03/24/09 Ginger Almond Biscotti from

"L'abito non fa il monaco." (The habit does not make the monk. Clothes do not make the man.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Cantaloupe and Prosciutto with Basil Oil
  -Calamari Risotto
  -Ginger Almond 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       

 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 ($19.25-$19.75) + 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 ($30.75-$31.25 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Cantaloupe and Prosciutto with Basil Oil

Cantaloupe and Prosciutto with Basil Oil
Cantalupo e Prosciutto con Olio al Basilico


2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cantaloupe
1/2 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
2 ounces crumbled ricotta salata (salted ricotta cheese) or feta cheese (about 1/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 375F.

On a baking sheet toast pine nuts until golden, about 5 minutes, and cool.

In a blender puree basil with oil until basil is minced.

Pour puree through a very fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids, and discard solids.

Halve and seed cantaloupe.

Cut melon into 1/4-inch-thick wedges and discard rind.

Spoon basil oil onto 4 plates.

Arrange melon decoratively over oil and top with prosciutto.

Sprinkle melon and prosciutto with pine nuts and cheese. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Calamari Risotto

Calamari Risotto


1 lb cleaned squid
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 and 1/2 cups fish stock, or 2 (8-oz) bottles
Clam juice mixed with 3 cups water
1 and 1/4 cups Arborio rice (8 oz)
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Pat squid dry, then cut bodies lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips and quarter tentacles lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add squid strips and tentacles and saute, stirring constantly, until opaque and curled, about 1 minute. (Do not overcook, or squid will toughen.)

Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to catch juices squid releases.

Combine squid juices from bowl with fish stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Season with salt and keep at a bare simmer.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook remaining garlic, stirring frequently, until pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1 cup simmering broth mixture and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed.

Continue cooking at a strong simmer and adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still 'al dente' and creamy looking, 18 to 20 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)

Stir in squid and parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute.

Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Ginger Almond Biscotti

Ginger Almond Biscotti
Biscotti alle Mandorle e Zenzero


3/4 cup whole almonds with skins
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 300F.

Butter 11 by 4-inch loaf pan and line bottom with wax paper.

In a shallow baking pan toast almonds in middle of oven until a shade darker, about 10 minutes.

Cool nuts and very coarsely chop.

Finely chop crystallized ginger.

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

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together whole egg, egg white, and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture and beat until combined well.

Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.

Press dough into loaf pan and bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 45 minutes.

Turn loaf out onto a rack and cool 10 minutes.

On a cutting board with a serrated knife cut loaf crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

Arrange biscotti on a 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.

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:

The Little Civil Service Minister's Crackdown On Lazy Italians a Huge Success

Rome - January 12, 2008 - A crackdown on absenteeism among public sector workers has proven hugely successful and could raise Italy's GDP by a percentage point, Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta said on Monday.

"Absenteeism has plunged by 45%," Brunetta told a TV interviewer, stressing that "this means that we have some 100,000 more workers showing up every day".

"You can see the difference in schools, in hospitals, in (public) offices....but this is still not enough".

"I'm not taking a swipe at public workers. In fact, I would like them to take pride in their work, have them say: 'as a public worker I'm playing a fundamental role"'.

His comments came amid a flap over a remark made during the weekend that public workers were ashamed of their jobs, unlike workers at Ferrari.

"If someone is a teacher, a bureaucrat or clerk at the land registry office they're ashamed to say what job they do. Instead, if he can tell his son 'I'm a lathe turner at Ferrari, he does so with a smile, with pride and dignity".

The comments sparked an uproar in the center-left opposition and Communist Refoundation Party leader Paolo Ferrero urged him to quit.

According to Brunetta, if productivity increases by 20-40%, GDP would grow by a percentage point and "do its bit to help Italy overcome the credit crisis". The minister says his drive to increase the presence of staff in public offices means more service and a better quality of performance, with fewer queues and more offices open.

Brunetta's campaign against the so-called 'fannulloni', or slackers, has made him one of the most popular ministers in the center-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi. His crackdown followed publicity over public sector workers who were taking unnecessary sick leave, getting colleagues to clock on and off for them, or arriving at the office to stamp their own cards before leaving again.

The minister has also announced plans to introduce a reward system which will be based on how effectively workers do their job as well as the number of days they turn up for work. He has also set up badge-swipe turnstiles at the premier's office.

(20 phone rings later) "Ma porca vacca...customer service, who is it now?!"

Their motto: "Let's get nothing done and onward to the next cigarette."

"Absenteeism has plunged by 45%...this means that we have some 100,000 more workers showing up every day". Meanwhile, office supply thefts, sabotage, blackmail and extortion have increased by 45%. Nothing more dangerous like forcing 100,000 spiteful and vengeful Italians back to work.

"You can see the difference in schools, in hospitals, in (public) offices....but this is still not enough". Oh si! They work quite well, when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

And when one calls these toll-free numbers for public assistance and guidance and is fortunate to have someone answers, it's hard to get any coherent information. It would be helpful if they stop eating while talking. "Mamma mia", you can actually hear little chunks of food flying out of their mouths and into the little holes of the receiver.

The "little minister who could" should introduce a reward system for workers who do their job as well as the number of days they turn up for work. Start with the following incredibly competent public employees:

Absenteeism from Italian Parliament:

Gold Medal: Berlusconi 98.5%
Silver Medal: Verdini 93.8%
Bronze Medal: Pezzella 92.5%

"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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