There are far different costs associated with cooking in and eatting out. There’s price and quality to consider. There’s convenience and occasion to consider. It boils down as the Italian’s say to, “Di stagione – in season.”

The chain Olive Garden does fast food Italian.  There are over 800 restuarants, one in every major city in the United States and it trickles down from there. There are 12, in a 45-mile radius from my house. If you have been to one, you have been to them all. They are programmed by corporate to taste the same.

There’s no guarantee what I could once will taste the same twice. That’s my guarantee and this is my recipe.




1. Mediterranean Pine Nuts 2. Rana Ravioli Chicken Rosemary 3. Canned Tomatoes 4. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese 5. Olive Oil 6. Garlic 7. Chicken Breast 8. Jar Pesto Sauce 9. Onion 10. Cherry Tomatoes 11. Chardonnay, Went Vineyards  

Currently at Olive Garden, there is an existing special where two people can eat for $25.00. About the only other places $12.50 gets you a meal is at a chain like McDonalds or in a third-world nation.  The special includes unlimited bread sticks and appetizer followed by a choice between nine entrees. If you skip the appetizer, you can sample one of five desserts.

I’m not food-expert. I earn a living as an interior designer in a business, along with my family I own. Home-cooking is a hobby which gives me the authority to ask where is the profit in that? What possibly can be the quality of that food source?


When you cook from home, you cook from scratch. With that comes the unique knowledge that from here on out you know the layers of ingredients that went into the food you eat. That’s the benefit. To create a base, I start by flavoring the olive oil with onions, garlic and fresh cherry tomatoes. The seasoned olive oil will be the frying component for the chicken and later the stewed tomatoes.

This is the most important part of the meal. Take liberty here with the flavoring.


To the existing base, I added pesto and wine. Let it sweat then add the chicken. A this point the kitchen should smell deliciously like good food is cooking. Here’s the other cool part of me, I start thinking about how my mother use to do it and does it still. I sit back at our old kitchen counter and watch her cook.

Cooking is a natural, family thing.  You are born to eat and learn how to cook from your family. The ability is in your blood and destiny brings it out. If your mom was a good cook, you are too. It is that simple of an equation. When given the choice to eat out, carry-in or cook for your husband and kids. I would cook.


The actual tomatoe sauce is an entirely different thought. Up until now in the recipe, I have not cooked with any dairy.  Jews by religion do not mix meat & dairy. I observe it if possible but I can’t live by that rule. My ancestors on my mother’s side did according to the Book of Exodus, which forbids “boiling a (kid) goat in its mother’s milk”.  Admittedly graphic, the mixture is also a luxury. Historically to mix the two, you were rich enough to purchase it fresh.  My father’s ancestors are Italian. They divorced. For the purpose of this recipe, lets seperate the two.

This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” –Book of Exodus


God said that. In life he goes on to say a lot more. Factor in the millions of ideas or quotes attributed to him through other people’s thoughts and it starts to make sense that it boils down to the little things. The tradition of cooking and for me, for as long as possible keeping the meat and dairy separate.


In a seperate pan reheat the olive oil-pesto base over high heat. Who ever peeled, stewed and canned tomatoes was genius.


It an old idea when you think about it. It pre-dates metal cans to glass jars and seasonal preserves. The greatest thing about time is if you live long enough the simpliest of ideas comes back again. . The canning provides a distinguished taste that also differs in texture. Once upon a time, families only ate at home. Once upon time there was no Olive Garden. Once upon a time to eat a vegetable in the winter, it came out of jar sealed during harvest months.

“In the winter I use canned vegatables. It is the closest thing to what our ancestors got.”–Samantha Knapp


Fry the tomatoes in the heated oil. This process is messy, stand back to avoid being burned by the heat. There is so much water in the canning process that it is absolutely neccessary to keep the heat high to cook off the juice.

Perhaps canned tomatoes is what we have in common. That’s me and the Oil Garden. The truth is alot of their menu items all year round comes measured out exactly and shipped from one central hub. No one buys food locally. That is a fact but please don’t take this as a full out assault, I recognize from a corporate-economy perspective chains provide jobs and for whatever it is worth, a good portion of consuming america eats there.

Here’s where we throw religion right out the door. At this point the tomatoes should have cooked down and become stocky in its own liquid. To this add the Ricotta. There are two types of italian cooking and they split on the dairy. Here’s where both meet. Use a hand blender to mix the sauce.


When complete, let the sauce come together for at least ten more minutes under high heat. The bel


You have to give it to recieve it.

Chi conserva quando ha, mangia quando vuole (Who preserves when have abundance, eats when desires to) It is kind of a heavy meal. So as the Italians say, take it slow.


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