Cavatappi Amatriciana | A Carrabba's Recipe Redo

by Melissa on April 25, 2011

Carrabba’s is one of our favorite guilty pleasures. It was introduced to me by my in-laws. We seem to default to a Carrabba’s dinner about 50% of the time when the Crane family gets together for an evening out.

Now, the infamous Cavatappi Amatriciana dish has somehow made its way into being an integral part of my relationship with Paul (the husband). We always make it at home during special occasions. It’s such an easy and tasty pasta dish that pairs just as well with vegetables as it does with a chicken or fish entree.

As I was looking through my blog recipe archives, I found my post on Cavatappi Amatriciana from Feb 2010. I decided that the photo of Cavatappi Amatriciana on that post just wasn’t going to cut it, since it really doesn’t do that dish justice. So, a redo was in order. I went off to the grocery store, came home and started cooking away.

Note: the actual Carrabba’s recipe includes bacon or pancetta (an Italian cured bacon), but since I don’t eat red meat I left that part out. As a substitute, you could use a soy version of bacon that you can find at the grocery store or cook up some eggplant “bacon” to add to the dish.

Ingredients (serves 2):
– 2 cups dry cavatappi pasta
– 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
– 1 clove minced garlic
– 1/3 cup dry white wine
– 1 7oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
– 1/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese
– optional: fresh basil to garnish

Let’s Cook!
1. Cook cavatappi pasta according to package
2. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Cook onion and garlic for about 3 minutes, until onion starts looking slightly transparent.
3. Add white wine to the onion and garlic mixture. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the wine is cooked off.
4. Add diced tomatoes to the saute pan and cook for another 3 minutes so that the mixture isn’t too runny.
5. Add cooked pasta to the saute pan and toss with the onion/tomato sauce.
6. Add romano cheese to the pasta and mix well.
7. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
8. Serve and enjoy!

It’s really amazing how much I’ve grown as a food photographer over the past year. Here’s a comparison of last year’s photo:

And this year’s photo:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

April 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm

agreed! much MUCH better!


April 27, 2011 at 1:22 am

Both versions look delicious to me, but you have definitely improved. I love this dish at Carrabbas, but I didn’t know it had wine in it :( . Darn! Anyway, it’s so funny you wrote about this restaurant today, because I ate there today!! I ordered the Pasta Carrabba. Sooo good.


Melissa Crane
April 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Thanks Memoria! It is a delish dish at Carrabba’s, maybe you can substitute something in the place of wine if you make the dish at home.


Katie from Katie’s Cucina
May 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

LOVE Cavatappi Amatriciana from Carrabbas! I’ve made a similar recipe and like you I’d like to redo the photo and reblog about it again! :)


Melissa Crane
May 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Katie – You should! It’s really interesting (and motivating!) to see how much you improve at photography over time.


The Queen
February 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I think the dish will be much improved without the bacon (sorry bacon lovers), even though I love saying the word ‘lardon’. I’ve just always liked the way it rolls around in the mouth. Try it. Lardons of bacon. Feels cool, huh. Anyway, thanks for the recipe! Will have to try it soon cz I love this dish. I’m not vehemently anti-meat, just prefer things without. Tummy likes them better that way. Hubby likes them better with, but doesn’t know the diff If I don’t discuss it. He doesn’t cook. Shame, that. Cook’s choice, cook’s rules. My kitchen, my kingdom, my rules. You cook, you get to rule. Lovely new photo, by the way.


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