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.



Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake

Carrabba's Restaurant Recipe

1 Rich Pie Crust   (see page 169)
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons spiced rum
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare the crust and chill for one hour.

Right before you mix the filling, roll out the chilled dough and line a buttered, 2 inch deep spring form cake pan. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the cake pan and 3/4 of the way up the sides. Return to the refrigerator until you are ready to fill the shell.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Soak the raisins in the rum for at least a half an hour. Drain the liquor and reserve. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler gently. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the ricotta cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and flour and continue to mix until creamy. Then add the egg yolks, whipped cream, sour cream, vanilla, orange zest and reserved rum. Mix until well incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and the drained raisins. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites at a time, into the cheese mixture, being careful not to overmix the filling. Pour the filling into the crust shell and smooth out the top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cake cool inside the oven with the door ajar for another 30 minutes. Continue to let the cake cool well before cutting. Refrigerate after cooling.

To serve, dip a slender knife first into hot water before cutting. Place the slices on individual serving plates.

Rich Pie Crust:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the cold butter and pulse five to six times, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, mix the egg, yolk, zest and vanilla. Add this to the food processor while it is running. Stop mixing once the ingredients are incorporated. It is important not to overmix, as the dough will be less tender.

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead until it is no longer sticky. Cut the dough into two equal chunks, and pat them into floured rounds. Makes 2 (10 inch) pie crusts.

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