01/12/10 Tortelloni with Mushroom-Sage Sauce

"O mangiar questa minestra o saltar questa finestra." (Either eat this soup or jump out this window. Take it or leave it.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tortelloni with Mushroom-Sage Sauce
  -Eggplant Lasagne with Pesto
  -Tiramisu Venetian Style

Our best regards to all our subscribers. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Buccellati

"Italian Buccellati" A soft and chewy fig cookie with a crisp outside and tender inside. Made exclusively from our own home grown natural figs, almonds, the freshest farm eggs, milk, flour and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 5-7.

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 Recipe: Tortelloni with Mushroom-Sage Sauce

Tortelloni with Mushroom-Sage Sauce
Tortelloni con Salsa di Funghi e Salvia


2 packages (about 9 ounces each) mushroom and cheese tortelloni

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thickly sliced
1 and 1/4 cups dry vermouth or dry white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage


Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add shallots; saute 1 minute.

Add mushrooms; saute until brown, about 7 minutes.

Add vermouth and cream.

Boil until sauce thickens and coats spoon, about 5 minutes.

Stir in sage.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta; toss until heated through and serve. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Eggplant Lasagne with Pesto

Eggplant Lasagne with Pesto
Melanzane Lasagne con Pesto


For the Bechamel Sauce:
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For the Pesto and Ricotta Mixture:
1 and 1/3 cups hazelnuts (5 and 1/2 ounces), toasted and loose skins rubbed off in a kitchen towel
4 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 3/4 lb)
3 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 and 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta

For the Lasagne:
4 lbs medium eggplants (4), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
9 (7 by 3 and 1/2-inch) oven-ready or "no boil" lasagne noodles; 6 oz
1 and 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute.

Add flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes.

Add milk in a stream, whisking.

Add bay leaf and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 4 cups, about 10 minutes.

Whisk in salt and white pepper, then remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Cover surface of sauce with wax paper until ready to use.

Prepare the Pesto and Ricotta Mixture:
Coarsely chop 1/3 cup hazelnuts and reserve for sprinkling over lasagne.

Puree parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2/3 cup olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and remaining cup hazelnuts in a food processor until pesto is smooth, about 1 minute.

Whisk egg in a bowl, then stir in ricotta, 1 cup parsley pesto, remaining teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper until combined well.

Stir together 1/4 cup pesto and remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small bowl for drizzling over lasagne.

Prepare the Eggplant for Lasagne:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450F.

Oil 2 large baking sheets.

Brush eggplant with olive oil on both sides, then arrange in 1 layer on baking sheets and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake eggplant, switching position of sheets halfway through baking and turning slices over once, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Prepare the Lasagne:
Put oven rack in middle position and reduce oven temperature to 425F.

Lightly oil a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish (3 quart) and line a larger shallow baking pan with foil.

Spread 1 cup bechamel in baking dish and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets.

Drop 1 cup ricotta mixture by spoonfuls over pasta, spreading evenly (layer will be thin), then top with 1 layer of eggplant, cutting rounds to fit if necessary.

Make 1 more layer each of bechamel, pasta, ricotta, and eggplant.

Spread with 1 cup bechamel and cover with remaining 3 pasta sheets.

Spread remaining cup ricotta mixture over pasta, then spread ricotta with remaining cup bechamel and top with remaining eggplant in 1 layer (you may have a few slices left over).

Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over eggplant and scatter with reserved chopped hazelnuts.

Tightly cover baking dish with oiled foil (oiled side down), then set dish in foil-lined pan (to catch drips) and bake lasagne 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Serve lasagne drizzled with pesto. Makes 8 servings.

Notes: Lasagne can be assembled 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Lasagne can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then heat in a preheated 350F oven, covered, until hot, 30 to 40 minutes.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tiramisu Venetian Style

Tiramisu Venetian Style
Tiramisu Stile Veneziano


6 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons (50 grams) sugar
2 cups (500 grams) mascarpone cheese, drained of any excess liquid
1 cup (240 ml) sweet vermouth
Two 7-ounce (420 grams) packages Amaretti cookies


In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of the sugar until foamy and pale.

Beat in the mascarpone until smooth.

Stir in the egg yolks; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a standing or hand-held mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy.

Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat until they hold soft peaks.

Fold the mascarpone mixture into the egg whites. Set aside.

Pour the vermouth into a small bowl.

Reserve five amaretti cookies to crumble and sprinkle over the top of the dessert.

One at a time, dip the remaining amaretti cookies into the vermouth; they should absorb some of the liquid but not be mushy.

Place the soaked amaretti in one snug layer on the bottom of a 9-inch ceramic dish or pie plate.

Evenly spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the amaretti.

Place another layer of soaked cookies over the mascarpone.

Repeat the layering, spreading the remaining mascarpone mixture, then ending with a layer of soaked cookies; this layer should be loosely arranged so that the cream mixture below is visible.

Sprinkle with the crumbled dry amaretti.

Refrigerate to set for at least 2 hours. Makes 8 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:

Valentine in Italian

Rome - February 10, 2009 - You can take inspiration from the 'country of romance' by learning some lovely Italian phrases to say to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. This will cost you nothing but a bit of time and effort and will sound sexy when whispered into your lover's ear.

Italians are in love with love and romance. They revel in the news of any engagement, marriage or birth of a baby. As you stroll through any town in Italy, you will see lovers intertwined and oblivious to anything going on around them. Romance and passion are a necessity for Italians.

This has always been true in Italy: think of Romeo and Juliet, Casanova, Marcello Mastroianni, and Sofia Loren or Raoul Bova and Diane Lane in "Under the Tuscan Sun ".

Consider the songs of Andrea Bocelli; while the music is beautiful, so much of the emotion has to do with the passionate words he is emoting.

What of the many romantic movies filmed in Italy such as Room With a View, Under The Tuscan Sun, Respiro, Summertime and many, many more?

You can be as romantic as any Italian by using a few simple phrases listed below:

"Ti amo" (tee ah moe): I love you (but please...stop aging!)

"Ti adoro" (tee ah door oh): I adore you (and that protruding belly you can't keep under control)

"Mi manchi" (me mahn kee): I miss you (and your constant smell of ricotta)

"Ti penso sempre" (tee pen so sehm pray): I always think about you (when it's time to eat)

"Sei sempre nel mio cuore" (say sehm pray nell me oh kwo ray): You are always in my heart (when your beautiful brother/sister is not around)

"Voglio baciarti" (volley oh bah char tee): I want to kiss you (when I smell your cheap Napolitano after-shave)

"Sei molto bella/bello" (say mohl toe bell ah/oh): You are very beautiful/handsome (when you're making tomato sauce)

"Mi manchi come l'aria che respiro" (me mahn kee ko may la ree ah kay res pier oh): I miss you like the air that I breathe (when I clean out the chicken shed)

"Vaffanculo!" (vah fon ku low): Happy Valentine's Day!

"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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