Carino's Italian is a United States-based chain of Italian food casual dining restaurants. It has more than 170 restaurants with branches in about 30 states. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the concept is owned by Fired Up, Inc., which was founded in 1997 by partners and former Brinker International executives Norman Abdallah and Creed Ford. Prior to 2006, restaurants were called Johnny Carino's Country Italian, Johnny Carino's Italian then changed to Carino's Italian Grill.

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Meatballs a la Pizzaiola



MEATBALLS a la PIZZAIOLA
Italian Restaurant Recipe

Makes 35-38 meatballs

8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
2 large shallots, chopped
1/4 cup (5-6) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80% lean)
1 pound ground pork
olive oil, for frying
vegetable oil, for frying
marinara sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dice the smoked mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until blended. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the beef and pork and, using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until combined. Form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Insert 1 cube smoked mozzarella into the center of each meatball and form the meat around it, enclosing the cheese.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, pour equal parts olive oil and vegetable oil to fill the pan halfway. Heat over medium high heat until a deep fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees. In batches, fry the meatballs until dark brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Place the fried meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet. Put in the oven and bake until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then serve immediately with marinara sauce, if desired.

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