Buca, Inc. is an industry leader in terms of growth in the number of restaurants it oversees. The company owns and operates 51 full service, dinner-only restaurants under the name Buca di Beppo. Its restaurants are located in 18 states as well as the District of Columbia. Buca di Beppo (meaning 'Joe's basement') restaurants differentiate from other Italian restaurant chains by providing distinctive oversized Southern Italian family style portions in a casual, festive, humorous, socially interactive atmosphere. Appealing to nostalgic trends, the décor at each of Buca's restaurants irreverently exaggerates the clichés of traditional postwar neighborhood Italian/American restaurants. In terms of scale, Buca thinks big: large food portions, large tables, and large restaurant size with an average seating capacity of 300.



Tuscan Beans and Escarole Soup

Buca di Beppo Restaurant Copycat Recipe

1 pound dried great northern beans
5 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads escarole, roughly chopped
30 ounces tomato sauce
28 ounces diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and cover with 6 cups hot water and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain. Heat olive oil and chopped garlic for one minute. Add the chopped escarole and cook until wilted down. This will look like a lot of greens, but by the end will cook down until almost nothing. Add the beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and broth. Stir to combine. Simmer together uncovered for 45 minutes until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

Bucatini alla Enzo

Buca di Beppo Restaurant Copycat Recipe

4 ounces pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces bacon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 ounce prosciutto
2 tablespoons peas
2 tablespoons fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 ounces mixed Parmesan and Romano cheese, grated

Cook pasta 9 to 10 minutes in salted water according to package instructions. Five minutes before pasta is cooked, begin preparing the sauce.

Saute the bacon with olive oil in skillet until it begins to crisp. Add black pepper. Allow to stand for 1 minute. Add the prosciutto, stir over heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and continue sauteing and stirring for 1 minute. Add the peas. Cook for 2 minutes, allowing peas to absorb flavors of the dish. Add  the cooked, drained pasta and toss gently. Add cheeses and toss again gently. Serves 1.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Buca di Beppo Restaurant Copycat Recipe

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1/8 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil

In a blender container, combine the red wine vinegar, oregano, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the onion and garlic. Blend together while slowly adding the olive oil. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Makes 2 cups.

Note: Do not make this a day in advance or put in refrigerator, as flavors will not be at their best.

Salmon With Pesto Cream Sauce

Buca di Beppo Restaurant Copycat Recipe

2 pounds salmon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup basil pesto
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Season the salmon if you choose and either sear in a pan, then place in oven to cook until finished or grill. Keep warm if it finishes prior to the sauce.

In the meantime, warm the olive oil in a saute pan until just warm and add pesto and heat on medium until it becomes more liquid. Add the cream and half and half and bring to a gentle boil while whisking. Continue to cook over low heat stirring frequently until thickened. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Serve salmon on a bed of the sauce. Serves 6-8.

Pancetta and Arugula Pizza

Buca di Beppo Restaurant Copycat Recipe

12 inch ready made pizza crust
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/4 teaspoon for tossing greens
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup cooked, thinly sliced spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced pancetta (see note)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 ounce baby arugula
pinch each coarse salt and pepper, or to taste
1/4 ounce aged balsamic or bottled balsamic glaze

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush olive oil to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle minced garlic over dough evenly. Place shredded cheese evenly over garlic. Top with sausage.

Saute pancetta and place evenly over pizza. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Place into a 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven.

In a mixing bowl, toss arugula with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Place arugula evenly over pizza. Drizzle lightly with balsamic. Makes 6-8 servings.

Recipe note: Prosciutto can substitute for the pancetta.