Q: I am looking for the recipe for Pizza Hut Romano or Parmesan salad dressing from the ‘70s.
A: You and everybody else! Pizza Hut spokesman Brett LeVecchio tells me that “a shocking number of people have been looking for this over the years.”
Charleston likely developed a taste for the chain’s signature Romano dressing early on, since the city gained a Pizza Hut (then always called “The Pizza Hut”) at 224 Savannah Highway in 1969, a few years before the condiment was introduced. Officially known as “Creamy Italian,” the dressing was purchased from food distributor Swiss Chalet.
According to LeVecchio, Pizza Hut lost its hold on the recipe after Clorox bought Swiss Chalet.
But many dressing devotees have done their darndest to replicate the flavors they remember. A quick online search brings up pages of knockoff recipes. Here’s the one which LeVecchio’s team believes comes closest to the original:
Not Quite Pizza Hut’s Creamy Italian Dressing
2 cups oil (soybean, vegetable or canola)
1 cup Hidden Valley bottled Original Ranch dressing
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 packet dry Zesty Italian dressing mix, such as Good Seasons
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (available in a supermarket’s organic section)
Add first eight ingredients (oil through dry dressing mix) to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add xanthan gum; blend until fully combined. Serve with salad.