04/01/14 Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

"Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare." (Eat to live and not live to eat.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce
  -Shells with Escarole, Sausage, and Cheese
  -Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

"Buongiorno amici!" Hope you're having a great time preparing your Italian recipes. Yes, you'll find lots of them out there, but ours are authentic Italian food recipes written by Italians living in Italy, many of them having been passed down from generation to generation. From the bottom of all our hearts, we hope you enjoy them.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce
Polpette in Salsa di Vino Rosso


One 6-ounce piece day-old French bread (generous 1/3 of 16-ounce loaf), crust left on, bread cut into 8 pieces
1 cup whole milk
1 and 3/4 pounds ground beef
2 large eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried summer savory

All purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups beef broth


Preheat oven to 350?F.

Combine bread pieces and whole milk in medium bowl, pressing on bread to submerge.

Let stand until milk is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Squeeze out most of milk from bread.

Discard milk.

Place bread in large bowl.

Add ground beef, eggs, finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, salt, pepper, and dried summer savory and mix well.

Transfer meat mixture to processor.

Process until well blended and mixture looks pasty.

Form mixture into 1 and 3/4-inch diameter meatballs (about 30).

Divide meatballs between two 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dishes.

Bake meatballs 30 minutes. Set meatballs aside.

Dust meatballs with flour.

Shake off excess.

Melt butter with olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, add meatballs to skillet and saute until brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.

Return all meatballs to skillet.

Whisk wine and tomato paste in small bowl to blend.

Add wine mixture to meatballs and bring to a boil.

Continue boiling until wine thickens slightly, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, reduce heat to medium and simmer until flavors blend and gravy thickens, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer meatballs and gravy to bowl.

Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Shells with Escarole, Sausage, and Cheese

Shells with Escarole, Sausage, and Cheese
Conchiglie con Scarola, Salsiccia e Formaggio


One 14 to 15-ounce head of escarole, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide ribbons (about 10 cups)
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces sweet Italian sausage (about 3 links), casings removed
1 large red onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons thinly sliced drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
8 ounces medium pasta shells (about 3 and 1/2 cups)


Cook escarole ribbons in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer escarole to strainer and drain, keeping water boiling.

Add pasta shells to boiling water.

Cook pasta shells until just tender, stirring occasionally.

Ladle out 1/2 cup cooking water. Reserve.

Drain pasta shells. Return to pot.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add sausage.

Saute until cooked through, breaking up with fork, about 5 minutes.

Add remaining olive oil, onion, and fennel seeds.

Saute until onion is almost tender, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, escarole, and reserved 1/2 cup cooking water.

Simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add sausage mixture to pasta.


Transfer to bowl.

Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup
Zuppa di Zucca Butternut e Salvia


For the Soup:
1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 garlic clove, minced
5 to 6 cups chicken stock or chicken broth

For the Breadcrumbs:
2 crustless slices fresh whole grain wheat bread, torn
4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage


Prepare the Soup:
Melt butter with olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add onions, parsley, and sage.

Saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add squash and coarse salt.

Saute until squash softens and onions are golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Add garlic.

Stir 1 minute.

Add 5 cups stock.

Bring to boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 25 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender, allowing some texture to remain.

Return soup to pot.

Thin with stock, if desired.

Season with pepper and more salt, if desired.

Prepare the Breadcrumbs:
Place bread in processor.

Blend until fine crumbs form but some slightly coarser crumbs remain.

Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add breadcrumbs and sage.

Cook until crumbs are crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Makes 6 servings.

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 With ZERO Income Found Driving A Ferrari

Rome - October 2, 2013 - A gallery in Rome has removed photos of same-sex couples kissing in churches after the Vatican threatened legal action.

The photos were covered after Orquin received a letter from the Vatican threatening legal action over the series.

Vicariate spokesman Claudio Tanturri told a local paper the photos infringed upon "the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith."

"Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual's religious feeling and the function of places of worship. Therefore photos that are not suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith."

"I didn't do it to provoke the Church, I did it to demonstrate a union between God and two people," Orquin said in defense of his work.

After receiving the letter and speaking with lawyers, Orquin covered the photos for "security reasons." Orquin, who is openly gay himself and has lived in Rome for nearly eight years, said he finds Italy to be "a very homophobic country".

Until the gallery's lawyers and the Vatican come to an agreement over the series, they will remain covered. Orquin has heard from many organizations around the world saying they would gladly show his art and take on the Church's threats.

Oh, they're going to drag this out until someone passes out from heat frustration.

"Scassapalle", it's just an art show in Rome. In this day and age, why does the Church still react to events like this like a deer caught in headlights?

Quite frankly, linguine overcooked by just 1 minute should be considered more scandalous and upsetting. It brings down the sauce, grated cheese, wine, lunch, company, mood, life, etc. See what we mean? Priorities, folks. Notice we just made you forget about some art show somewhere.

Regardless, we're here to help the Vatican again. Really.... Therefore, we suggest it should also look into shutting down "Free Sundays" at the Vatican Museums.

On the last Sunday of every month Vatican entrance is free.
Ah, we know. What incredible kindness!
Which cardinal should we thank for this? "Grazie!"

Normally, there are 2-3 hour waits on Sundays. But there are horror stories of tourists waiting up to 4 hours and never getting in on Free Sundays. Aside from the waiting, if you do get in, you have to make a mad dash through the maze of rooms in order to get to the overcrowded, hot and sweaty Sistine Chapel...because the museums close at 2 PM on Sundays! "Che palle!"

"Orquin, who is openly gay himself and has lived in Rome for nearly eight years, said he finds Italy to be a very homophobic country." Unfortunately, he is right. Most of us in Southern Italy have no patience for gay men...for the simple fact that they're all damn good looking and can basically have any woman they desire.

Gays make it hard on the egos of ugly Italian men who should only be observed through a long range telescope.

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