04/05/11 Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

"La pratica vale pi della grammatica." (Experience is the best teacher.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Frittata with Mint and Pancetta
  -Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
  -Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms and Eggplant

Ciao! A quick note of thanks for being a part of our growing kitchen community. We're over 9,500 members now. Remember, you started it. Hope you have a great week and enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e grazie!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Santo Trio

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 Recipe: Frittata with Mint and Pancetta

Frittata with Mint and Pancetta
Frittata con Menta e Pancetta


1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces pancetta cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped red onion

12 large eggs
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


Heat olive oil in large nonstick broiler proof skillet over medium heat.

Add pancetta and onion and saute until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Whisk eggs, 1/4 cup water, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Pour eggs into skillet with onion and pancetta.

Stir 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup chopped mint; stir 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to low and cook without stirring until almost set, about 10 minutes.

Broil frittata just until firm, about 1 minute.

Using spatula as aid, transfer frittata to serving platter.

Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped mint.

Cut frittata into wedges and serve. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Lasagne di Funghi e Carciofi con Besciamella


For the Filling:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Two 8-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry vermouth

For the Bechamel Sauce:
4 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 and 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 and 1/2 cups whole milk
2 and 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (about 7 and 1/2 ounces)
Ground nutmeg

One 9-ounce package oven-ready (no-boil) lasagna noodles
1 lb whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced


Prepare the Filling:
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms and garlic; saute until mushrooms release juices and begin to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add artichokes and vermouth.

Cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add flour; stir 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in milk.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens and lightly coats spoon, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups Parmigiano cheese.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg.

Prepare the Lasagna:
Spread 2/3 cup bechamel sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

Top with enough noodles to cover bottom of dish.

Spread 1/4 of artichoke mixture over.

Spoon 2/3 cup bechamel sauce over.

Top bechamel with 1/4 of mozzarella cheese.

Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese.

Top with enough noodles to cover.

Repeat layering 3 more times, finishing with a layer of noodles, then remaining bechamel.

Sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano cheese.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Bake lasagna covered with foil 1 hour (or 1 hour 15 minutes if chilled).

Remove foil.

Increase temperature to 450F.

Bake lasagna until golden on top, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms and Eggplant

Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms and Eggplant
Scaloppine di Vitello ai Funghi e Melanzane


1 lb eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup all purpose flour
12 2-ounce slices veal top round, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Madeira
1 tablespoon porcini powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


Place eggplant on 2 large baking sheets.

Sprinkle with salt.

Let stand 20 minutes.

Rinse under running water and pat dry.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, saute eggplant until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes per side.

Arrange decoratively on large platter.

Place flour on plate.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle veal slices with salt and pepper; dredge veal in flour.

Working in batches, saute veal until brown, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer to plate.

Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat.

Add sliced mushrooms and saute until brown, about 3 minutes.

Stir in cream, Madeira, and porcini powder.

Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.

Add veal to skillet.

Simmer until veal is heated through and coated with sauce, about 2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange veal in center of platter with eggplant.

Spoon sauce over veal.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. 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:

Italians Discover the Elixir of Life...For Men

Rome - October 5, 2010 - Italian scientists have found what they call 'an elixir of life', a cocktail of three amino-acids that makes mice live longer.

The study on male middle-aged mice, which appears in the latest edition of the journal Cell Metabolism, was conducted by Enzo Nisoli and Michele Carruba of Milan University.

With the three amino-acids in the mice's drinking water the animals lived an average of 869 days, some 12% longer than the average life span of 774 days. The animals' strength and stamina was also boosted, Nisoli and Carruba reported.

"The secret of the amino-acids could lie in their ability to increase the number of mitochondria, the 'electrical engines' in the cell, both in skeletal muscles and the heart," Nisoli said.

The researchers also noted an increase in the activity of a key gene linked to longevity, SIRT1. Nisoli, Carruba and their team are now looking ahead to replicating their findings with female mice.

In the future, they hope, clinical studies on middle-aged humans may be possible.

"It should prove an important contribution to ageing studies," they said.

On behalf of all Italian men, we would like to thank Enzo and Michele for the brilliant discovery. The notion of living longer absolutely thrills us...but is it necessary to have Italian women live longer? Why have the constant rattling in our heads from their voices last 12% longer?

Our imbecile editor, Pasquale, read this story and had some heart touching words for his wife:

"Amore, I love you more than anything else in the world but please...STOP AGING! If you get any older than this, I can't stay with you. Get some help! Per favore, call Ponce de Leon! I can't believe I'm married to a 40 year old!"

"And the unbelievable thing about all this is that I'm getting younger, better looking, and I'll soon be living 12% longer thanks to amino-acids and mice."

"Mamma mia", this discovery calls for a celebration, doesn't it? We'll be celebrating tonight with trays of roasted meat, a few bottles of homemade wine...and grappa (grappa: an elixir of petroleum).

"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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