01/15/13 Stuffed Italian Eggplant

"Il bisogno aguzza l'ingegno." (Necessity sharpens the brains.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Garlic
  -Stuffed Italian Eggplant
  -Braised Short Ribs with Pureed Vegetables

"Ciao a tutti" Just another quick note of "grazie" (thanks) for being a part of our growing Italian recipe community. We've hit the 10,000 member mark now. Remember, you started it. Enjoy this week's recipes! More to come in just a couple of days

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Garlic

Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Garlic
Spaghetti con Broccoli Rabe e Aglio


1 pound spaghetti
1 (1-lb) bunch broccoli rabe
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt


Take the broccoli rabe and discard the hollow stems and leaves.

Cut the remaining stems into 2-inch pieces.

Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions.

When the pasta is 5 minutes from finished, add the broccoli rabe to the pot and continue to cook until the pasta is 'al dente'.

Drain in a colander and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, cook the remaining ingredients in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour over the pasta and toss to combine. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Stuffed Italian Eggplant

Stuffed Italian Eggplant
Melanzane Ripiene Italiana


For the Tomato Sauce:
One (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 and 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

For the Eggplant and Stuffing:
4 small Italian eggplants (1 and 1/2 lbs total; preferably with stem attached
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
3/4 cup water
3 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (1 and 1/4 cups)
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
About 2 cups extra virgin olive oil


Prepare the Sauce:
Drain tomatoes, reserving juice, then finely chop.

Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

Cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with reserved juice, water, tomato paste, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.

Stir in basil.

Prepare the Eggplants:
Boil eggplants and make the filling while the sauce simmers:

Bring a 5 to 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil over moderately high heat.

Prick eggplants all over with a fork.

Boil eggplants, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain and discard cooking water.

When eggplants are cool enough to handle (after about 15 minutes), halve the eggplants lengthwise through stem (keep stem attached).

With a small sharp knife, scoop out and reserve flesh, leaving 1/4-inch thick shells.

Chop the flesh very finely and transfer to a large bowl.

Bring rice and water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, uncovered.

Reduce heat and simmer rice, covered, until water has been absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork and add to chopped eggplant.

While rice cooks, combine bread and milk in a small bowl and let stand until bread has absorbed milk.

Gently squeeze bread, discarding any milk.

Add bread to rice mixture along with garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir to combine well.

Sprinkle inside of eggplant shells with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Firmly pack a scant 1/3-cup eggplant stuffing into each eggplant shell.

Put oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375F.

Heat 1 inch olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron or other deep heavy skillet over moderate heat until thermometer reaches 320F and add 2 eggplant halves, stuffing sides up.

Fry, turning over once using 2 slotted spoons, until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes total.

Transfer, stuffing sides up, to paper towels to drain, then fry remaining eggplants, 2 halves at a time, in same manner, returning oil to 320F between batches.

Spoon sauce into a 3-quart (about 13 by 9-inch) nonreactive baking dish.

Add eggplants, stuffing sides up, and bake, covered with foil, until sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Makes 4 main course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Short Ribs with Pureed Vegetables

Braised Short Ribs with Pureed Vegetables
Costolette Brasate con Purea di Verdure


5 whole black peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons (packed) fresh sage leaves
4 and 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, well trimmed
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth, divided

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for potatoes
2 cups chopped onion
1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped carrots
1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 750-ml bottle red wine
6 large white-skinned potatoes


Grind first 5 ingredients in spice mill.

Sprinkle beef with additional pepper and 3 and 1/2 teaspoons herb-salt mixture.

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat.

Working in batches, add beef and brown well, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.

Using tongs, transfer beef to large bowl.

Pour off olive oil from pot.

Add 1 cup broth to drippings in pot and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.

Pour deglazed pan juices into small bowl.

Heat the 4 tablespoons olive oil in same pot over medium-high heat.

Add onion, carrots, and celery; saute until beginning to brown, about 12 minutes.

Add tomato paste and saute 2 minutes.

Add deglazed pan juices and bring to simmer.

Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot.

Add wine and remaining 3 cups broth and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low.

Season with pepper.

Cover and cook until beef is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

Using tongs, transfer beef to large bowl.

Tilt pot and spoon off fat from surface of sauce.

Working in batches, puree sauce with vegetables in blender until smooth.

Return to pot.

Boil until reduced to 4 cups, about 15 minutes.

Add beef and stir to heat through.

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes.


Place 1 potato on each plate; press to mash slightly.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Top with beef.

Spoon sauce around beef and potatoes and serve. 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:

Gas Prices At the Italian Pump Up 20%, 3rd Most Expensive On the Planet

Rome - May 14, 2012 - Gasoline is over 20% more expensive in Italy than it was a year ago, ISTAT said on Monday when releasing figures that look set to feed public anger about fuel prices.

The national statistics agency said gas prices were 20.9% higher in April with respect to the same month in 2011, the biggest year-on-year increase since May 1983.

Consumer groups have accused oil companies and distributors of unfairly jacking up prices over the last year, with prices approaching two euros ($2.50 USD) a liter.

Several companies cut their prices by up to two euro cents last week after the government made a "firm" call for them to bring their prices into line with the European average.

1) Norway $9.69 a gallon

2) Denmark $9.37
3) Italy $9.35

We thank everyone for the congratulations. So close to grabbing that silver medal. Give us a couple of days...

Face it, driving in Italy is not for the intimidated, it’s often delirious and vivacious with vehicles squeezed onto streets designed as alleys for livestock. You need to be on alert at all times, have a thick skin and keep a close eye on the gas gauge.

Here are our essential Italy driving tips for saving gas:

1) Gas attendants in most southern regions: Get out of your car, do not smile nor greet the attendant, clearly state your request in 3 words in an unfriendly manner (ex. "25 euro verde" OR "25 euro diesel"). Make sure the pump is reading zero before the attendant begins to fill your tank or the "figlio di una battona" may make you pay double.

2) We all tailgate because it reduces aerodynamic drag...and because we're irresponsible jackasses behind the wheel. So, get used to it and don't take it personally. By the way, we also never use our rear view mirrors, so you should do the same. Pay attention to who you're tailgating in front of you and leave your rear to the others.

3) As soon as the light turns green we WILL honk at you. So, move it! We can't waste gas sitting idle at a light while you're busy gazing at the scenery.

4) You're not going to find parking in our cities. Period! Don't waste gas by circling the streets looking for a spot. Most of our sidewalks serve as parking spaces so make sure you master the art of parallel sidewalk parking.

5) Naples is an irrational world in itself. (I think we've mentioned this before.) The godforsaken drivers are barbaric and more aggressive than anywhere else on the continent. Before entering the complex city maze, make sure you have a full tank of gas and that you've watched the entire 'Mad Max' film series twice.

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