01/03/12 Shells with Sausage and Tomato Ragu

"La virtu premio a se stessa." (Virtue is its own reward.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Calamari Salad
  -Shells with Sausage and Tomato Ragu
  -Pork Loin with Marsala Wine

"Ciao Ciao!" How is your New Year coming along? Here's a quick note of thanks for being a part of our growing Italian kitchen community. We're over 9,600 members now. Remember, you started it. Hope you have a great evening. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Dolce per La Festa

"Dolce per La Festa: This gift of great Sicilian taste is sure to please. Our cookie tray is filled with a scrumptious assortment of our best selling Italian and Sicilian cookies arranged on a golden cookie tray (Santo Trio Almond, Sicilian Orange Almond, Pistachio, Amarena, Buccellati and Sesame Seed Cookies). No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 9-13.

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 Recipe: Calamari Salad

Calamari Salad
Calamari in Insalata


1 and 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
2 pounds small calamari (squid), cleaned
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 and 1/2 cups diced, tender white celery stalks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
Salt to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice


Prepare vegetable broth.

Strain it and set aside until ready to use.

When you are ready to poach calamari, bring vegetable broth back to a full boil.

Add calamari, turn heat off and let them sit in the hot broth about 2 minutes.

Drain calamari and place in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.

Drain again, pat dry with paper towels.

Cut sacs into 1/2-inch rings, and tentacles in half lengthwise.

Rub garlic all around inside of a salad bowl and add calamari.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Remove calamari from refrigerator.

Add celery and parsley, season with salt and toss with olive oil and lemon juice.

Leave salad at room temperature for about 30 minutes, taste, adjust seasonings and serve. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Shells with Sausage and Tomato Ragu

Shells with Sausage and Tomato Ragu
Conchigli con Ragu di Salsiccia e Pomodoro


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white part only, rinsed and finely minced
1 large carrot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
1/4 pound sliced pancetta, page 4, diced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
4 cups Italian tomatoes with juice, put through a strainer or a food mill to remove seeds
1 cup chicken broth
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 pound pasta shells or Penne
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Melt butter with olive oil in a medium saucepan.

Add leek and carrot.

Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly golden and soft.

Add the garlic and stir once or twice.

Remove the casing from the sausage and finely chop meat.

Increase heat and add sausage and pancetta to the saucepan.

Cook, stirring, until the sausage and pancetta are lightly colored.

Add the wine.

Cook until the wine is almost all reduced.

Add the tomatoes and broth.

Season with salt.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, then stir in parsley.

Fill a very large saucepan two-thirds full with salted water.

Bring water to a boil.

Add the shells.

Bring water back to a boil and cook shells uncovered 7 to 10 minutes until 'al dente'.

Drain shells and place in a warm deep dish or bowl.

Add sauce and toss gently.

Serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pork Loin with Marsala Wine

Pork Loin with Marsala Wine
Arrosto di Maiale al Marsala


One (2 and 1/2 to 3-pound) boneless pork loin roast
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine or sherry
1/3 cup whipping cream


Rub pork with rosemary and garlic.

Melt butter with olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium heat.

When butter foams, add pork.

Brown meat on all sides.

Add salt and pepper.

Add 3/4 cup of the white wine.

Deglaze casserole by stirring to dissolve meat juices attached to bottom of casserole.

Partially cover casserole and reduce heat.

Cook pork 2 hours or until tender; baste pork several times during cooking. If sauce looks too dry, add remaining wine.

Place pork on a cutting board.

Remove as much fat as possible from pan juices.

Add Marsala or sherry and cream to pan juices.

Stir over high heat until sauce has a medium-thick consistency.

Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Slice pork and arrange on a warm platter.

Spoon sauce over pork.

Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & 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:

Italy School Plastered With Official Northern League Symbols

Rome - September 14, 2010 - A Northern League mayor's decision to plaster a school near Brescia with his regionalist party's symbol has raised a political storm in Italy.

Oscar Lancini, the mayor of Adro near Brescia, justified putting the party's green Sole delle Alpi (Sun of the Alps) on the town school's windows, desks, wastepaper baskets and doormats by saying the symbol is also linked to the area's Celtic heritage. But the move has been criticized by parents' groups, opposition parties and the local branch of the CGIL trade union is planning legal action to remove the symbols of a party that frequently takes extreme positions on immigration issues.

"Branding a public school with an image loaded with such significance risks depriving it of its value as part of the nation," CGIL, Italy's biggest union, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Italian Parent's Movement (Moige) expressed "dismay" and even members of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party, which is allied with the League in the central government, said Lancini had gone too far.

"The mayor of Adro would be wise to have all the symbols of his party removed from the public school at the town's expense, not the central government's," said PDL MP Osvaldo Napoli.

Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini has also come under fire for not being more forthright in condemning Lancini's actions.

She said she was "always of the idea that political polemics should be kept outside school" but described the move as "folkloristic" and called on the mayor's critics to be equally vocal when left-wing symbols enter the classroom.

"The mayor of Adro's act has the complicity of minister Gelmini and therefore of the whole government," said Giampiero De Toni, a Senator with the center-left Italy of Values (IDV) opposition party.

"This is dangerous because it throws the independence of the school into doubt.

"Party symbols should stay outside schools. It's a clear attempt to identify the state with a political party, what's more a xenophobic, separatist one. We thought such attempts had been buried with the end of Fascism".

A member of the opposition Radical party said Gelmini should send ministry inspectors to the school.

It's Mr. Oscar Lancini’s Neighborhood: "It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Everybody’s from the north! There are no Sicilians, Calabrese or Napolitani."

First lesson of the school year: "Students, remember one thing; just because someone is different than you is no reason to be nice to them. Can you say, outcasts? Si, you can."

We could just imagine the difference between this pristine school and one of our typical Sicilian public schools: Large multimedia screens, free WiFi, iPads for the students, and pretty teachers compared to Pentium 1 computers riddled with viruses, color printers that print only in black, 56K dial-up with no internet connection, our cousin, Ignazio, teaching Greek Latin...and no running water.

"Minchia", what fun could it possibly be to attend this school? And why do I have to be badgered into signing up for the "Northern League" political party before I can sign up for the archery team? What could the punishment be? Staying after school to clean up the cafeteria?

Fascism, xenophobia, immigrant issues..."porca vacca", who cares? I can't spell xenophobia let alone know what it is! I'm dealing with zits, out-of-control hormones, peer pressure, and trying to get laid!

"Vaffanculo", who needs the aggravation. I want to go home, smoke pot, and daydream.

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