Restaurant recipes

Restaurant recipes not always available

We recently received several requests for recipes from various restaurants. Unfortunately, many no longer give out recipes for what are now considered trade secrets. Sometimes we manage to get the recipe, and sometimes we have to rely on our readers to try and fill the bill if a restaurant can’t or won’t comply.

For example, Betty Rothacher from Fallbrook is looking for a recipe for chicken cutlets made at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. “In addition to the chicken, it has artichokes, mushrooms, capers, and a delicious lemon sauce. Also, my husband and I love the mussel dish——it’s heavily seasoned with peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Could you also ask for this recipe?”

Well, Betty, I did, but Chris Barnes of Romano’s Macaroni Grill headquarters laments that the company doesn’t give out recipes. So readers, if you have something similar to their chicken cutlet or mussel recipes to share, I’m sure Betty would be thrilled.

Sue Rich emailed looking for a recipe for the “delicious” tomato-basil soup served at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza restaurants. Although Sammy’s is normally happy to share recipes, public relations representative Joice Truban Curry said, this particular dish was created by an outside chef, so it’s not available to the public. However, the folks at Sammy were kind enough to send over a recipe with similar flavors. Maybe it will appeal to Sue’s taste buds. In the meantime, if another reader has a recipe for delicious tomato-basil soup, please send it!


2 ounces olive oil

1 tbsp garlic

8 ounces diced Roma tomatoes (about 4 medium)

4 ounces of chicken broth

1 tablespoon freshly cut basil leaves

4 1/2 ounces angel hair

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté 2 ounces of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of garlic in a hot skillet; sweat but do not colour. Add the diced Roma tomato (peeled and seeded). Cook with garlic and olive oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Add chicken broth (if using canned, use low sodium) and 1 tbsp freshly cut basil leaves (2-3 pieces). Season with black pepper and a pinch of salt. Let simmer for 1 minute. In boiling water, add 4 1/2 ounces of angel hair and cook for 2 minutes only. Drain and add the tomato/basil mixture.

Giving Credit: A belated thanks also to Bill Holthaus of Fallbrook and his mother-in-law, Grace Robinson, for sending in a clamchowder recipe for Shirley Hohl of Vista.

Saved Shortbreads: Neva Thompson of Carlsbad requested a copy of a shortbread cookie recipe booklet she got from Solvang. No one was able to come up with the exact booklet, but Vista’s Terri Cook sent over a collection of recipes from various sources. The one Neva requested contained rice flour, which Terri couldn’t find, but she did find several that contained powdered sugar, another requested ingredient. Here is the basic recipe, from Cookingmagazine:


8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup icing or granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

Butter an 8 1/2-inch cake or springform pan; put aside. Sift together flour and salt in small bowl; put aside. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream until frothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and continue beating until very light in color and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with spatula, about 2 minutes more. Add vanilla, if using. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed, scraping with a spatula if necessary, until the flour is just incorporated and the dough sticks together when pressed with your fingers.

Pat batter into prepared pan. If you are rolling out the dough to cut it into shapes, shape it into a flat disc; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake until firm and just starting to brown, about 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before packaging. Keeps 3 to 4 weeks in an airtight container. Makes 8 to 12 wedges.

Laura Groch is the editor of the North County Times. Send articles to Bites and Pieces, North County Times, 207 E.Pennsylvania Ave., Escondido, CA 92025 or email