Since the opening of its first Souplantation in 1978 in San Diego, California, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corporation has expanded to 61 salad buffet restaurants with locations in Southern California, where they are known as Souplantation, and in Northern California and ten other states, where they are known as Sweet Tomatoes. Differing in name only, the restaurants are known for their abundance of fresh, great tasting salad selections, soups, bakery items, pastas and desserts in a self-serve format, set in a casual dining atmosphere.




Lemon Caper Penne

Souplantation Copycat Recipe

1 tablespoon table salt
8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
10 ounces frozen spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chicken base (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons capers

In a large pot, bring 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt to a full boil. Add pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. Add frozen spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Immediately drain and set aside, reserving ½ cup pasta water. While pasta is cooking, grate lemon peel and juice lemon.

In the pasta pot, make a roux by melting the butter and stirring in the flour. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Add the half and half, lemon juice, chicken base, lemon zest, kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk vigorously to prevent lumps. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring often to prevent burning.Add cooked pasta, spinach, and capers to the sauce and toss to serve.

Notes: Chicken base is sold in jars near bouillon in many supermarkets. To make this dish completely vegetarian, simply swap the chicken base for a vegetable base. You can also use a cube or two of frozen chicken or vegetable stock (not broth) in place of the chicken base. You can easily add chicken, shrimp or a light fish to this dish for added protein, or serve as-is.

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