Editor’s note: We seek recipes from Triangle restaurants requested by readers.
My husband and I have been enjoying dinners at Casa Carbone for 20-plus years and would love to have their marinara sauce and meatball recipes. Thank you.
Tammy Calvello, Raleigh
Every dish at Casa Carbone – from the meatballs to the freshly made marinara sauce – is seasoned with family and tradition. Here, the menu preserves Jean and John Carbone’s vision for the former Villa Capri restaurant.
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“Everything on that menu sells. Otherwise, it would have been taken off,” said Maria House, Casa Carbone co-owner. “My father’s family is from outside of Naples, and my mother’s from Palermo, Sicily, so we have very, very traditional Southern Italian recipes.”
The Carbones first opened the Brooklyn Spaghetti House in Jacksonville before moving to Raleigh and founding Villa Capri in 1958. House and her siblings grew up at Villa Capri, which moved to Ridgewood Shopping Center in 1967.
That’s where she met her husband and co-owner Michael House, who started as a busboy before moving to the kitchen.
After high school, the couple earned bachelor’s degrees from N.C. State University – Maria in psychology and Michael in business and accounting. They got jobs and married, never intending to work in the restaurant.
All that changed in 1984. Michael and Maria took over the restaurant, moving it to Oak Park Shopping Center on Glenwood Avenue. They renamed it Casa Carbone – a play on his last name and her Carbone family heritage.
Family is still the heart of Casa Carbone, Maria House said. She makes the desserts and special menus; Michael manages the business. Their three children and many relatives have worked there over the years, and even Jean Carbone, now 91, checks in sometimes to see how it’s going.
“We are now serving the grandchildren of our original customers,” House said. “They are now bringing their children in, and it’s wonderful to see the different generations. It’s a fabulous legacy. My father and mother really did impart a love of the business and a love of family.”
The recipe for Casa Carbone’s marinara sauce first appeared as a Specialty of the House in October 2010. The owners share that again, along with the matching meatballs.
Send recipe requests, including your name and city, to Specialty of the House, The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Specialty” in the subject line.
Casa Carbone, 6019-A Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, Oak Park Shopping Center). 919-781-8750. casacarbone.com
Casa Carbone’s Meatballs & Marinara sauce
The recipe for Casa Carbone’s marinara sauce first appeared as a Specialty of the House in October 2010. The owners share the sauce recipe again, along with the meatballs to go with it.
2 pounds of ground chuck
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 small onion, grated
1 heaping teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/3 cup marinara sauce (see below)
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with olive oil.
Hand mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Do not over mix. Roll into 2-inch balls and place in the baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
64 ounces canned Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoon sea salt (or less, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 large leaves fresh basil, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Pinch of chopped fresh oregano (optional)
Strain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid separately. Remove and discard seeds. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until chopped to a medium-coarse texture. Work in batches if necessary.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly brown, about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and about half of the tomato liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Stir in pepper, basil, parsley and, if desired, oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes more. Do not overcook.
Yield: About 4 cups of sauce, enough for 1 pound of pasta, or 4-6 servings