02/04/14 Squash Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce

"Se non ?zuppa, ?pan bagnato." (If it's not soup, it's dipped bread. Two different ways to present the same situation.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Roasted Broccoli with Asiago
  -Squash Gnocchi with Bolognese Meat Sauce
  -Beef Risotto

"Buongiorno amici!" Thanks for the experience you're giving us with helping out in your kitchen. We'll always be on that journey to find you more great traditional and modern Italian recipes. We'll leave you with this little thought; if gossip were food, many Italians would be overweight.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Roasted Broccoli with Asiago

Roasted Broccoli with Asiago
Broccoli Arrosto con Asiago


1 and 1/2 pounds (about 1 large bunch) broccoli, stalks trimmed to 2 inches below crowns
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Asiago cheese


Preheat oven to 450?F.

Cut each crown of broccoli lengthwise into 4 spears.

Place broccoli in large bowl.

Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Transfer broccoli to large rimmed baking sheet.

Add grated Asiago cheese to same bowl.

Roast broccoli until crisp-tender and stalks begin to brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Return broccoli to bowl with cheese.

Using tongs, toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Squash Gnocchi with Bolognese Meat Sauce

Squash Gnocchi with Bolognese Meat Sauce
Gnocchi di Zucca Bolognese


For The Meat Sauce:
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 28-oz. can peeled whole plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

For The Gnocchi:
1 small butternut squash, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed
2 eggs
1 cup flour


Prepare The Meat Sauce:
Brown beef and pork in 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, using the back of a wooden spoon to break meat up.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook onions in remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in another medium skillet over medium heat until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juices.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens.

Drain fat from meat.

Add meat to tomato sauce.

Adjust seasoning, then set aside.

Prepare The Gnocchi:
Preheat oven to 350?F.

Put squash in a baking pan, cover with foil, and bake until soft, about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle.

Scoop out the flesh into a strainer.

Press out as much liquid as you can.

Transfer to a large bowl.

Add eggs.

Mash together with a potato masher.

Season to taste with salt.

Work in flour to form a thick, soft dough.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.

Using 2 tablespoons (1 to scoop, the other to push batter off spoon).

Drop spoonfuls of batter into water.

Cook until gnocchi have risen to surface and simmered for 1-2 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a warm platter.

Continue until all batter has been used.

Spoon warm sauce over gnocchi. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Beef Risotto

Beef Risotto
Risotto Al Manzo


One 1-lb short rib, bone in
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups beef stock
3 cups chicken Stock
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 small shallots, peeled and minced
1 rounded cup arborio rice
1/2 cup cold dry white wine
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tbsp brandy
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350?F.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small oven-proof skillet over high heat.

Add short rib and brown evenly, about 2 minutes per side.

Remove skillet from heat, place in oven, and roast until meat is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

When rib is cool enough to handle, remove meat, discard bone, and shred meat.

Set aside.

Bring beef stock and chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Keep warm over lowest heat.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a wide heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Add garlic and shallots and saute until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is coated and lightly "toasted", about 3 minutes.

Stir in wine.

Cook until wine evaporates, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium, add shredded meat and enough stock to cover rice, then stir once and cook until almost all stock is absorbed, about 4-5 minutes.

Add remaining stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring once each time and adding more stock as liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

Just before serving, add parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, brandy, and remaining olive oil.

Lift and shake pan to swirl ingredients together.

Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve. 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:

25% of Italian students: "Seriously, We're Just About Done With Religion Class"

Genova - October 8, 2013 - Religion class in school is useless, said about 25% of students surveyed in a study.

In fact, an entire class at a school in Genoa asked to be exempt from taking the religious studies course, says a survey conducted by

Some students also complained that the course was a waste of tax money and one in four students said they treated the hour devoted to religious class as a free period.

The study also found that three in every five students said that religious class time was usually spent discussing such ethical issues as suicide, abortion and euthanasia.

"Porca l'oca," what a coincidence! We were just saying 25% of Italian students in general are useless. "Si si," simply useless...

In (rare) defense of Italy's public school system, we're having a hard time giving an Italian crap about the complaints of Italian students. Could be because they're young and free...and we're miserable.

The problem here is not so much the waste of tax money (as if these mules knew what taxes are)...but what the one in four students are up to during that free period. But can you believe the nerve of these "rompicoglioni?" Those tax dollars are going towards property damage that constantly occurs during that religion class.

As Italy's Oscar Wilde once said (he was Italian, wasn't he?), "You can never be overdressed or overeducated." So, dress up, stay off the streets, go to religion class and accept it at face value as we did back in the old Catholic school days. If you can't then don't get offended if miserable Italians insist that Siegfried and Roy should be commissioned to clean up the Italian public school system.

On the other hand, in the defense of the students (deep breath here...), we can understand your frustrations up to a certain point. There is too much time wasted on, for example, watching movies during lesson hours. It would be logical if the films were related to the lesson's topic or if they were discussed later on. But they usually serve to kill time if, for example, there is no substitute teacher.

Furthermore, we are well aware that your reference to wasted tax money is the rhetoric result of families badgering you into selecting a political party at the age of 5.

And speaking of your families...the discussion of skipping religion class isn't going to fly at home, especially the ones where mothers are sticking coins under a statue of the Virgin Mother. After all, it's hard to express your opinions and rationale at the dinner table while avoiding getting interrupted every 8 seconds.

"...three in every five students said that religious class time was usually spent discussing such ethical issues as suicide, abortion and euthanasia."

"Mamma mia," what entertaining conversation pieces for the after school playground. We think a more educational and fascinating ethical issue would be the Vatican financing the construction of the Watergate Hotel and apartment complex in Washington DC.

"Eh, excuse me, professore. Has the Church decided when the beatification process for Nixon will begin?"

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