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.
Carrabba's Copycat Recipe
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4-inch thick, then cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (35 oz.) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
pinch of sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper (go easy on the salt as the cheese is too salty)
1/4 cup Romano cheese**
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sauté the diced pancetta with the garlic and crushed red pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the sugar and, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Add the cheese now.
**Important add Romano cheese 1/4 at the end of the cooking period