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 01/21/14 Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

"Restare a bocca asciutta." (Left with a dry mouth. Getting cut out or not involved in matters.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Umbrian Fish Soup
  -Venetian Risotto with Peas
  -Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

"Hey ragazzi!" Hope you've been having fun preparing some of our Italian dishes. Yes, you'll find lots of them out there, but ours are authentic Italian food recipes written by Italians living in Italy, many of them having been passed down from generation to generation. From the bottom of all our hearts, we hope you enjoy them. Stay tuned for more are on the way.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


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 Recipe: Umbrian Fish Soup

Umbrian Fish Soup
Zuppa Umbra di Pesce

Ingredients:

For the Soup:
2 pound mixed freshwater fish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup dry white wine
One (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably Italian)
2 cups water
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the Toasts:
1 baguette
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Prepare the Soup:
Pat fish dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cook onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add parsley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer.

Add fish and reduce heat to cook at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Prepare the Toasts:
Preheat broiler.

Cut 18 (1/2-inch) slices from baguette and toast 3-5 inches from heat, turning once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Cut garlic clove in half and rub on toasts.

Brush toasts with olive oil.

Serve with soup garnished with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Venetian Risotto with Peas

Venetian Risotto with Peas
Risotto Veneziano con Piselli

Ingredients:

1 (10-ounce) box frozen baby peas
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
5 cups chicken broth
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion, quartered
1/4 pound sliced pancetta
2 (2 by 1-inch) strips lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Directions:

Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan, then keep at a simmer.

Turn on a food processor and drop in garlic, processing until finely chopped.

Turn off processor, then add onion and pancetta and pulse until finely chopped.

Cook onion mixture with zest in olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring a couple of times, until onion is softened and just beginning to turn golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Cook peas in broth for 2 minutes.

Strain broth into onion mixture, reserving peas.

Stir in rice.

Cook, covered, over high heat, stirring once after 5 minutes, until rice is 'al dente', 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in peas, cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce
Spaghetti Con Le Vongole in Salsa Rossa

Ingredients:

3 dozen hard-shelled clams such as littlenecks
1 (28 to 32-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, coarsely chopped, reserving juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound spaghetti

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a 12 to 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.

Cook garlic with red-pepper flakes, stirring, until pale golden, 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes with their juice, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 7-10 minutes.

Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Add clams (in shells) to sauce and cook, covered, shaking skillet occasionally, until clams open wide, 6-10 minutes (discard any clams that remain unopened after 10 minutes).

Transfer clams (still in shells) as cooked to a large shallow bowl. If sauce is too watery, boil until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes.

Drain spaghetti.

Return clams to sauce and add pasta, tossing.

Serve. Makes 4 to 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:

Pope to Priests: "Those Lectures Are Putting Everyone To Sleep"

Assisi - October 4, 2013 - Too many priests deliver homilies that are boring, interminable and incomprehensible, Pope Francis said.

In improvised remarks during a visit to Assisi, the pope warned his clergy to think carefully about the content of their sermons.

"Enough of these kinds of homilies - endless, tedious, in which you do not understand anything," Francis said at a meeting with clergy in Assisi's Cathedral of San Rufino.

(We're not looking forward to the repeat holy criticism we're going to get after this one...and the next article)

"Grazie, Papa Francesco." It's about time...

The Pope knows. It's no surprise Catholicism has been on a downward trend for years. We're having a problem...and some of us in this room and the characters in the piazza right outside the office are trying to be constructive about it for the good of the Church.

Why can't they put more effort into the speeches and edicts? "Maria Santa," they might as well give it in Latin! Don't they realize no one knows what's going on anymore? And we have old family members and relatives battling the rain and snow to get to the sermons.

We would love to grab our local priests and take them on a faith-based trip to some of these Protestant services where they're doing healings, and people are running up and down the aisles and passing out. See? You don't see these people pacing themselves like slugs on Sunday mornings. Lord have mercy, it's supposed to be a celebration!

It all comes down to content, fellow faithful ones. Content! For example, did you know you could fast from a variety of options other than food? (I don't see why we can't discuss this next Sunday, "Padre Nino".):

Options:

1) Escapist fantasies: any material activity you rely on in order to escape from reality, like TV, movies and video games.
(As many of you living in Italian households are aware, there is a constant need to escape from the reality that is your family and intruding relatives. You could give up the TV and movies...and escape to your friend's house for a few days of fasting and bonding. Two birds, one stone...or as we say, two pigeons, one fava bean.)

2) Vices and sins: alcohol abuse, smoking, sexual activity outside of marriage, etc. Other vices include less obvious behaviors like gossiping, swearing, impatience, laziness or stubbornness. (Hold on, you can't technically consider drinking your home made wine as alcohol abuse. After all, an old family recipe created with love and by your own hands is not a sin. But you can avoid all of your swearing and impatience...by simply ignoring your family's gossiping and stubbornness. Again, escaping to that friend's house can help.)

3) Leisure Time: spiritually beneficial activities to your schedule. Commit yourself to spending more time with your family or to performing new acts of kindness for your friends. Any activity you add to your day should be selfless and should replace time you might otherwise waste. (You could stop wasting time at home 'God knows you've done enough of that' and perform an act of kindness at that friend's house. You can't be more selfless than baking a 6 layer sausage lasagne for him and the other friends who'll escape and come over later on in the evening for dinner and a card game of "scopa". Ah, don't forget the home made wine.)

See you at Sunday Mass.

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