Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#Carrabba's helped my find my Pasta Personality...

When we first moved back to Omaha, we discovered what was a new place to us-Carrabba's Italian Grill. It was awesome! I loved it and in fact, last year for my 9th Anniversary my husband and I ordered Carraba's to go at my request for dinner! (As a side note, yesterday was my 10th anniversary-it has been far too long since I ate there.)

Well, Carraba's has a fun Pasta Personality Quiz on Facebook right now that I could hardly wait to try it out! Any guesses as to what my pasta personality is?! Here was my result...

I am Penne Franco...I love how my pasta personality is "One of a Kind"! Love that! Plus the Penne Franco looks and sounds to good it is making me drool just a little bit! Want to have some fun with Carraba's and find out your Pasta Personality as well? Go to the Carraba's Facebook page, like them, then take the Carraba's Pasta Personality Quiz.

I honestly LOVE pasta and this meal looks fantastic and it got me thinking about my favorite pastas. As many of you know, I am Greek. So, my ultimate favorite pasta is a Greek recipe for Pastichio which we sometimes call "Greek Lasagna". I have been eating this since I was a little girl and it is the BEST! Seriously, It is SOOO good! It is a Greek family recipe, and my mom and XiaXia (grandma in Greek) are totally cool with my sharing the recipe with all of you lucky readers!! Check it out (this makes a big huge pan of this and you will have leftovers...feel free to make a half batch!! Oh and consider this fair warning that it is a decadent yummy food, but it is far from low cal...):

Pastichio (This is broken up into 2 parts-the base and the cream sauce-they bake together in the oven in the end)

Base Mixture
1-1.5 lb Ziti or Pasta Penne
2.5-3 lb Ground Beef
2 large chopped onions
Olive Oil
1 small can tomato paste
1 lb grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
4 Eggs
1/2 C butter
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 cinnamon stick
dash nutmeg
salt & Pepper
butter to grease pan

Brown onions in a little olive oil, add the ground beef and brown. Drain the grease well. TO this, add tomato paste, cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes covered until you have a thick sauce-add a little water if necessary-let cool. Remove cinnamon stick, then add 2 well-beaten eggs and mix well (make sure mix is cool before adding eggs or they will cook). Then cook for about 5 more minutes.

Boil pasta as directed on package and drain well. Beat 2 eggs in a large pot or bowl and add the pasta to them. Grease the sides and bottom of a large (DEEP) roasting pan (you can use the large foil disposable pans from the store if you do not have a big roasting pan). Cover the bottom of the pan with half the pasts/egg mixture. Sprinkle well with the grated cheese. Next add the meat mixture and pack down well. Add the rest of the pasta mixture, and again generously add a layer of the grated cheese. Melt 1/2 C butter and drizzle over mix in pan. Move on to Cream sauce...

Cream Sauce
3 C Milk
3 C Half and Half
1/2 C butter
3 heaping T flour
6 beaten Eggs
salt to taste

Step 1-Warm and heat in a large double boiler: Half the milk, half the Half and Half, all butter, and salt to taste.

Step 2-Mix remaining milk and half and half with flour. Stir until smooth. Add 6 beaten eggs and mix completely. Add this mixture very slowly to the step 1 mixture on the stove. You add slowly and stir constantly because you do not want the eggs to cook separately from the mix. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick (this could be a while).

Pour thickened mixture immediately over the pasta meat mixture in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the top lightly with the remaining cheese, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes (check it in 20 minutes and if it is getting too brown turn down to 350 degrees).

This is a pretty extensive recipe as you can see and it is high calorie, but it is SOOOOO good!

If you don't want to go through the trouble of making my favorite though, you could just head over to Carrabba's Italian Grill where they have the Carrabba’s Signature Pasta Meals and New Limited Time Offers:

Signature Pasta Meals, featuring seven distinctive dishes served with choice of soup or fresh salad starting at $10. There’s no better place than Carrabba’s to enjoy a complete Italian meal – any day of the week.

CARRABBA’S PASTA: Carrabba’s makes every pasta dish by hand with the freshest ingredients. Pasta is cooked perfectly every time and signature sauces are made from scratch daily. Creative flavors and combinations of ingredients are part of Carrabba’s authentic family recipes as well as new creations.

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Now through July 2011.
Featured Signature Pasta Meal:
Pasto Rambo – Named for the chef who created it, it’s made with shrimp tossed with imported Italian linguine, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes sautéed in our basil lemon butter sauce. Lobster is available instead of shrimp for an additional cost.

Other Limited Time Offers:
Parmesan-crusted Chicken – Topped with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes tossed in a hand-prepared lemon vinaigrette, served with choice of side. Substitution of wood-grilled chicken also available. Pairs well with Estancia Pinot Grigio.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin – Three pork tenderloin medallions wrapped with prosciutto, wood-grilled and topped with an apple and fig infused port wine sauce, served with the vegetable of the day. Pairs well with Coppola Pinot Noir.

Limoncello Bread Pudding – Back by popular demand! Brioche bread pudding made with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans and a rich custard, served hot out of the oven. Topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and drizzled with Carrabba’s homemade Caravella Limoncello liqueur sauce.

Now Introducing:
Peach Sangria – Carrabba’s new light and fruity Peach Sangria blends Copper Ridge White Zinfandel, Absolut Apeach vodka and Patrón Citrónge with a splash of citrus. Topped with a fresh lemon wedge and strawberry, it’s a taste of the Amalfi Coast in spring.

Locations: Visit for the closest Carrabba’s location. There are more than 230 locations nationwide.

About Carrabba’s:
Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola founded the first Carrabba’s Italian Grill in 1986 in Houston, Texas. Today, there are 232 Carrabba’s Italian Grill locations around the country, run by passionate local proprietors focused on delighting guests with fresh, made-to-order Italian cuisine and the ultimate dining experience. Carrabba’s serves dinner seven nights a week in a casual environment that pairs innovative dishes and a complementary wine list with abundant hospitality. For on-the-go guests, Carrabba’s also offers convenient Carside Carry-Out. To learn more about Carrabba’s, please visit .

So, have a little fun and go take the quiz to see how your personality compares to some of Carrabba’s signature pasta dishes!

After you take the quiz, let me know what your Pasta personality is, and tell me about one of your family favorite pasta recipes!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.