01/08/13 Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce

"Chi trova un amico, trova un tesoro." (Whoever finds a friend finds a treasure.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tuna Omelet
  -Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce
  -Angel-Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

"Buona sera" Everyone here at our little bakery is thankful for the experience you're giving us with helping out in your kitchen. We'll always be on that journey to find you more and more great traditional and modern Italian recipes. Please share this newsletter if you feel like it. Until the next time!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Tuna Omelet

Tuna Omelet
Frittata Al Tonno


1 oz (25 grams) butter
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) canned tuna in oil, drained and flaked
6 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Melt the butter in a frying pan over a very low heat.

Add the spring onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes until translucent.

Stir in the tuna.

Lightly beat the eggs.

Stir in the parsley and a pinch of salt.

Pour the mixture over the tuna.

Cook until the omelet is browned on both sides.

Serve warm. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce
Torta di Polenta con Formaggio e Salsa di Pomodoro


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
One (16 to 18-oz) ready-made plain polenta roll (plastic-wrapped)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
One (25 oz) jar chunky tomato sauce
1/4 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450F.

Oil a 9-inch pie plate or a 4-cup gratin dish with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Cut polenta roll crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices

Line pie plate with half of slices, overlapping slices slightly to completely cover bottom of pie plate.

Stir 1 tablespoon basil into 1 and 1/2 cups pasta sauce and spread over polenta.

Sprinkle with half of mozzarella.

Top with remaining half of polenta slices.

Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and remaining half of mozzarella.

Bake until bubbling and golden, about 20 minutes.

While pie bakes, heat remaining pasta sauce, basil, and olive oil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Let pie stand 5 minutes to firm up and cool.

Serve with extra sauce on the side. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Angel-Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Angel-Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Capellini con Salsa di Pomodoro Fresco


1 small garlic clove
3 lb tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb dried Capellini pasta (angel-hair pasta)


Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife.

Core and coarsely chop two thirds of tomatoes.

Halve remaining tomatoes crosswise.

Rub cut sides of tomatoes against large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding skin.

Toss pulp with chopped tomatoes, garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, sugar (optional), and pepper.

Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.

While tomatoes stand, cook pasta in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until 'al dente', about 2 minutes.

Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing to combine.

Sprinkle with basil. Makes 6 first-course 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:

Once Again, Italy Promises To Repair Its Unrepairable Justice System

Rome - May 14, 2012 - Her family name means "little severe one", and Paola Severino means to live up to it in her crusade against judicial inefficiency which is helping to gag Italy's chronically weak economy.

Seemingly endless legal delays such as in settling commercial disputes are estimated to cost up to one percentage point in Italian GDP growth and the justice minister wants to tell hesitant investors that she is serious about solving the problem.

"There is much to be done and we will forge ahead," Severino, the first woman to hold the justice portfolio, told reporters in an interview.

Severino is already setting up specialist business tribunals and wants to crack down on the huge number of appeals which are clogging up the legal system.

With this message she is heading to the United States as part of an international "road show" to convince foreign companies considering investing in Italy that the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti will speed up the snail-paced system of civil justice.

This week 63-year-old Severino, who was a top lawyer and legal scholar before Monti recruited her for his technocrat government, takes her pitch that Italy can be trusted to the United Nations and to investors at the New York Stock Exchange.

"If a company has certainty about how laws will be interpreted by judges and if it can count on shorter times for court will invest more and launch more long-term projects, helping the economy," she said.

Studies by the World Bank show that it takes 1,210 days (more than three years) to recover a claim in Italy compared with 394 days in Germany. The average costs paid by businesses in Italy usually amount to about 30 percent of the value of the dispute, compared with 17 percent in France.

In 2010 the European Court of Human rights ruled against Italy 53 times for violating the European Convention's article protecting the right to a fair trial, and 44 of the those condemnations were for the excessive length of proceedings.

Severino believes Italy's entire legal culture needs to change. "Italians today go into litigation too much and it lasts too long," she said in the interview.

Italy is the fourth most litigious of 38 European countries, with 4,768 disputes per 100,000 inhabitants. About 2.8 million new cases were brought last year alone.

"We want to convince people that it is useful to have short trials, quick settlements and immediate results," she said, pointing to studies that show than an efficient justice system is closely related to a country's overall economic performance.

Italy has a backlog of 5.5 million civil cases, which Severino says will have to be tackled by "an enormous shovel".

A simple dispute among neighbors about who is responsible for the maintenance of a dividing wall, for example, can take years to settle. The average time to settle a civil case is more than seven years and a criminal case nearly five.

Severino said the Italian justice system needs "a filter" to cut the number of cases allowed to move on to the appeals level after the court of first instance.

"The whole process is slowed up at the appeals level, it is an enormous bottleneck," she said. "We have to get to the point where some cases are not permitted to enter the appeals process in the first place," she said.

Another deterrent to foreign investment in Italy is organized crime, especially in the south, home to groups such as the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, and the Neapolitan Camorra.

Severino said a growing number of companies in the south are now refusing to pay protection money to organized crime and government programs that have confiscated properties from mob groups have greatly weakened their influence.

"If you asked people in Sicily 50 years ago if the Mafia existed, most people would have said no out of fear. Today Sicilians would say yes, and it is something we have to rid ourselves of," she said.

But she acknowledged with a easy laugh that changing Italy's legal system will not come quickly. "I am no miracle worker," she said.

Hmmm...That's something. It's not everyday you see the justice minister of a country go on a "road show" and try to put on a convincing performance. "Cavolo", the real performance will be watching foreign investors and the United Nations try to keep a straight face.

Minister Severino: "There is much to be done and we will forge ahead."

"Now, all of you. Stop drooling and listen...."

- Italy has 9 million trials pending (5.5 million civil cases, 3.4 million penal cases) and 420,000 lawyers: "We honestly don't know how this all started and got out of hand. The chicken or the egg. The trial or the lawyer. We don't know what came first! Regardless, we're going to reprogram the Italian Matrix to make it stop hatching lawyers.

- Italian juries are not sequestered: "We will ask jurors to stop having lunch with lawyers during the trial. If they must, they shall only be allowed to discuss the pasta specials of the day. We will also ban journalists from the cafes where jurors and lawyers go for coffee during court discuss the trial...and follow media coverage."

- According to an Euromedia poll, 16% percent of Italians fully trust the justice system compared to 28% two years prior. Italian civil rights groups are intense in their criticism of what they view as kangaroo courts: "One of our main priorities is to raise the animal court level to that of a monkey."

- In the USA, federal judges must study a 637-page manual in order to be able to evaluate forensic evidence: "We will ask Italian judges to at least download the app and take a glance at it on weekends and holidays."

- Prosecutors are connected to the judiciary. They are not elected or appointed and lead entire investigations: "Si, many criminal investigations in Italy are botched by prosecutors who are judges that have NO background in criminal investigation, police work, or forensic science. But we realize we need more than Moe, Larry, or Curly in a nice Italian suit to tell the police what to look for, where to go and what evidence to analyze, contaminate and throw away."

"Only In Italy" Subscribe today and you'll discover why the last improvements to Italy were made by Julius Caesar and why it's been downhill ever since!  Click Here to Subscribe!

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