02/02/10 Spinach and Chickpea Soup

"Chi va ai al mulino s'infarina." (One who goes to the mill gets flour on himself. He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Spinach and Chickpea Soup
  -Cauliflower In Egg Sauce
  -Baked Potatoes with Salmon

If dishes were wishes, then I wish you many. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Spinach and Chickpea Soup

Spinach and Chickpea Soup
Minestra di Spinaci e Ceci


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 Rest of Soup:
9 oz (250 grams) spinach, chopped
5 oz (150 grams) cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) soup pasta
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
Salt and pepper


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.

Prepare the Rest of Soup:
Bring the meat stock to a boil in a saucepan.

Heat the olive oil in another pan, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened.

Add the spinach, season with salt, and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the chickpeas and meat stock and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook until 'al dente'.

Season with pepper, ladle into a soup bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cauliflower In Egg Sauce

Cauliflower In Egg Sauce
Cavolfiore In Salsa D'Uova


2 and 1/4 lb (1 kg) cauliflower, cut into florets
3 eggs
2 oz (50 grams) butter
1 and 1/2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper


Put the cauliflower in a saucepan.

Add cold water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until tender.

Drain well, pile into a heap on a serving dish and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a small pan.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for just a few minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the flour in a bowl, season with salt, pepper and whisk in the vinegar.

Add the mixture to the garlic and mix well.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat.

Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and creamy, then pour in a continuous thin stream over the cauliflower florets and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Baked Potatoes with Salmon

Baked Potatoes with Salmon
Patate al Forno al Salmone


8 potatoes
1 smoked salmon slice, coarsely chopped
7 fl oz (200 ml) double cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
2 oz (50 grams) salmon roe
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas Mark 6.

Halve the potatoes lengthways and scoop about 1/3 of the flesh from the center.

Reassemble in pairs, wrap each pair in a sheet of foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the smoked salmon, cream and lemon juice in a blender, season with salt and pepper and process until smooth and combined.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, fill with the salmon cream and reassemble.

Arrange on a warm serving dish, sprinkle with the chives and salmon roe and serve. This dish may also be served as a first course. Serves 4.

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:

US Ambassador: Italy Is An Economic Mess

Rome - February 5, 2009 - Italy risks losing its status as a world economic power if its economy continues to perform so poorly, the outgoing American ambassador said Thursday.

Ronald Spogli, sent to Rome three years ago by ex-president George W. Bush, explained that "the basic problem of Italy's economy is its long-term slow economic growth, which is much more serious than the current recession".

Italy, he observed, "has over the years repeatedly ranked low in international rankings in regard to conditions for doing business and investing". The main reasons for this, the ambassador said, were "too much bureaucracy, a rigid labor market, organized crime, corruption, a slow judicial system, the lack of advancement by merit and an education system which does not meet the needs of the 21st century.

However, at the root of Italy's slow economic growth was "a lack of unity" among Italians, Spogli said.

"Unfortunately, I have no magic glue to offer which can keep this country together. Nevertheless, I'm not pessimistic. What I have seen in these past three years convinces me that this country can make it," the ambassador added.

Speaking on Inauguration Day, January 20, Spogli said that no matter who takes his place as ambassador "nothing will change in the excellent relations which exist between the United States and Italy".

"Cacchio", we can't get anything right. We need Emperor Constantine to help get us out of this crap.

"Italy, he observed, has over the years repeatedly ranked low in international rankings in regard to conditions for doing business and investing". We beg to differ Ronaldo. Our Prime Minister of Meatballs once stated Italy was a great country to invest in because "today we have fewer communists and those and those who are still there deny having been one."

PM of Meatballs: "Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries...superb girls."

So, the companies that make up the S&P 500 should understand it makes perfect business sense to invest in Italy and avoid countries with ugly women and ex-communists living in denial.

"too much bureaucracy..." Bureaucracy is our own beautiful lyrical opera full of sound and emotional singing. Wander into any post office, police headquarters or government office and you will hear an enchanting chorus of stamping, slamming and banging while long lines of confused Italians pray that they're in the right place and the right line for the document required. God forbid if they're not.

"Testa di minchiaaaa ha ha haaaa! If this is the wrong document, time, line, office, hemisphere, why don't you have any indication grandissimo figlio di una mignottaaaa la la laaa!"

"a slow judicial system..." Again, our Prime Minister of Minestrone has a logical explanation for this: "Eighty-five per cent of the Italian press is left-wing and among the judges it is even worse... There is a cancer in Italy that we have to treat: the politicization of the magistracy."

PM of Minestrone: "If they do that job it is because they are anthropologically different from the rest of the human race."

So, you see, once we lure these early prehistoric cavemen out of the court rooms with tiger meat and back to the caves where they belong then one will be able have a speedy and civilized court trial.

"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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