02/09/10 Pistachio Cake

"Bacco, tabacco e Venere riducono l'uomo in cenere." (Wine, women, and tobacco reduces one to ashes.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Linguine with Capers and Cherry Tomatoes
  -Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers, and Olives
  -Pistachio Cake

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

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Santo Trio

"Santo Trio" Almond Cookies: A soft and chewy Italian almond cookie with a crisp outside and tender inside. Made exclusively from our own home grown natural almonds, coconut, amaretto, lemon, the freshest farm eggs, flour, and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 5-7.

900 grams (2 lbs.) is only 14.49 Euro ($19.50-$20.00) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 14.49 Euro plus 8.70 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 23.19 Euro ($31.50-$32.00 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Linguine with Capers and Cherry Tomatoes

Linguine with Capers and Cherry Tomatoes
Linguine con Capperi e Pomodorini


6 tablespoons salt-packed capers
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 canned whole tomatoes, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 lb dried linguine pasta
Fresh mint leaves for garnishing


Rinse capers in a sieve and transfer to a small bowl.

Cover capers with water by about 2 inches and soak 30 minutes.

Drain, then repeat soaking.

Drain and rinse capers, then squeeze dry and coarsely chop.

Cook onion, cut sides down, and garlic in olive oil in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Add capers and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Remove and discard garlic and onion.

Add canned and cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Stir in mint and pepper, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 1 and 1/2 hours.

Shortly before sauce is done, cook pasta in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Reserve about 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Add pasta to sauce and cook over high heat, tossing, 10 to 15 seconds. If pasta seems dry, add a few tablespoons reserved cooking water. Makes 4 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers, and Olives

Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers, and Olives
Spaghetti con Tonno, Capperi e Olive


Coarse salt
1 pound dried spaghetti pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 anchovy fillets, rinsed, dried, and minced
1 and 1/2 cups canned tomato puree
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
14 ounces excellent-quality tuna preserved in olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook just until 'al dente', about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wide, deep saute pan set over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook until golden-brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the anchovies and cook for 2 minutes more.

Stir in the tomato puree and capers.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, then strain the pasta.

Stir the olives and tuna into the sauce, then gradually stir in the reserved pasta water until the sauce attains a pleasing consistency.

Add the hot pasta and toss.

Season with pepper and toss again.

To serve, divide the hot pasta among individual warmed bowls, topping each serving with some chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake
Torta al Pistacchio


6 eggs, separated
9 oz (250 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) plain white or Italian type 00 flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
12 oz (350 grams) finely chopped pistachio or other nuts
1/2 pint (300 ml) double cream
Extra whole pistachio nuts for decorating


Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas mark 4.

Grease and line a 9 inch (23 cm) deep, round cake tin.

Beat together the egg yolks and half of the sugar until thick and creamy.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix into the egg yolk mixture.

Gradually beat in the remaining sugar.

Fold in the nuts.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until well risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Before serving, whisk the cream until stiff.

Spread on top of the cake and decorate with the whole pistachio nuts. Serves 10-12.

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:

Italy Electricity Use Has Record Plunge

Rome - February 11, 2009 - Consumption of electricity in Italy plunged a record 8.5 percent in January as industry hammered by the economic recession scaled back output, Italian grid operator Terna (TRN.MI) said on Wednesday.

Terna said it was the sharpest drop since comparable data was available starting in 1975. The closest figure was a 7.6 percent fall in August 1975.

"The heavy fall in electricity consumption starting in the beginning of the year reflects the lasting phase of weakness in industrial production," Terna said.

Terna pointed to data from employers confederation Confindustria forecasting a double-digit contraction in industrial output in January.

Italy's government blamed international economic turmoil for the record fall in industrial output in December, announced on Tuesday. National statistics agency ISTAT said output contracted 14.3 percent on a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis.

Italy forecasts GDP contracted by 0.6 percent last year and will shrink 2.0 percent in 2009, giving two consecutive years of economic decline for the first time since World War Two.

Terna said that electricity consumption in January was less affected by more traditional factors, like weather and working days in the month. There were two working days less in January 2009 than in the same month last year but the weather was also colder, by an average of one and a half degrees.

"Holy cazzo!" Would you look at this bill?! Does this include the polishing of the generators?

No doubt the economic recession is to blame. Did it ever occur to the "Electric Minchia Company" that a part of the consumption plunge is due to the difficulty of getting it simply turned on?

To set up a new contract with the almighty lords of "luce" you'll need the following:

1) Pazienza (patience),

2) Permesso di soggiorno (Visa or stay permit): They can't send exorbitant utility bills to illegal aliens who can't afford them.

3) Documento Identita (Identity document with photo): Because they personally want to get to know who is purchasing their precious energy.

4) Numero cliente (client number of the previous tenant): So that if there are any unpaid bills left behind, they will assume you will be more than happy to settle them.

5) Codice Fiscale (personal tax number of the account holder),

6) Amount of power required (3, 4, or 6 KW): Go and check every appliance's need in your home, do the calculation, decide how much you'll need and get back to them.

7) Lettura del contatore (current meter reading): Believe us, they have the correct reading on file. They just want to see if you would dare to lie.

8) Bank details (if payment is to be by direct debit from a bank): Just to make sure you will be able to apply for a loan if you can't afford the bills.

9) Address to which the bills should be sent, .

10) Address to which the contract should be sent,

11) Down payment (aka bribe) to get the paperwork reviewed and processed within 3-4 months (optional).

"Che scassapalle!" Pavlov's dogs weren't hassled as much as this.

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