03/30/10 Chocolate Cake With Jam

"Botte buona fa buon vino." (A good cask makes good wine.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Barley and Kidney Bean Soup
  -Cannelloni With Bechamel Sauce
  -Chocolate Cake With Jam

Remember, food is our common ground, a universal experience. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Impt: Italian cookies for Mother's Day

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 Recipe: Barley and Kidney Bean Soup

Barley and Kidney Bean Soup
Zuppa d'Orzo e Fagioli


5 oz (150 grams) dried red kidney beans, soaked in cold water overnight and drained
5 oz (150 grams) barley
2 oz (50 grams) pancetta, diced
3 potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper


Place the beans in a saucepan, pour in 1 and 3/4 pints (1 liter) of water, bring to a boil and boil vigorously for about 15 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Heat the olive oil in another pan.

Add the pancetta, garlic and onion and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add the barley and 1 and 3/4 pints (1 liter) of water, bring to a boil, then simmer for another 2 hours.

Add the beans, with their cooking liquid, the tomato puree and potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for 1 hour, then ladle into a soup bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cannelloni With Bechamel Sauce

Cannelloni With Bechamel Sauce
Cannelloni Alla Besciamella


For the Bechamel Sauce:
2 oz (50 grams) oz butter
2 oz (50 grams) plain flour
18 fl oz (500 ml) whole milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper

For the Fresh Pasta Dough:
7 oz (200 grams) plain flour, (Italian type "00" is great, plus extra for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Cannelloni Filling:
1 slice cooked ham or prosciutto, chopped
7 oz (200 grams) roast veal, chopped
11 oz (300 grams) spinach
1 oz (25 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper 


Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Whisk in the flour.

Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil.

Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes. Bechamel sauce should not taste like flour.

Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with pepper and/or nutmeg.

If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk.

If too runny, return to the heat and add 2 slices of butter mixed with an equal quantity of plain flour.

Note: For a richer bechamel sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of double cream; for a lighter béchamel sauce, add half milk and half water.

Prepare the Fresh Pasta Dough:
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mound on a work surface.

Make a well in the center and add the eggs.

Using your fingers, gradually mix the flour, then knead for about 10 minutes (If the mixture is too firm, add a little water; if it is a bit soft, add a little extra flour.

Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface or use a pasta machine to make a thin sheet, and cut into large rectangles.

Prepare the Cannelloni:
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6.

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Cook the spinach, in just the water clinging to the leaves after washing, for about 5 minutes.

Drain well and pass through a vegetable mill.

Mix together with the roast veal, ham (or prosciutto), Parmigiano cheese and egg and season to taste.

Cook the pasta rectangles, a few at a time, in a large pan of salted, boiling water for about 5-7 minutes.

Drain on a small damp towel.

Put some of the spinach mixture and a little bechamel sauce on each rectangle and roll up from one long side.

Arrange the cannelloni in a single layer in the prepared dish.

Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over them and dot with the butter.

Bake for 20 minutes, then leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chocolate Cake With Jam

Chocolate Cake With Jam
Torta Al Cioccolato Con Marmellata


2 oz (50 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
3 eggs
5 oz (150 grams) caster sugar
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) plain flour, sifted
Whipped cream, to serve

For the Cake Filling:
7 oz (200 grams) apricot jam
2 tablespoons pineapple syrup
5 tablespoons rum


Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas Mark 3.

Grease a cake tin with butter.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking occasionally.

Beat the eggs with the sugar in another bowl, then stir in the flour and a pinch of salt.

Stir the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and continue to stir for about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool, then turn out.

Cut the chocolate cake in half horizontally.

Stir the jam well.

Mix the pineapple syrup with the rum in a bowl and sprinkle generously on both cake halves.

Spread one half with jam and top with the other.

Leave to stand for 1 hour before serving.

Serve the cake with whipped cream. 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:

Tomb in Rome Sells For Greedy Price

Rome - February 16, 2010 - A neoclassical tomb in Rome's monumental Verano cemetery fetched the price of a super luxury apartment in the city's first Web auction of other worldly assets.

The tomb, described as "classical style with decorative elements in white travertine and Carrara marble, able to house ten," drew a flood of buyers to an auction site, boosting its value from an asking price of 150,000 euros ($206,000) to a winning bid of 940,000 euros ($1.3 million).

"It's a crazy price, you could get prime real estate in the real world for that," said a delighted head of the Rome graveyard body Ama, Vittorio Borghini.

The successful bidder, who was not identified, can look forward to rubbing shoulders with literary luminaries like Alberto Moravia, Eduardo De Filippo, Grazia Deledda and Giuseppe Ungaretti; cinema legends Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Isa Miranda; composer Pietro Mascagni; and American philosopher George Santayana, famous for saying: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno hoped to raise some 2.5 million euros from the sell-off of 34 plots at Verano and two other historical graveyards, but the final take was 3.8 million.

The scheme has been such a hit that a repeat will be staged over the next six months, with 20 Verano tombs and ten others at Flaminio and Maccarese on offer.

The tombs were empty, no longer used, or belonged to people Ama was unable to trace.

Bidders were able to view their desired resting places on Google Earth.

"Most of the money will be going to the upkeep of Ama properties but some of the leftovers will be used on other municipal assets," Alemanno said.

Unlike most Italian graves, which have a relatively short sell-by date, the newly available tombs have a 75-year lease.

This is dedicated to any of you who wake up every morning and listen to the song, "I Woke Up and Went To Work", over and over.

$1.3 million...What a "faccia di culo!"
What did he have for breakfast because we're fascinated with him?

No one is shameful anymore. There is no shame in Italian society.
Why doesn't everyone in Italy just wear a shirt that says, "I'm stupid", and maybe that will satisfy everyone?

"The successful bidder...can look forward to rubbing shoulders with literary luminaries like Alberto Moravia, Eduardo De Filippo, Grazia Deledda and Giuseppe Ungaretti..." "Minchia", as if tourists and visitors are going to stop by and plop tulips on your majestic tomb too.

How angry would you be if you were one of these great writers or actors? You finally die, you go to heaven and you find out you have to rub shoulders for eternity with someone who probably made his fortune producing cement...and whose probably wearing an "I'm stupid" T-shirt?

"...American philosopher George Santayana, famous for saying: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

Those who can't remember they were a jackass in the past are condemned to repeat it.

"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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