Oh, How I Love the Scampi

July 8th, 2009 . by Melissa

Chicken Scampi from Olive Garden is my favorite meal. No, Olive Garden is not my favorite restaurant (it takes more than one dish for me to give away that title), but their Chicken Scampi makes me swoon; my knees buckle from the pure bliss that is magically wrapped into each delicious bite.  There is one downfall to this perfect culinary creation, the price. For the regular portion, you pay: $13.59 plus 20% gratuity. For the lunch portion, you pay: $9.59 plus 20% gratuity.  This may seem like a small price to pay for the most wonderful meal in the world, but when you’re stocking up on diapers and baby gear there are less pennies for penne.  Yesterday, as Sesame and I were deeply craving Chicken Scampi, I arrived at a brilliant idea. I would find the Copy Cat recipe for my beloved dish and attempt to recreate it. I have tried Copy Cat recipes before for other restaurant faves, but have never had much success. I scoured the internet for at least thirty minutes trying to decipher which imitation recipe would yield the most similar product. I ended up choosing the most obscure choice from a particularly shady looking website. Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients required except for the produce. I ran to the store, returned to my laboratory, and then began with the experiment. At first, I was convinced that the sauce was way too bitter and overly runny and was already disappointed. Nevertheless, I continued on with the recipe forging ahead. After all of the elements of the dish were created (chicken and veggie sauté, angel hair pasta, white wine garlic sauce) I added them all together and took a bite (with my eyes closed). Guess what…it tasted EXACTLY the same.  Because I already had most of the spices the total cost for me to make this meal for 2 (with lunch portion leftovers) was $5.40.

 Here is the recipe and some of the slight modifications I made or would like to make for next time. We ended up with 2 cups of extra sauce which is currently in the freezer, ready to be thawed for another meal.

 

Olive Garden Chicken Scampi

Source: www.Recipegoldmine.com

Here is the recipe straight from the mouth of an Olive Garden employee. The chicken tenderloins are the only thing not authentic. They come into the restaurant already prepared.

Ingredients
1 stick and 3 tbs. Butter
2 tbs. garlic puree I used pre-packaged minced garlic.
2 tbs. Chicken Base (Minors or Tone brand)  I used 3 chicken bouillon cubes.
8 fluid ounces Chablis I used white cooking wine. And I plan to only use 5 oz. next time, it takes forever to cook out.
8 fluid ounces Water I didn’t add water because it was already too runny.
16 fluid ounces Creme Culinaire (or heavy whipping cream) I used 1 can evaporated milk, but want to try the cream next time.
1 1/4 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 1/2 tsp. Fresh Chopped Parsley
10 garlic cloves I didn’t add any garlic cloves, I felt it was enough with just the puree

1 red pepper

1 orange pepper I didn’t get a orange pepper, I figured the green and red would suffice.

1 green pepper

1 red onion I only used ½ of a large red onion.

Angel hair pasta
1 ½ lbs. Chicken Tenderloins I sliced up some chicken breasts and used those instead.

To roast garlic cloves: ( I didn’t included roasted garlic, I felt it would be too much with the puree)
For garlic, roast 2 to 3 heads of whole garlic. Slice off top until you see cloves and pour approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil over each head. Put in oven at 325 degrees F for around 1 hour or until they smell sweet. After they cool, squeeze cloves out of the papery stuff and coarsely chop.

To sauté the peppers and chicken:
Cut up green, red and orange pepper into strips also red onion (1/4 by 1 inch strips). These are sauted with the chicken. Marinate chicken in Marzetti’s lite ranch dressing (I didn’t use Ranch this time but will definitely try it next time!), adding 1 tablespoon garlic puree and fresh parsley. Use fresh chicken tenderloin strips (before marinating, I breaded mine with egg, flour and Italian seasoning, because they seem to have a light breading at the restaurant). There are 5 tenderloins per serving. You cook the white wine sauce while that simmers.

To make white wine sauce:
Melt butter over low heat; do not let it brown. Add garlic puree and let sweat for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. (My sauce took more like 20 minutes, and I had to add a little flour to thicken it.)

 Cook pasta as directed.

Toss veggies and chicken with white wine sauce (approximately 6-8 fluid ounces per serving) and place on top of angel hair pasta.

3 Responses to “Oh, How I Love the Scampi”

  1. comment number 1 by: Mom

    You are amazing! I am excited to make this :)

  2. comment number 2 by: Jennifer Lane

    This is too funny. That is also my favorite. I remember when you and Jase came into Olive Garden to visit me. I suggested you get the Chicken Scampi. I’m not sure if it was already your favorite or not. LOVE IT!

  3. comment number 3 by: Melissa

    Jen, I had never had it before you recommended it and now I love it! Thank you for introducing me to it!!!