04/05/16 Curried Penne Salad

"Pan di sudore, miglior sapore." Bread that comes out of sweat, tastes better. If you have to work hard for your bread, it will taste better than if you don't. Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Mushroom Puffs
  -Curried Penne Salad
  -Striped Bass in Acqua Pazza

"Buongiorno amici!" How was your Easter holiday weekend? Again, thanks for being a part of our growing Italian community. We're over 10,000 members now. Remember, you started it. Enjoy this week's recipes! More on the way in just a few days.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Mushroom Puffs

Mushroom Puffs
Sfogliatine con Funghi


11 oz (300 grams) mushrooms
9 oz (250 grams) puff pastry dough, thawed if frozen
6 cooked ham slices, halved
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) pine nuts
5 oz (150 grams) Fontina cheese, sliced
1 oz (25 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
Plain flour, for dusting
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200?C (400?F) Gas Mark 6.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter.

Slice the mushrooms and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Melt the butter in a frying pan.

Add the mushrooms and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes until tender.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.

Stamp out 4-inch (10-cm) rounds with a biscuit cutter or a glass.

Spread out the half-slices of ham and put a few slices of mushroom, a few pine nuts, a strip of Fontina cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper on each.

Fold in the sides to enclose the other ingredients.

Lay a ham bundle in the middle of each pastry round.

Fold the pastry over and crimp the edges to seal.

Arrange the puffs on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush with the egg yolk and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Curried Penne Salad

Curried Penne Salad
Penne In Insalata Al Curry


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Salad:
1 small cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) double cream
12 oz (350 grams) Penne pasta


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Salad:
Heat the olive oil in a pan.

Add 1 tablespoon of water, a pinch of salt and the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes until softened and translucent.

Stir in the curry powder and cook for several seconds.

Stir in the flour and cook for several seconds more.

Gradually stir in 7 fl oz (200 ml) of the meat stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Cook the Penne pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water until 'al dente'.


Pour into a serving dish and mix with the cream.

Leave to cool, but do not chill in the refrigerator.

To serve, spoon the curry sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the cucumber. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Striped Bass in Acqua Pazza

Striped Bass in Acqua Pazza
Branzino Striato in Acqua Pazza


Four (6-oz) center-cut striped bass filets, trimmed of belly flaps
12 sun-dried tomato halves
1/2 cup flour
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chardonnay wine
1 cup fish stock
16 nicoise or Kalamata olives
5 caperberries, drained and sliced
2 tbsp butter
Leaves from 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Soak tomatoes in a bowl of warm water until soft, about 25-30 minutes.

Drain and set aside.

Season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish.

Lightly dredge fish and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tbsp of the olive oil.

Add fish to skillet, skin side down, reduce heat to medium, and cook until skin is browned and crisp, 2?4 minutes.

Turn fish and cook until nearly opaque throughout, 4?9 minutes, depending on thickness of filets.

Transfer fish to paper towels to drain, skin side up.

Return skillet to medium-high heat.

Add remaining olive oil to skillet and fry garlic until lightly golden, 10?15 seconds.

Add pepper flakes and fry for a few seconds.

Carefully add wine and simmer, stirring often, until reduced by half, 3?4 minutes.

Add fish stock, olives, caperberries, and tomatoes and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in butter and simmer for another minute.

Stir in parsley.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return fish to skillet, skin side up, and simmer until warmed through. Serves 4.

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:

What the hell do you do with 629,000 official state cars?

Rome - February 6, 2015 - Civil Service Minister Marianna Madia stated in a Twitter post that in the next 10 days the number of chauffeured state cars (629,000 units) for bureaucrats must be cut.

"The relevant public administrations shall inform me on how they will adapt to the decrease in #autoblu," she wrote in a tweet.

The so-called 'blue state cars' currently used extensively by hundreds of agencies and departments has been a symbol of government excess.


The stats:

USA: 73,000
France: 65,000
Great Britain: 55,000
Germany: 54,000
Japan: 35,000
Italy: 629,000 (we win!)

First in the world ranking of chauffeur-driven "official state" cars!
First in the Guinness book of world records "della minchia"!

We demand that you congratulate us now and bow before our mighty legion of state automobiles!


"Do the Italian public administrations need hundreds of thousands of official cars?"

- "Si," because we have hundreds of thousands of incredibly important Italian officials that need to get to places. After all, these are individuals who make our 2,700-year-old country run smoothly and efficiently.


"Do they also need hundreds of thousands of chauffeurs driving them around?"

- "Si," but don't be mistaken. They are expert drivers who are quite capable at cutting you off, speeding, running red lights, following ambulances and using emergency lanes...all while calling up the office to make sure the espresso coffee machine is on and the pc hard drive is warming up.


"Can't they carpool or take mass transit? Who the hell do they think they are?"

- Careful, that's blasphemy. You forget these are Italians with stars shining over their heads, eager to manage exciting things. Their importance is as big as the Roman Empire so, it is only fitting they are escorted to their government fortresses in modern bullet proof chariots.


"Finally, a female minister with common sense and courage who will see that the number of state cars are cut!"

- Absolutely! We're looking forward to it. Then again...there's always that over-looming panic that she could possibly bite the hands that feed her. Her announcement came via a tweet and a fast trending hashtag #autoblu. Hopefully the "relevant" public administrations got the chance to catch the tweet on their Twitter feeds.

One of the minister's followers had more interaction with the following tweet: "Should I prepare three layers of #lasagna? Well, how about nine? Wouldn't that be better?"

"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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