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.

Offering Italian-inspired cuisine passed down from our founders’ family recipes, Carrabba’s uses only the best ingredients to prepare fresh and handmade dishes cooked to order in a lively exhibition kitchen. Featuring a wood-burning grill inspired by the many tastes of Italy, customers can enjoy signature dishes, including Chicken Bryan, Spiedino di Mare and a fresh twist on an Italian Classic, Wood-grilled Chicken Marsala. Carrabba’s was voted #1 Italian in the 2014 Consumer Picks Survey by Nation’s Restaurant News.



Marsala Sauce

Carrabba's Recipe

Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ounces sliced prosciutto (not paper thin), cut into 2 x 1/4 inch strips
3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry Marsala
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes Add the prosciutto and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well Stir in the Marsala and broth, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes
Remove from heat. One tablespoon at a time, add the remaining butter and stir until incorporated into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper When you are ready to serve, make sure the sauce is hot and spoon equal amounts of it on each piece of meat. To finish it off, sprinkle some parsley on it.

Notes: Use this staple Italian sauce to top grilled veal, steak, chicken or pork chops.


Boiling pasta. It seems so simple, and it actually is, but there are secrets to making it perfect every time.

Let’s first start with the water. The rule of the thumb is every pound of pasta needs one gallon of water to cook in.  It’s really important that the pasta has enough room in the pot to move around. There’s a term actually in Italian that says “pasta should cook like a fish in the sea.” There’s actually no such thing as too much water, but there is such a thing as too little. If you don’t add enough water, your pasta will take on a gummy texture as the starches will at first detach themselves from the noodles and then reattach as they have nowhere else to go.

Next is salt. For every gallon of water you will need one ounce of salt. Salt is what enhances the flavor of pasta. Make sure to add it in once the water is boiling, and not beforehand, as you’ll want it to dissolve instantly. It’s important the salt dissolves immediately because if not, it will cause pitting, which is tiny little dents and bumps that form on the bottom of pots.

After you add your salt, you’re now ready to add in the pasta. But don’t walk away just yet. To prevent the pasta from clumping or sticking together while cooking, you’ll need to stir it occasionally. For string pastas, make sure to use a pasta fork, and for tube pastas, use a cook’s spoon or spatula. As far as timing, stir your pasta every 15-20 seconds in the first minute. Then afterwards just stir it every minute.

Normally, you always want to cook your pasta for one minute less than what it says on the box. To make sure the pasta is thoroughly cooked, take a piece out and taste it. It should be nice and firm to the tooth – in Italian we call this “al dente.” The term “al dente” also means cooked to order, which is the last important step in cooking the perfect pot of pasta. You always want to cook your pasta right before you serve it to your guests. Once you drain the pasta, immediately mix it in with your sauce. This will allow the pasta shape to take on the flavor of the sauce as the starches in the pasta cling to the sauce, which also helps thicken it.

Peach Bellini

1 ounce Peach Schnapps (2 tablespoons)
1 ounce Rum (2 tablespoons)
6 ounces White Wine; (3/4 cup)
6 ounces Champagne; (3/4 cup)
8 ounces Peach Nectar or Peach Juice (1 cup)
2 teaspoon Powdered Sugar
2 cups Crushed Ice

Place the schnapps, rum, white wine, 3/4 cup water, champagne, peach nectar and powdered sugar in a heavy duty blender and pulse to mix. Add 2 cups of crushed ice and process until ice is finely ground (do not add more ice – the mixture will be more liquid than frozen at this point). Pour into shallow plastic or stainless steel container. Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring once every hour.

Italian Surf and Turf

Starting today, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is introducing an irresistible combination of surf and turf, Italian style. For a limited time, guests can enjoy sirloin grilled to perfection on a wood-fired grill, paired with lobster ravioli with tender lobster and Romano in a white wine cream sauce, topped with diced tomatoes. The surf and turf combination is served with a seasonal vegetable and choice of a cup of soup or a side salad for just $13.99.

Also for a limited time, inspired by the Italian Coast, Carrabba’s is featuring two refreshing beverages:

  • Sicilian Sea Breeze made with Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, Absolut Vodka, cranberry juice, fresh mint and hint of grapefruit juice mixed then topped with a splash of Rosa Regale Sparkling wine.
  • Genovese Basil Breeze made with Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, Absolut Vodka, cranberry juice, fresh mint and hint of grapefruit juice mixed then topped with a splash of Rosa Regale Sparkling wine.

Mamma's Pot Roast

Carrabba's Italian Grill Recipe

Serves 6

1 (3-4 lb.) beef chuck or rump
8 large garlic cloves, each cut into thick slices
24 to 30 Italian parsley leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
vegetable oil
all purpose flour
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pierce meat all over with a paring knife. Insert a piece of garlic and a few parsley leaves into the pierce marks. Season meat very well with salt and pepper, rubbing seasoning into the meat very well. Let seasoned meat sit for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large roasting pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, flour the meat all over. Add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides, being careful not to scorch it. About halfway through the browning process, add the carrot, celery, onion and coarsely chopped garlic and let the vegetables brown a little.

When the vegetables and meat are brown, add the water and the parsley to the pan and cover. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 3 to 4 hours, turning the meat every hour until tender

This roast is best if made the day before, sliced cold and arranged in the pan. Remove the hardened fat from the gravy. Pour the de-fatted gravy over the roast, cover and heat in a 325 degree oven until warm. Arrange the roast on a serving platter. Pour the gravy over the roast and serve.