02/12/08 Panna Cotta with Praline Caramel Sauce from

"Una buona mamma vale cento maestre." (A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Focaccia con Rosmarino e Pepe
  -Perciatelli con Tonno, Capperi e Pomodori
  -Panna Cotta con Salsa di Caramello e Pralina

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In".


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Dolce per La Festa

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 Recipe: Focaccia con Rosmarino e Pepe

Focaccia con Rosmarino e Pepe
Rosemary Pepper Focaccia


2 cups (or more) bread flour
1 envelope fast-rising dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup hot water (125 F. to 130 F.)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper


Blend 2 cups flour, yeast, salt and sugar in processor.

Combine hot water and 1 tablespoon olive oil in glass measuring cup.

With machine running, add water mixture through feed tube and process until elastic and uniformly moist dough forms that just cleans inside of work bowl, about 40 seconds.

If dough is sticky, add more flour by tablespoons, incorporating each addition before adding next. If dough is dry, add water by tablespoons, incorporating each addition before adding next.

Gather dough into ball. Transfer to greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface.

Cover with damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.

Grease 12 to 14-inch pizza pan or baking sheet.

Sprinkle with cornmeal.

Punch dough down and knead until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface pan.

Dimple surface with fingertips. Spread remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over.

Sprinkle with rosemary and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bake bread until golden, about 20 minutes.

Cut hot bread into wedges and serve. Serves 16.

That's it!

 Recipe: Perciatelli con Tonno, Capperi e Pomodori

Perciatelli con Tonno, Capperi e Pomodori
Perciatelli with Tuna, Capers and Tomatoes


8 ounces perciatelli or spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 rolled fillets of anchovies with capers from can
3 garlic cloves, minced
One 14 to 14 and 1/2-ounce can chunky tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
One 6 and 1/8-ounce can white tuna packed in water, drained well
3 tablespoons chopped parsley


Cook perciatelli or spaghetti pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add anchovies with capers and garlic and saute 2 minutes, mashing to paste with back of fork.

Mix in tomatoes with their juices and white wine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add tuna and parsley and mix to break up large tuna chunks.

Drain pasta. Add to sauce and toss to blend.

Season to taste with pepper. Serves 2.

That's it!

 Recipe: Panna Cotta con Salsa di Caramello e Pralina

Panna Cotta con Salsa di Caramello e Pralina
Panna Cotta with Praline Caramel Sauce


1 envelope plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned and chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 and 1/2 cups sour cream


In a cup sprinkle gelatin over milk and let soften.

In a large saucepan whisk together confectioners' sugar, vanilla beans, salt, and 2 cups heavy cream and bring just to a boil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally.

Remove pan from heat and scrape seeds from vanilla beans into liquid (discard pods).

Add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved.

Pour mixture into a large metal bowl and chill, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Make praline cream while mixture is cooling.

In a small saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water over moderate heat until a light caramel.

Stir in hazelnuts and baking soda (mixture will foam up) and immediately spoon onto a sheet of foil.

Cool praline and break into chunks. Praline may be made 1 week ahead and frozen, wrapped in foil.

For the caramel sauce:
In a dry heavy saucepan, cook granulated sugar over moderate heat, without stirring, until it begins to melt.

Continue cooking sugar, stirring with a fork until melted, and then swirling pan, until a deep golden caramel and remove pan from heat. Add water (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.

Cool sauce and chill until cold. Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.

Before serving, thin sauce with water if necessary.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream until smooth.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters of an electric mixer, beat remaining cup heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks.

Gently fold sour cream into whipped cream.

Gently fold sour cream mixture into cooled gelatin mixture until smooth and pour into a 6 1/2-cup mold or bowl.

Chill panna cotta, covered, at least 4 hours (until firm) and up to 2 days.

To unmold panna cotta, loosen edge and dip mold or bowl into a slightly larger bowl filled halfway with hot water. Invert mold or bowl onto a platter with a raised edge.

Stir praline into caramel sauce and pour over panna cotta.

Cut panna cotta into wedges and spoon sauce over each serving.

To toast and skin hazelnuts:
Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a baking pan, toast hazelnuts in one layer in oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until colored lightly and skins blister.

Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute.

Rub nuts in towel to remove as much of skins as possible and cool. Serves 12.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

Deceased 80-Year-Old Grandmother Denied Health Card

Ferrara - March 5 - An 80-year woman was denied a national health card because, according to health officials, she had been dead for 25 years, the local press reported on Wednesday.

The incident took place at the national health office in nearby San Giuseppe di Copparo, where Ultimina Dalla Pria was told that their official records showed that she had been dead since January 1, 1983. After recovering from the initial shock, the 80-year-old told officials that she was still quite alive and kicking and had no intention of dying.

"But this didn't change anything. Even after I showed them my identity card, proving there had been a mistake, they wouldn't budge and refused to give me a national health card," Dalla Pria told reporters.

"At that point I went to the public records office where official records showed that I was clearly not dead at all", she added.

In order to be alive again for the national health service, Dalla Pria must file with the local public health office copies of official documents attesting to the fact that she is alive. This process will involve hiring a lawyer and in the meantime she will not be able to have free prescription medicines because, as of January 1, a national health card must be shown in order to receive them.

"I hope my doctor can find a way around this," Dalla Pria said.

"Sono viva, testa di cazzo!" Sit back, relax and enjoy, folks. Italian state employees hard at work creating the perfect work and social environment.

Although the intoxicated Dante didn't realize it at the time, he perfectly described the labyrinth of Italian government offices and bureaucracy when he wrote "Abandon hope all who enter here".

Poor Ultimina. As if she could negotiate anything with these health officials. These are people who spent their childhoods skinning farm animals, producing countless jugs of tomato sauce and indicating which direction the wind blew.

But one can't help but wonder how many jugs of cheap wine, spumante and grappa did these "stronzi" chug down in that health office on New Year's Eve, 1982, for Ultimina to be declared dead the day after.

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