"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!
This week's Italian recipes:
Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".
Enjoy the issue!
"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.
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 ($30.50-$31.00 U.S. Dollars).
Salsa di Pomodoro alla Siciliana
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and then brown the pork lightly. Remove pork and set aside.
Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the hot olive oil. Cook until translucent, but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and bay leaves and fry the paste, stirring constantly. Mix the onion and garlic into the paste as you stir. The paste will burn quickly so keep stirring and maintain the heat fairly low, just to keep the paste simmering.
Once the onion and garlic is mixed into the paste and it is fried (about 6-7 minutes), add the Italian plum tomatoes, through a course sieve. Keep rubbing the tomatoes through the sieve until all the pulp is gone into the pot and you are left with a dry seed mass in the sieve (discard the seed mass).
Add one can of water for each can of paste (use the paste can as a measuring tool). Then add all of the remaining ingredients and return the pork back into the sauce.
Lower the heat until the pot is barely simmering. Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring frequently. Stir from the bottom up and frequently. If the sauce gets to thick, add some water. If it is not thickening enough, remove the lid and turn up the heat slightly. Stir from the bottom to avoid scorching the sauce.
When done, there will be no raw tomato taste and no evidence of the onion nor garlic; just a smooth red sauce.
Remove the pork and save it for future use.
Use the tomato sauce on any dish calling for tomato sauce. Servings: 1 quart
Pasta e Lenticchie
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the lentils and cook. Keep covered over medium high heat until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.
If using thin spaghetti or capellini, break them into 2 to 4 inch pieces and add them to the lentils.
Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to that point. If using a small tubular pasta or pasta mista, cook the pasta at least half way in plenty of salted, boiling water.
Drain the pasta, add it to the lentils and simmer to finish cooking the pasta.
When either pasta is cooked to taste, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the parsley, cover the pot and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve hot, passing hot pepper oil or the best quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling on top. Serves 4.
Crostata di Arancia
For the Pastry:
Pour the orange juice into a saucepan and boil gently until reduced to 8 fluid ounces (250 ml). Leave the juice to cool slightly whilst making the pastry.
To make the pastry, put the flour into a food processor or large bowl. Dice the butter, add to the flour and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and egg and blend until the mixture forms into a ball.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry and use to line an 8 inch (20 cm) deep-sided, loose-bottomed, fluted flan tin.
Chill the tart in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 400° F (200° C).
Put the tart tin on a baking tray, line with greaseproof paper or foil and weigh down with baking beans.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the sides of the pastry are crisp.
Remove the lining and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until the bottom is crisp.
Whisk together the cooled orange juice, orange zest, eggs, sugar and cream until well mixed then pour into the pre-baked pastry case.
Bake in the oven at 350° F (180° C) for 35 minutes until softly set.
Leave to cool before serving with "creme fraiche". Serves 8.
"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:
Romantic Berlusconi Amuses Italians Once Again
February 1 - "Dear Editor," began a letter published Wednesday on the front page of La Repubblica, the newspaper that Silvio Berlusconi hates most. The scalding letter demanded a public apology from Berlusconi and it was signed by his wife.
And so, a nation bored and a little down at its return to semi-normal politics woke to a truly juicy news cycle with an inescapable conclusion: In or out of power, Silvio Berlusconi may be reprehensible, but Italy cannot keep its eyes off him.
It turns out that the 70-year-old former prime minister, who recently had a pacemaker implanted, attended an awards ceremony last week and was overly friendly with two young and beautiful guests.
"If I weren't already married, I would marry you right now," he reportedly told one. And another: "With you I would go anywhere."
"These are statements I consider damaging to my dignity," wrote Veronica Lario, 50, who has been with Berlusconi for 27 years. She said his remarks could not be "reduced to jokes."
"To my husband and to the public man, I therefore ask for a public apology, not having received one privately."
In divining what this could mean, Italians barely knew where to start.
Feminists called it an overdue rallying cry to Italian women like Lario, who has endured years of supposed infidelity (and no end of crude sex jokes, as when Silvio Berlusconi opened a political conference by praising the legs of the women in the front row). Political analysts said Berlusconi, who wants a third turn as prime minister, could never again win the votes of women and so was finished.
Then in the early evening, Berlusconi, who can never be counted out, wrote his own public letter: "Your dignity does not matter: I will guard it like a precious material in my heart even when thoughtless jokes come out of my mouth," he wrote. "But marriage proposals, no, believe me, I have never made one to anyone.
"Forgive me, however, I beg of you, and take this public testimony of private pride that submits to your anger as an act of love. One among many. A huge kiss. Silvio."
In the end, it seemed an especially spicy episode in the long and complicated relationship not only between Silvio and Veronica, but between Silvio and Italy. The private drama of Italy's richest man, its shrewd, shady and irrepressible personification, became something public, possibly even relevant politically and psychically.
"We have for eight months a notably boring government," said Giuliano Ferrara, an editor and informal aide to Berlusconi, referring to the responsible and restrained stewardship of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who beat Berlusconi in elections last spring.
"And right now there is an explosion of strange and weird vitality, the heart that keeps on pumping. People miss very much that style. It's not healthy, but it's Italian."
Indeed, Italy's top three evening talk shows devoted their entire programs to an unusual public exchange of letters between a married couple. Beppe Severnigni, one of the most prescient commentators on Italian mores, quickly churned out a column for Corriere della Sera summing up its import.
"The man is a walking oxymoron, but it has not stopped him from working his way up," he wrote. "Why? Simple: because he embodies the Italian dream of being everything, of pleasing everyone (and indulging himself in everything), without giving up anything."
Perhaps all marriages are mysteries on some level, but the drama also shed light on one of Italy's most visible but ambiguous couples. They met in 1980, when he was a budding, and married, builder and she was a beautiful B-movie actress appearing in a play in Milan. He saw her onstage, the story goes, and fell deeply in love.
He left his first wife, married Lario and they had three children (he already had two).
He grew richer, entered politics in the mid-1990s, and the two seemed somehow together yet increasingly apart. No small amount of his public persona was linked to his constant, earthy joking about women and his mastery of them, amid rumors that monogamy was not
among his virtues.
"I lost my hair because I had too many girlfriends," he once said (he has since had implants).
Through it all, Lario remained largely silent, a fact she noted acidly in her public letter on Wednesday. "I chose not to leave space for marital conflicts, even when his behavior created reasons to do so," she wrote.
But not entirely: She made no secret over the years that her personal political views were more to the left than to her husband's right.
Maria Latella, an Italian journalist who wrote a biography of Lario, "Tendenza Veronica," recalled that during Silvio Berlusconi's first term as prime minister in 1994, a newspaper article appeared saying that every day he sent flowers to someone.
He contended they were to his wife. But Latella noted that Lario sent the newspaper a brief letter saying that, in fact, she never received flowers from Palazzo Chigi, the seat of government.
Lario also spoke candidly in the biography, saying that she rarely saw him but that she considered their marriage stable and herself "the perfect kind of wife for the kind of man Silvio is.
"He can concentrate on himself and his work knowing his wife won't create a fuss if he's away from his family," she said in the biography.
As fate would have it, on the very same day that Lario fired off her letter, part of an interview was published with her husband, also given to Latella for her magazine, A.
"She has never made me look bad, never, while the wives of certain other politicians," he said. "And then she is so indulgent. What more could I want?"
Ahhh! Viva Silvio!" The Presidente of Pepperoni; our hero!
This is not the first time he has "pooped plenty" when opening his mouth.
- At the launch of the 2006 campaign: "I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone." When he lost the 2006 elections by 24,000 votes, Jesus Berlusconi was quoted saying, "Father, forgive the Italians, for they know not what they do."
- At the Brussels summit, at the end of Italy's EU presidency, in December 2003: "Let's talk about football and women." (Turning to four-times-married German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.) "Gerhard, why don't you start?" What a way of blowing some sunshine up the German Chancellor's ass.
- On Italian secretaries (comments made at the New York stock exchange trying to entice a group of Wall Street executives to do business in Italy): "Italy is now a great country to invest in... today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries... superb girls." True! The superb secretaries will make you forget you're doing business with conscious-guilty ex communists.
- On himself: "I don't need to go into office for the power. I have houses all over the world, stupendous boats... beautiful airplanes, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family... I am making a sacrifice." This is dedicated to any of you who work hard for a living. Makes you want to pour your breakfast over your head, doesn't it?
- In the wake of September 11: "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and - in contrast with Islamic countries - respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its value understanding of diversity and tolerance...
"The West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilization, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1,400 years ago." It has been said that everyone at the United Nations threw up simultaneously afterwards.
His response to worldwide condemnation of the above speech: "They have tried to hang me on an isolated word, taken out of context from my whole speech."
"I did not say anything against the Islamic civilization... It's the work of some people in the Italian leftist press who wanted to tarnish my image and destroy my long-standing relations with Arabs and Muslims."
- At a rally during the 2006 election campaign: "Read The Black Book of Communism and you will discover that in the China of Mao, they did not eat children, but had them boiled to fertilize the fields." Brilliant. Even the Chinese realize this chuckle-faced historian hump is more irresponsible than himself.
Amaretto Almond Cake
Vitello alla Capricciosa
Focaccia alla Fiorentina
Mattone al Cioccolato
Pollo alla Marinara
Tagliatelle Ai Funghi Porcini
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