Carrabba's Italian Grill was founded by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola in Houston, Texas in 1986. The restaurant features hand-prepared family recipes made from the finest ingredients and prepared to order in an exhibition kitchen. The success of Carrabba's led to the popular PBS cooking show Cucina!, starring Carrabba and Mandola, as well as a series of companion cookbooks. There are currently 240 Carrabba's Italian Grill locations around the country.

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Tilapia Nocciola


TILAPIA NOCCIOLA
Carrabba's Copycat Recipe

Serves 6

Lemon Butter Sauce
2 garlic gloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Sherry
1 tablespoon chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper


Tilapia
6 tilapia fillets
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely ground
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 eggs
canola oil
salt and pepper
grape tomatoes for garnish (optional)

Lemon Butter Sauce:  In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, add butter and garlic. Saute until garlic softens. Add lemon juice, sherry, and chicken stock. Reduce by half, about 4-5 minutes. Whisk in cream and lemon zest and reduce to thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Take the mixture off of the heat and add the basil, whisk to combine.

Tilapia:  Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. Place two shallow dishes by the stove, closest to the burner you’re going to sear the tilapia in. Add ground hazelnuts and panko to one of the dishes and the eggs to the other dish. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper to each dish and whisk. Dip tilapia fillets into the egg mixture, turning to coat, then directly into the hazelnut mixture, making sure to thoroughly coat each side. Place the first 3 fillets into the hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, adding a sprinkle of salt to the fillets after you flip them. Repeat with the next three fillets.

To Serve: Drizzle the tilapia with lemon butter sauce and garnish with fresh grape tomatoes.

Lobster Ravioli



LOBSTER RAVIOLI
Carrabba's Copycat Recipe

1 lb. lobster meat
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms
2-1/2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon shallots
2 cups light cream
2-1/2 teaspoons flour
2 or 3 teaspoons quality light sherry
salt & ground pepper to taste

Sauce
2 cups light cream
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 oz. brandy
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Cook Ravioli 
3 quart pot pinch of salt
2-1/2 quarts water
dash of oil

Boil lobsters, remove meat. Clean & mince lobster meat. Wash & mince mushrooms.

In saute pan, soften butter, add shallots. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add lobster meat and mushrooms and cook for another minute. Slowly sprinkle flour over mix, stirring constantly. Add sherry, stirring constantly. (If you want it a little pinker, shake in a little paprika.) Add light cream and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes on low. The mixture should be on the medium to thick side. Remove from the heat and spread it out on a flat pan to cool.

Roll out 2 ravioli pasta sheets. Mark out 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inch squares. Add 3/4 teaspoon of mixture into the marked square. Lay the second sheet on top and use a ravioli tool to roll and seal. Transfer onto a sheet pan that has been lined with wax paper & sprinkle with corn meal (this helps prevent sticking).

Sauce: Melt butter. Add flour, brandy, light cream & paprika. Salt & pepper to taste. Keep warm in a double boiler.

Cook Ravioli: Bring water, salt & oil to a boil. Add raviolis quickly, but 1 at a time. Keep separated with a wooden spoon. Boil 3 to 5 minutes (preference). Remove with slotted spoon or skimmer.

Serve on a flat plate or flat soup bowl with cream sauce on the bottom. Place 4 or 5 raviolis on sauce and then drizzle with more sauce. Sprinkle with parsley.

Lasagna



LASAGNA
Carrabba's Copycat Recipe

2 cups fresh ricotta
8 ounces grated Provolone
8 ounces grated Mozzarella
8 ounces grated Romano
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt
ground black pepper
1/2 pound grated Parmesan cheese
1 package of lasagna noodles (any brand will do)
marinara sauce (may use marinara sauce or marinara meat sauce)

Make marinara sauce first, since the sauce takes some time to complete. (I usually use marinara meat sauce for this recipe but I like to add sausages also to the sauce.  The marinara sauce would work as well. See sidebar for recipes.)

Cook pasta and make filling: Once sauce is almost finished, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sauce pan bring water to a boil. Once water is boiled add lasagna noodles. While noodles are cooking mix ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, and Romano cheese in a medium bowl. Once cheeses are evenly mixed add egg, milk, basil, and garlic. Again mix evenly and then season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna. In a deep dish lasagna pan, spread about 3 large spoonfuls of meat sauce. Then sprinkle grated cheese over sauce. Place noodles in a row on over sauce and cheese. Spread half the cheese filling evenly over the noodles. Add more meat sauce over cheese filing and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese over sauce.  Repeat the above process again, except this time make sure the rows of lasagna are opposite to the previous rows.  Then place one more layering of lasagna noodles on the top. Make sure this row is layered the same as the first row. Cover noodles completely with meat sauce and sprinkle with more mozzarella cheese.

Cook in oven for about forty-five minutes to an hour, or until sauce and cheese is boiling on the sides of the pan. Wait about ten minutes before serving.

Sausage Penne Pomodoro



SAUSAGE PENNE POMODORO
Carrabba's Copycat Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup fennel, chopped
1-1/2 lbs Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 cup water
6 cups tomato sauce
1 lb. penne pasta
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and fennel for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir frequently. Add sausage to the pan and brown.  Once the sausage has browned add the water and tomato sauce, increase heat and bring sauce to a boil stirring frequently. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Drop penne in boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta in colander.  Add pasta in with sauce and toss to coat.  Add Romano cheese, toss with the pasta until melted.  Transfer pasta to serving dish or individually plate and serve with a dollop of ricotta on top.