03/05/13 Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus, Spring Onions, and Gremolata

"Accade in un sol punto quel che non si spera in un anno." (Something that wouldn't happen in a year could happen all of a sudden.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Gemelli with Broccoli Rabe and Anchovies
  -Ricotta and Veal Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
  -Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus, Spring Onions, and Gremolata

"Salve!" THANK YOU for all that you do. It means the world to us! Live for today...for tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Gemelli with Broccoli Rabe and Anchovies

Gemelli with Broccoli Rabe and Anchovies
Gemelli con Broccoli Rabe e Acciughe


1 pound gemelli or other corkscrew pasta
1 (1-pound) bunch broccoli rabe, coarse stems discarded and remainder cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 (2-ounce) can flat anchovy fillets, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or to taste


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta in a 7 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water for about 6 minutes.

Stir in broccoli rabe and boil until pasta is 'al dente', about 5 minutes more.

While pasta is cooking, toss bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a shallow baking pan until coated and bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Season crumbs with salt.

While broccoli rabe (with pasta) is cooking, cook garlic, anchovies, and red-pepper flakes in remaining 7 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring and mashing anchovies into olive oil with a wooden spoon, until garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and broccoli rabe in a colander.

Add to anchovy mixture in skillet, tossing to combine.

Serve pasta sprinkled with some toasted bread crumbs and pass remainder. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Ricotta and Veal Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Ricotta and Veal Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Polpette di Ricotta e Vitello in Salsa di Pomodoro


1 pound ground veal, chilled
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup flour, or as needed
4 cups mild tomato sauce


Wrap ricotta in cheesecloth a day before serving and place in a sieve set over a bowl.

Weight cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Cheese will then have consistency of tofu.)

Next day, combine all ingredients except oil, flour and sauce in a bowl and mix with hands until completely smooth, pale and homogenized, about 4-5 minutes.

Test seasoning by frying a bit in hot oil. It should taste salty; adjust salt if needed.

Cover and chill before shaping into meatballs.

Dust a baking sheet and your hands with flour.

Gently form meat into nine balls. Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Place about 1 and 1/2 inches of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

When oil is hot, fry meatballs, moving them as little as possible. When bottoms are golden brown, after about 2 minutes, gently turn them.

Fry until uniformly brown on all sides.

Heat sauce in pot over medium-low heat and when meatballs are done.

Remove from oil with slotted spoon and add to sauce.

Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes (they can remain in the sauce for hours).

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs in sauce alone, or over pasta, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese passed separately. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus, Spring Onions, and Gremolata

Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus, Spring Onions, and Gremolata
Cotolette di Pollo con Asparagi, Cipollotti, e Gremolata


For the Gremolata:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

For the Chicken:
12 chicken cutlets (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick; about 2 pounds)
3/4 pound spring onions or green onions (dark green parts discarded);
1 and 1/2 pounds slender asparagus, tops cut into 3-inch pieces, stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon (scant) saffron threads
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons creme riche or heavy whipping cream


Cut the white parts of the onions into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and the pale green parts cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (scant 2 cups).

Mix first 5 ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl.

Cover the gremolata and set aside.

Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add saffron and stir until slightly darker, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to another small bowl; cool and crumble saffron.

Sprinkle chicken lightly with coarse salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches and adding more olive oil as needed.

Cook chicken until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Arrange chicken on platter; tent with foil.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter to same skillet.

Add white and green parts of onions and saute until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.

Add asparagus.

Sprinkle saffron over vegetables.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and saute 1 minute.

Add broth, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and broth reduces and thickens to glaze, about 5 minutes.

Stir in creme riche and gremolata.

Season with salt and pepper.

Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to platter, arranging around chicken.

Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve. Serves 6.

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:

Italian Twitter Hoaxer Proves It's Easy To Sell Air To Each Other

Rome - March 30, 2012 - First it was the death of the pope tweeted to the world from a Twitter account that belonged to the Holy Father's number two. Later came tweets announcing the deaths of Fidel Castro and Pedro Almodóvar.

The tweets flew around the world of social media. All, however, were hoaxes, the work of Tommaso De Benedetti, one of the world's most creative and successful fake tweeters.

"Twitter works well for deaths," said De Benedetti, speaking for the first time about his desire to expose how unreliable social media can be as a news source.

A Rome schoolteacher, De Benedetti, 43, defines himself as a "normal person". But in the Twitter world he has recently played the parts of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, a Spanish minister and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

"Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world but the news media believes it because of its need for speed," he said. False tweeting is a growth industry, and despite Twitter's placing of a blue tick on the verified accounts of the famous, users continue to trip up. In January even Twitter was fooled into briefly verifying tweets claiming to be by Wendy Deng, Rupert Murdoch's wife, in which she flirted with comic Ricky Gervais.

De Benedetti has form dating back to his days fooling Italian newspapers into publishing his fake interviews with writers, often American, including John Grisham, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott and Philip Roth. His game was disrupted when a journalist asked Roth in 2010 about criticisms he had leveled at Barack Obama in the Italian newspaper Libero. The writer denied giving the interview.

De Benedetti denied he was a simple hoaxer fooling papers for money. "I wanted to see how weak the media was in Italy," he said, claiming he was only paid between 20 and 40 Euros for an interview. "The Italian press never checks anything, especially if it is close to their political line, which is why the right wing paper Libero liked Roth's attacks on Obama." Half the time, he added, he suspected editors knew he was peddling made-up interviews, but took them anyway.

After he was exposed, De Benedetti turned to the internet, writing an email to the International Herald Tribune criticizing the Libya war and signing it Umberto Eco. "I phoned the Tribune after they published it to let them know," he said.

Next he faked an email from Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo to the Italian bishops' conference newspaper Avvenire, in which he praised the pope. Avvenire splashed it on the front page.

His first Twitter venture was an account in the name of Swedish writer Henning Mankell. "Mankell denied it after Swedish papers started quoting it," De Benedetti said. A fake feed he set up for Italian prime minister Mario Monti was followed by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. De Benedetti's account for Hamid Karzai drew a denial from the Afghan leader, while his fake tweets from Assad denying the veracity of leaked emails were briefly picked up by an English newspaper.

A fake announcement of the pope's death by the Vatican's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was followed by reports in another false feed of the death of Pedro Almodóvar, prompting a tweet from a newspaper's world account saying that the rumor was being looked into. Through two accounts, De Benedetti announced the death of Fidel Castro.

De Benedetti has used a fake account for Cristóbal Montoro, Spain's hapless finance minister, as a vehicle for numerous announcements. "Montoro has repeated that the account is not real but 3,000 people still follow it," he said. "On Facebook you are limited by access to 'friends', but on Twitter you can be sure people will follow you and it is being used as a real-time source of information without checks."

And for the cherry on the cake, De Benedetti clicks on the fake Twitter account he has created for Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and slips in a photo of Indian politician Sonia Gandhi. "I can just change the profile with Gandhi's details and all the followers of my fake Jong-un feed become followers of my fake Gandhi feed," he said. "It's so easy."

Since we have had several thousand years of practice at recognizing BS artists, you'd think we'd get pretty good at spotting them. Take this example:

During a company conference and in a bid to boost motivation, Luca Luciani, a top manager of Telecom Italia Mobile services, told 300 managers in a colorful, aggressive language to take Napoleon as their role model, in particular his impressive performance at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

"Everybody thought Napoleon had had it, beaten by the supremacy of his adversaries. He had five great nations against him...but with strategy, clear ideas, determination and strength, Napoleon made Waterloo his masterpiece".

Luciani concluded by telling his managers: "Go ahead and score like Napoleon at Waterloo".
(Oh, "si-si", there's proof of this. Click here for the video.)

An incredibly inspirational video, wasn't it? You could almost swear it was Martin Luther King Jr preaching in Italian.

Now, we might not know a lot in this Italian world (most of us on the staff graduated from Pizza University with honors), but wasn't Napoleon definitively defeated at Waterloo and exiled to the island of St. Helena where he died in 1821?

AH, "cazzarola", we fell for it!

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