01/01/08 Chocolate and Hazelnut Panforte from

" meglio un uovo oggi di una gallina domani." (An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Zuppa di Pollo
  -Penne con Salsiccia e Pomodoro
  -Panforte al Cioccolato e Nocciola

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In".


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Zuppa di Pollo

Zuppa di Pollo
Chicken Soup


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
6 cups homemade chicken broth
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 9-ounce package fresh cheese ravioli
1 and 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
Grated Parmigiano cheese


Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and saute until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Add broth. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil.

Add ravioli and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve, offering cheese separately. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Penne con Salsiccia e Pomodoro

Penne con Salsiccia e Pomodoro
Penne with Sausage and Tomatoes


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 Italian hot sausages, casings removed
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crumbled
8 ounces Penne pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese


Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with fork, about 6 minutes.

Stir in pepper flakes. Add wine and boil until absorbed.

Mix in crushed tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.

Stir 2 tablespoons marjoram into sauce.

Cook penne in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Return penne to pot.

Add half of sauce and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve, passing Parmigiano cheese separately. Serves 2.

That's it!

 Recipe: Panforte al Cioccolato e Nocciola

Panforte al Cioccolato e Nocciola
Chocolate and Hazelnut Panforte


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/2 cups hazelnuts (about 7 and 1/2 ounces)
1 cup whole unblanched almonds (about 5 ounces)
1 and 1/2 cups lightly packed chopped dried figs (about 9 ounces)
1 and 1/2 cups lightly packed chopped dried apricots (about 9 ounces)
1 cup diced candied citron (about 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
3/4 cup unblanched all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 scant teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, melted
Additional unsweetened cocoa powder


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 F.

Brush two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with melted butter. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Brush parchment generously with butter. Reserving remaining butter.

Place hazelnuts on small cookie sheet; place almonds on another small cookie sheet. Toast in oven until nuts are brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes for almonds and 14 minutes for hazelnuts. Cool.

Gather hazelnuts in dish towels. Rub in towel to remove husks. Transfer hazelnuts and almonds to large bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.

Add figs, apricots, citron, orange and lemon peels to nuts in large bowl.

Combine flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder and spices in small bowl. Add to nuts.

Combine sugar, honey and remaining melted butter in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture is smooth and sugar is mostly dissolved, about 5 minutes. Bring to boil.

Continue cooking until candy thermometer registers 248 F. (firm-ball stage). Immediately pour over mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Divide batter between prepared pans, using back of buttered spoon to spread evenly. Bake until tops and edges just begin to brown and tops feel dry, about 1 and 1/4 hours. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Run small sharp knife around edges of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto work surface; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.

Arrange cakes top sides up on 8-inch cardboard rounds.

Spread half of chocolate over each. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.

Brush tops of cakes with cocoa powder.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap decoratively with colored cellophane. Tie ribbon with gift tag around cellophane to secure. (Panforte can be prepared up to 1 month ahead. Store at cool room temperature.) Makes 2.

That's it!

Submit Your Thoughts


 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure:

No, The Mass Must Go On

Vatican City - January 24, 2008 - Not even the death of a worshipper was enough to stop Mass in a small church in the northern Italian town of Trento.

Pio Lieta, 86, suffered a fatal heart attack during an early-morning service at the Church of the White Madonna last Sunday.

An ambulance was called, and Mr Lieta, whose name means "pious" in Italian, was pronounced dead at the scene.

However, instead of halting the Mass, Father Mario Peron asked for the body to be covered with a white cloth and left Mr Lieta in the nave of the church while he finished the service.

It is against Italian law to move a body without the authorization of a local magistrate.

"What could I have done?" said Fr Peron afterwards. "The Holy Mass has to be celebrated. It is not right to make an exception for one individual. Only people who do not understand the point of Mass would not understand the logic of my decision. We could not stop. We were united together in church and we prayed for him."

Only a handful of parishioners were present for the early-morning service, and some expressed their surprise at the priest's decision to reporters. "We should have stopped as a sign of respect," said one unnamed worshipper.

Mr Lieta's funeral took place at the same church today, and his family said they were not upset by what had happened.

Father Angelo Lieta, his son and a missionary in Chile, said: "My father would have agreed with the continuation of the Mass. I am only sorry I could not have been there myself."

We're all here, no matter what we are; we're all searching for the truth and trying to make it through this incredibly compassionate world.

Well, everyone except Father Peron. He claims to know the truth.

Believe me, I soul searched...
The parishioners present at the service soul searched...
You're probably soul searching at this very moment...

What's the conclusion?

If we knew all the answers to Father Peron's questions we'd win $64,000.

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