01/17/12 Onion Soup

"Fatta la legge, trovata la malizia." (Every law has its loophole.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Onion Soup
  -Penne with Onion, Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes
  -Dante's Risotto

"Che bella giornata!" GRAZIE, THANK YOU for all that you do. It means the world to us! Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Onion Soup

Onion Soup
Zuppa di Cipolle


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 Soup:
6 tablespoons butter
8 large onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup brandy
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 thick slices Italian bread
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


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.

Simmer broth in a large saucepan.

Prepare the Soup:
Melt butter in another large saucepan.

When butter foams, add onions.

Saute over medium heat until pale yellow.

Stir in brandy.

When brandy is three-quarters evaporated, stir in flour.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in hot broth.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

Toast bread until golden on both sides.

Place 2 slices toasted bread in each of 6 ovenproof soup bowls.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Sprinkle each serving with a generous tablespoon Parmigiano cheese.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Place briefly under preheated broiler for a golden crust.

Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Penne with Onion, Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes

Penne with Onion, Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes
Penne alla Peperonata


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 thick slice (2 to 3 ounces) pancetta, diced (optional)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 large red bell peppers, (about 2 pounds), cored, seeded and diced
1 pound firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 pound Penne Rigate or shells pasta


Heat 1/3 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add pancetta, if using, and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon transfer pancetta to a plate.

Place skillet back on medium heat.

Add onion, cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes then add peppers.

Cook, stirring, until peppers begin to color and soften, 5 to 6 minutes.

Return pancetta to skillet, add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender and juices in skillet have thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add a little water or broth if juices should reduce too much.

Taste and adjust seasoning and turn heat off. Makes 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups of sauce.

Cook pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until 'al dente'.

Put skillet back on medium heat.

Add remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar if using.

Stir to blend.

Drain pasta and add to skillet with sauce.

Season lightly with salt.

Mix quickly over low heat until pasta and sauce are well combined.

Taste, adjust seasoning and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Dante's Risotto

Dante's Risotto
Risotto Dante


1 carrot, halved
1 celery stalk, halved
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 and 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound small white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 (10-ounce) package thawed frozen spinach, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 pound prosciutto, finely chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
Salt to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Fill a small saucepan one-third full with water.

Bring water to a boil.

Add carrot and celery.

Cook over medium heat until barely tender.

Finely chop carrot and celery.

Heat chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep hot over low heat.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan.

When butter foams, add onion.

Saute over medium heat until pale yellow.

Add rice and mix well.

When rice is coated with butter, add wine.

Cook, stirring constantly, until wine has evaporated.

Stir in 1 or 2 ladles of broth, or enough to cover rice.

Stir over medium heat until broth has been absorbed.

Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding broth a little at a time until rice is almost done, 10 to 15 minutes.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet.

Add mushrooms.

Saute until golden.

Add sauteed mushrooms, spinach, carrot, celery, parsley, prosciutto and cream to rice mixture.

Mix well and season with salt.

Cook about 5 minutes longer.

When rice is tender but firm to the bite, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Place in a warm dish.

Serve immediately with remaining Parmigiano cheese. 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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