found in the frozen food section at your grocers. Unwrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minute to thaw. There are two sheets in each package. Unfold them, and cut each into 4 pieces, to make 8 squares total.

Remove the spinach souffle from its package. Lift one corner of the plastic wrap to vent; cook on full power in the microwave for 5 minutes. Remove, stir and return to the microwave. Cook for another 2 minutes. Mixture will be almost firm but not fully cooked. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Divide spinach souffle mixture into 8 equal pieces. Place one piece on each puff pastry square. Top each spinach souffle mound with 1 tablespoon of Italian cheese.

Bring the corners of each puff pastry up to the center--pinch together and seal the sides to form square "envelopes".

Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place spinach/cheese-filled puff pastry enveloes on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20 minutes, or until well-browned and puffed.

While the puffs are baking, prepare the sauce.

Using a zester, remove the yellow portion only of the lemon rind (don't cut into the white pith--it's bitter) and set aside.  Mince the parsley until you have about 3/4 cup.

Heat the butter and olive oil over low heat. Add the minced garlic and lemon rind; cook until the garlic and lemon are fragrant and then remove from heat. Stir in the minced parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the sauce among 8 serving plates and place one baked soffatelli on top of each.

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