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.
Makes 8 Crostinis
1 small red onion, cut into very thin half-moons
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped kalamata olives
4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded Italian, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 wide slices of any crusty rustic bread
8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in halves
extra-virgin olive oil
8 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn into dime-sized pieces
To make the topping, soak the onion in a small bowl with cold water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain well and pat dry. Whisk the vinegar and oregano in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, drained onion, olives, and 1/4 cup of the Italian cheese and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours for the flavors to blend. Just before serving, preheat an outdoor grill or broiler on high. Toast the bread, turning once until golden, about 3 minutes. Rub each toasted bread slice with a garlic half. (You don’t have to use all of the garlic.) Place the bread on a serving platter. Drizzle olive oil over the toasts. Heap equal amounts of the tomato topping, with some of its juices, over each bruschetta. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of ricotta salata and the basil leaves. Serve at once.