03/17/09 Cashew Orange Biscotti from

"Chi s'impiccia degli affari altri, di tre parte gliene resta due." (He who meddles in others people's affairs will be left with two of three parts.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Creamy Polenta with Stewed Beef
  -Penne with Asparagus Pesto
  -Cashew Orange Biscotti

All of us at the bakery here in Santo Stefano Quisquina sincerely hope you enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Italian cookies for the Easter Holidays

Make this Easter Holiday a memorable one by adding an assortment tray of our scrumptious Italian "dolce" at the table.
Enjoy them with a cup of espresso or a bottle of Prosecco. It will give a wonderful touch to your holiday feast, a proper ending with a touch of Sicilian sunshine.

If you would like to order for Easter Sunday (April 12) please keep in mind the following deadline: All orders must be placed by Wednesday, April 1, at 12:00 PM EST.
Click here to order!

 Recipe: Creamy Polenta with Stewed Beef

Creamy Polenta with Stewed Beef
Polenta Cremosa con Stufato di Manzo


One 3 and 1/4 lb boneless beef chuck roast (about 2 inches thick), trimmed
1/2 cup matchstick-size strips pancetta
One 750-ml bottle dry red wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole juniper berries*
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms,** rinsed to remove grit
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
Basic Polenta (cornmeal)


Using small sharp knife, cut 1-inch-deep slits all over beef.

Fill each slit with pancetta strip.

Place beef in large bowl; pour wine over.

Cover; chill overnight.

Drain wine from beef, reserving wine.

Pat beef dry with paper towels.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat.

Add beef and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Add reserved wine, onion and next 7 ingredients.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and cook until beef is very tender, turning beef occasionally, about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer beef to platter.

Tent beef with foil to keep warm.

Discard bay leaves from wine mixture in pot.

Working in batches, coarsely puree wine mixture in blender.

Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon polenta into large bowl.

Cut beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Spoon sauce over beef. Makes 8 servings.

Note: *Available in the spice section of most supermarket nationwide. **Available at Italian markets, specialty food stores and many supermarkets.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Penne with Asparagus Pesto

Penne with Asparagus Pesto
Penne con Pesto di Asparagi


1 lb Penne or other tubular pasta
1 lb asparagus
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 or 3 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2/3 cup)


In a 6 to 7-quart kettle bring about 5 quarts salted water to a boil for pasta.

Have ready a bowl of ice water.

Trim woody ends from asparagus.

Cut asparagus stalks crosswise into 2-inch pieces, reserving tips.

In a steamer set over boiling water steam stalks, covered, 4 minutes.

Add reserved asparagus tips and steam, covered, until just tender, about 1 minute.

Immediately transfer asparagus to ice water to stop cooking.

Drain asparagus well in a colander and pat dry.

In a food processor pulse pine nuts and garlic with salt until finely chopped.

Add asparagus and olive oil and pulse until asparagus is coarsely chopped.

Transfer pesto to a large bowl and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Cook pasta in boiling water until 'al dente'.

Reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta in a colander.

Add pasta and reserved cooking water to pesto, tossing to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 as a main course.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cashew Orange Biscotti

Cashew Orange Biscotti
Biscotti alla Arancia e Anacardi


1 and 1/2 cups roasted cashews (about 7 ounces)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water


Preheat oven to 300F. and butter a large baking sheet.

Coarsely chop cashews.

Into a bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together 3 eggs, zest, and vanilla until just combined.

Stir in flour mixture and beat until a stiff dough is formed.

Stir in cashews.

In a small bowl beat together water and remaining egg to make an egg wash.

On baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two 12-inch-long logs and flatten slightly.

Brush logs with some egg wash.

Bake logs in middle of oven until golden, about 50 minutes.

Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.

On a cutting board with a serrated knife diagonally cut logs into roughly 1/3-inch-thick slices.

Arrange biscotti, a cut side down, on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until crisp, about 15 minutes.

Cool biscotti on rack.

Biscotti keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks. Makes about 60 biscotti.

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:

Town Suffering From Too Much Free Time Sews Record Christmas Stocking

Santa Maria a Monte - January 6, 2009 - A record 279 meter long Christmas stocking made by merchants and residents of this Tuscan town near Pisa was presented Tuesday to mark the Epiphany holiday, also known as the 12th day of Christmas.

The stocking, which took three months to sew together and was stuffed with 4,500 balloons, broke the record which this same town set last year, 216 meters.

Measuring two meters wide, the stocking was again this year hung from a town hall widow and stretched along the via Carducci to reach the town's main church, San Giovanni Battista.

"Che culo!" What a wonderful winter wonderland. What can be more perfect than 12 days of Christmas?

There's jolly Santa Claus running the town hall trying to motivate the comatose and meaningless employees while Mrs. Claus is baking lasagnas, polenta and panettone for its egotistical Tuscan population of 10,000.

"Cacchio!" How can they do all this alone?

Working hard behind the scenes are Santa's elves. Typically underappreciated during the holidays (according to the deafening union leaders), the amount of labor these tiny, mythical creatures do is pretty astounding.

So what do elves look like? Well, they're constantly mistaken for trolls that emigrate from Calabria, Naples and Sicily and invade the north looking for measly work with no health benefits and vacation time.

"The stocking, which took three months to sew together and was stuffed with 4,500 balloons, broke the record which this same town set last year, 216 meters." Take a guess at what they'll be making next Christmas.

"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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