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.

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Fusilli With Zucchini, Sausage And Goat Cheese

Fusilli With Zucchini, Sausage And Goat Cheese

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces Italian fennel sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper, or to taste
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Fusilli (corkscrew pasta)
4 large ripe Roma tomatoes, (about 1 pound), seeded and diced
3 small zucchini, (about 1/2 pound), trimmed and sliced very thinly
6 ounces Fresh goat cheese, cut into 1/2 inch chunks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 cup freshly chopped, fresh Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until the sausage starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and the red pepper and continue to cook until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is soft, another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, drain well, saving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Return the sausage pan back to a medium heat. Add the drained pasta, the tomatoes, zucchini, goat cheese and the herbs and toss well. Add enough of the pasta water to moisten and make a nice sauce. The goat cheese should totally melt, become creamy and coat the pasta. Add half of the grated Parmigiano cheese and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve:  Transfer the pasta to a warm serving bowl or pasta platter. Serve, passing the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Oranges With Wine Sauce

Oranges With Wine Sauce

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 12

8 navel oranges
1 tangerine and/or 1 lemon, sliced and unpeeled
3 cups full-bodied red wine
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered or crushed almonds optional

Peel two oranges with a vegetable peeler removing just the peel and leaving the white membrane attached. Slice this thin peel into narrow julienne strips, and set aside. Peel all the oranges with a sharp knife removing all the white membrane. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and set aside in a glass bowl.

In enamel, Pyrex or other non-reactive saucepan, combine the wine, water, and sugar. Add all but 1/4 cup of the julienned peel, tangerine or lemon slices, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, immediately lower the heat, and simmer until reduced by half and sauce has become syrupy, about 35 to 45 minutes. Strain out the spices and fruit peel-through you may wish to reserve the cinnamon for garnish.

Serve by pouring the warm, or chilled, wine sauce over individual portions of the sliced oranges.
Then, garnish with a cinnamon stick, a sprinkle of almonds, a few curls of julienned orange peel, and optionally another glass of your favorite red wine

Rigatoni with Eggplant


Rigatoni with Eggplant

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 4-6

2  medium firm eggplant, ends trimmed and sliced from stem to end, 1 inch thick
kosher salt
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
6 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed and rinsed or packed in oil, drained, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds canned whole peeled Italian tomatoes, de-seeded and crushed fine by hand
2 teaspoons sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed of salt or capers in brine, rinsed
4 large fresh basil leaves, each torn into 2-3 pieces
8-10 fresh mint leaves, torn in half
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup caciocavallo cheese, cut in shards or roughly chopped (can substitute imported Provolone)
grated caciocavallo or Romano cheese

To Prepare: Salt eggplant slices lightly on both sides with kosher salt. Place slices in a colander. Put a plate on top of the eggplant. Place a heavy weight on the plate. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut eggplant slices into 1-inch cubes.

Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat, until very hot. Add the eggplant and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Drain eggplant on paper towel lined pan. Set aside.

Place a large pot with 6 quarts of water on the stove to boil. In a large skillet, heat remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, stirring frequently until the onion is very soft and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and saute for 5 minutes, then remove the garlic and add the chopped anchovy. Cook another minute to let anchovy dissolve. Add the tomatoes and sugar. Raise the heat and bring sauce to a boil.

Reduce heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and the red pepper, and let simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the carpers, eggplant, and herbs. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the now boiling water. Drop the pasta in the pot.

To Serve:  When pasta is al dente, drain and add to the skillet with the sauce, over a low heat. Toss, add the shards of caciocavallo (or Provolone). Toss for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is soft and gooey. Transfer pasta to a warm serving platter. Sprinkle over with grated caciocavallo or Romano. Serve, passing extra grated cheese.

Baked Pasta

Baked Pasta

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 8-10

Ragu:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless pork butt, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound boneless veal round, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, chopped medium
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
6 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups canned Italian tomatoes, passed through a food mill fitted with its smallest holes
5 cups water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
1 pound Italian sausage

Filling:
6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 medium zucchini, washed, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely-chopped Italian parsley
1 pound fresh mushrooms, shiitake, cremini, or white domestic or mix of these, wiped clean, sliced 1/4 inch (shiitake stems discarded)
1 pound fresh or frozen peas

Assembly:
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds pasta tubes, such as anelletti, ditali or ditalini
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs
2 ounces sliced salami, 1/16 inch thick, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons softened butter for dotting
extra Romano cheese, grated

To Prepare The Ragu:  In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Season the pork and veal with salt and pepper and, when the oil is very hot, add to the pot and brown meat well on all sides. Add the onions to the meat and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and start to brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add the pureed tomatoes and the water, bring the contents to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Season ragu with salt, black pepper, and red pepper and simmer sauce partially covered for 1 hour. Remove the sausage from it's casing and break into 1-inch pieces. Add the sausage to the simmering ragu and cook 30 more minutes. Turn off heat and set ragu aside.

To Prepare The Filling:  When ragu is in the last 30 minutes of simmering place 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed lightly, over medium heat in a large skillet.

When the oil is very hot and the garlic starts to brown, remove and discard garlic and add the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is browned and cooked through. Add half the parsley. Transfer cooked zucchini to a plate or pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil and the others 2 cloves of garlic lightly crushed, over medium heat. When the oil is very hot and the garlic starts to brown, remove and discard garlic and add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and cooked through. Add the remaining parsley.

Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a plate or pan. If using fresh peas, boil in lightly salted water until tender. Drain and submerge in ice water immediately, drain and set aside. If using frozen peas, thaw and set aside.

To Assemble:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Bring 10 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add the salt. Cook the pasta in the water until 2 minutes from al dente. Meanwhile, butter a large deep casserole and coat with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs.

When the pasta is done , drain and toss it in a bowl with 1/2 the ragu. Transfer 1/4 of the pasta to the bottom of the casserole. Top with a little of the extra ragu. Distribute the zucchini over the pasta and cover with 1/3 of the grated Romano and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Top with another 1/4 of the pasta, a little sauce, the mushrooms, and remaining Romano and Mozzarella cheeses.

Cover with the last 1/4 of the pasta, a little sauce, top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Serve, passing extra Romano cheese.

Pasta With Pesto


Pasta With Pesto

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 4-6

1 cup basil leaves
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup balanced almonds, roughly chopped
6 very ripe, Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped medium
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound imported Italian dried linguine, or spaghetti

To Prepare: In a food processor,blend together the basil and the garlic, then add the almonds and blend to a rough chop. Add the tomatoes and olive oil and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then blend again.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, saving some of the water to thin the pesto sauce. Mix enough of the water with the pesto sauce to get the desired consistency.

To Serve: Spread about 1/2 of the presto sauce on the bottom of a warm serving platter, and transfer the pasta on top, then pour the remaining pesto on the pasta and toss, then serve immediately.

Saint Joseph's Day Soup

Saint Joseph's Day Soup

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 6-8

1/2 pound dried fava beans, shelled
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
1/2 cup dried beans (kidney, cranberry or barlotti)
1/2 cup dried chick peas
1/2 cup dried lentils
1 medium yellow onion, sliced medium
2 celery ribs, chopped medium
1 large head escarole, chopped medium
2 sun dried tomatoes, cut into small peices
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh fennel fronds
1 tablespoon dill weed, finely chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To Prepare:  Soak the fava beans, chestnuts, dried beans, and chickpeas, overnight in a pot of cold water. Drain and place in a large stockpot with 10 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Add the split peas, lentils, onion, celery, escarole, tomatoes, fennel seeds, fennel, and dill weed. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer another 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Add more water if needed to thin to a soup consistency.

To Serve:  Turn off heat, taste and re-season, if needed. Add olive oil.


Orange Scallops


Orange Scallops

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 4

16 sea scallops
1/2 cup all purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, save fronds for garnish
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Sambuca liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

To Prepare:  Clean and rinse the scallops and set aside. Combine the flour with the salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Dredge the scallops in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Cook the scallops until they are golden on both sides, being careful not to overcook-it makes them tough. Remove scallops and set aside.

Add the scallops and fennel to the saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Sambuca. Return the pan to the heat and ad the orange zest, the orange juice, and the wine and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the butter and chives and ad back the scallops long enough to heat through. Turn onto a platter and serve immediately.

Grilled Tuna With Sauce Of Green Herbs


Grilled Tuna With Sauce Of Green Herbs

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 4

Tuna:
2 anchovy fillets, salt or oil packed, rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds tuna steaks, 3/4 to 1 inch thick

Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon lemon zest
5-6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, any combination of Italian parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and mint
1 tablespoon capers, salt or brine packed, and rinsed
juice of one lemon
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Prepare:  Mash the anchovies in the olive oil until smooth. Spoon the anchovy oil over the tuna steaks. Let marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

To make the Sauce, warm the olive oil, garlic, and bay leaves in a small saucepan over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Over a preheated grill, grill the tuna steaks to desired doneness.

To Serve:  Serve the tuna with the green herb sauce.

Note:  This sauce is good with most any grilled seafood, shellfish, poultry, or meat.

Pork Chops With Caper Sauce


Pork Chops With Caper Sauce

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 4

4 lean center-cut pork chops, 1 1/4 inches thick
kosher salt an freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

To Prepare:  Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. In a skillet large enough to hold the chops in one layer, heat the olive oil over medium-high flame. Add the chops and cook till lightly browned, about 7 minutes, then turn and cook the other side. Remove chops, set aside and keep warm. Pour off the excess fat from the skillet.

Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until wilted. Add the vinegar and reduce by half. Add the chicken broth, capers, mustard, tomato paste, and rosemary. Cook and reduce by half.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add any juices that may have accumulated around the pork chops. Swirl the butter with the sauce and adjust salt and pepper according to taste.

To Serve: Spoon the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with parsley.

Pork Lion Roasted With Garlic, Rosemary And Fennel


Pork Lion Roasted With Garlic, Rosemary And Fennel

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

Serves 8-10

12 large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly-ground black pepper
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds center cut pork loin, boned with a little fat left on the loin, reserve the rib rack


To Prepare: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the garlic, rosemary, and fennel together on a cutting board, remove to a bowl and combine with the salt and ground pepper.

In a separate bowl, toss the potatoes with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 table spoons of the herb mixture.

Place the loin on a cutting board and butterfly open. Rub 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture over the inside surface. Fold the loin over the herb mixture length wise and tie every 2 inches with butcher string. Make a few punctures in the outside of the loin with a small knife, about 1/2 inch deep, and stuff the holes with a little of the herb mixture.

Rub the remaining herb mixture over the outside of the loin and rib rack. Place the loin in a roasting pan and cover the loin with the rib rack. Roast about 30 minutes. Remove the loin from the oven and set the rib rack to the side of the loin, curved side up.

Add the potatoes to the pan, return to the oven and continue roasting for another 30 minutes, then increase heat to 450 degrees and roast for another 10 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Remove the strings and slice loin and cut the rack into ribs.

To Serve:  Arrange individual plates with 3 slices of loin, 2 ribs and some potatoes. Pour the roasting juices over the loin and serve.