01/04/11 Chicken Cacciatora

"Finchč c'č vita c'č speranza." (Where there's life, there's hope. ) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Braised Chestnuts
  -Rigatoni with Mushroom Ragų
  -Chicken Cacciatora

My bakery family and I are grateful for your participation with us via this newsletter. Thanks for everything you're doing and for your understanding. I will continue to find ways to be helpful. Please share this newsletter, if you found it useful. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e grazie!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Buccellati

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 Recipe: Braised Chestnuts

Braised Chestnuts
Castagne Brasati


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Chestnuts:
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) cultivated chestnuts, peeled
3/4 oz (20 grams) butter
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 celery stalk
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Chestnuts:
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7.

Melt the butter in a small, flameproof casserole.

Add the chestnuts and cook for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the meat stock.

Add the bay leaf, thyme and celery.

Cover and cook in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, gently shaking the casserole occasionally. Do not stir as this can break up the chestnuts.

Season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish with poultry dishes or roast meat. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Rigatoni with Mushroom Ragų

Rigatoni with Mushroom Ragų
Rigatoni con Ragų di Funghi


2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb sliced white mushrooms (8 cups)
2 (1-inch long) fresh rosemary sprigs
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
One (28-oz) can whole plum tomatoes in juice
1 lb rigatoni
1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (1/2 cup), plus additional for serving
Special equipment: a food mill fitted with coarse disk (optional)


Cook garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil in a wide 4 to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 1 minute.

Add mushrooms, rosemary, sugar, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 4 to 6 minutes (liquid will not have evaporated).

Force tomatoes with their juice through food mill (if using), adding to mushrooms in pot.

Stir sauce and bring to a boil, then boil, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Discard rosemary.

While sauce is boiling, cook pasta in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente', then drain in a colander.

Add pasta to sauce along with cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil, then toss over moderate heat until well coated, about 1 minute.

Serve immediately with additional cheese. Makes 4 main-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken Cacciatora

Chicken Cacciatora
Pollo alla Cacciatora


1 and 1/2 lbs plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (scant 4 cups)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms
1 very large red onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

One 4 and 1/2 to 4 and 3/4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, excess fat trimmed
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 cup dry red wine
One 14 and 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil, divided
2 tablespoons drained capers, divided

12 ounces Gemelli or Penne, freshly cooked


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine plum tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion in large bowl.

Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar; toss to blend.

Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Spread vegetable mixture in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet.

Roast until onion slices are golden brown and all vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, about 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon rosemary.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and saute until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side.

Transfer chicken to bowl.

Add wine to skillet and boil until wine is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 1 minute.

Stir in canned tomatoes with juice, then broth and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Return chicken to sauce in skillet.

Place skillet in oven and roast uncovered until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven.

Stir in roasted vegetables, remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, half of basil, and half of capers.

Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are heated through.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place pasta in large shallow bowl.

Top with chicken and sauce.

Sprinkle remaining basil and capers over. 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:

Rome Gang Sells Police Headquarters

Rome - September 22, 2010 - A Rome crime gang swindled a man out of thousands of euros by convincing him he was buying the building of the city's police headquarters before the fraud, loan-sharking, money-laundering and extortion ring was busted.

Over 200 police officers broke up the ring with a series of arrests in the early hours of Wednesday.

Investigators said the gang convinced their victims they had contacts at Rome courts handling the auctions of foreclosed properties to defraud them with fake real-estate deals. A lawyer and an accountant have been arrested for allegedly conniving in this.

The gang managed to trick a 50,000-euro deposit out of one person with the bogus sale of the police HQ. They also conned other victims into thinking they had bought the old homes of former AS Roma defender and Brazil captain Cafu and of former Lazio chairman Sergio Cragnotti.

Investigators added that even a number of police officers had fallen prey to the loan-sharking side of the operation, and the victims' shame at their plight had made it harder to dismantle the ring.

They said former members of the notoriously ferocious Banda della Magliana Roman gang of the 1970s and 80s were involved. Victims were beaten and threatened with firearms to make them to pay extortionate interest rates on loans, police said after an operation code-named 'The Game Is Up'.

"The fact that the Banda della Magliana still manages to have an influence on our city must make us reflect," said Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.

"It's remarkable that even today members of the gang manage to have a role in criminal organizations".

Police said figures from Naples crime gangs may have had a role too.

"Mamma mia, che figura di merda!" They deserve to be bilked. Maybe they'll be less stupid.

We say the gang who perpetrated this scam deserve a medal not jail time. They deserve a medal for locating stupid people. They're doing us a favor. Now, we can identify all of them, flush them out and make sure they don't breed again.

Century 21 della minchia:

Gang member: "Ah, this building belongs to my family for generations. I rent the building to the city's police for an extraordinary amount of money.
Roman Sucker: "Ah, si?"

Gang member: "Si si! And I even collect a percentage of the drug money that is sequestered from raids."
Roman Sucker: "Porca vacca, no!"
Gang Member: "Porca vacca, si!"

Roman sucker: "Quanto vuoi, how much?!"
Gang member: "I'll give it to you for 75,000 Euros, police included."
Roman sucker: "Minchia, I'll take it! Stop by my office on Monday and I'll have my lawyers draw up the papers."

Gang member: "Eh, eh, eh, aspetta! I'll need a cash deposit of two-thirds immediately. After all, I have other people coming today to look at it.
Roman sucker: "Two-thirds?! Hey, something is not right about this."
Gang member: "Eh? Don't trust me? The police is in my building. Call them..."

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