04/12/16 Vegetable Soup with Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, and Potatoes

"Lu vino buono se venne senza frasca." (Good wine can be sold without needing to cool it.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Vegetable Soup with Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, and Potatoes
  -Roasted Cauliflower with Black Olives and Bread Crumbs
  -Calamari Salad with Chickpeas and Lemon Garlic Sauce

"Ciao a tutti!" Spring afternoons and spring evenings: they're what one truly deserves after weathering the storms of winter. Hope you enjoy these new Italian recipes, perfect for the not-too-hot but not-too-cold spring season. From the bottom of all our hearts, we hope you enjoy them. Stay tuned for more are on the way.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Santo Trio

"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.

900 grams (2 lbs.) is only 16.99 Euro (19.50 - 20.00 U.S. Dollars) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 16.99 Euro plus 8.70 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (8-11 days) for a total of 25.69 Euro (31.25 - 31.75 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Vegetable Soup with Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, and Potatoes

Vegetable Soup with Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, and Potatoes
Zuppa di Verdure con Peperoni, Broccoli Rabe e Patate


About a pound of broccoli rabe
1 and 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes
1 large red bell pepper or 2 smaller ones
2/3 cups chopped onion
2-4 cups meat broth
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp butter
Fine sea salt
Fresh black ground pepper


Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Wash the potatoes in cold running water.

Drop them into the pot, and cook at a steady, moderate boil, about 30 minutes or more, depending on the size and youth of the potatoes.

Drain and let cool a bit.

Pull off the peels and mash the flesh through a potato ricer.

Set aside until they are ready to be added to the soup.

Cut off the tops of the broccoli rabe and put them away for future use.

Peel off the tough dark green rind that surrounds the stems.

Wash the broccoli in cold water.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil.

Add the stems, and cook them until tender.

Drain and cut into pieces about 2 inches long.

Cut the red pepper lengthwise along its creases.

Remove the stem, seeds, and pithy core.

Skin with a swivel-blade vegetable peeler.

Cut it into narrow strips about 2 inches long.

Place the olive oil, butter, and chopped onion into a saucepan.

Turn on the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes a pale gold color.

Put in the broccoli.

Turn once or twice to coat well, and cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Add the pepper strips and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the potatoes to the pan.

Stir well, adding salt and several grindings of black pepper.

Pour enough meat broth into the pan to achieve the consistency you desire.

Cook at a steady, slow simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Taste and correct for salt. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Black Olives and Bread Crumbs

Roasted Cauliflower with Black Olives and Bread Crumbs
Cavolfiore Arrostito con Olive Nere e Pangrattato


1 head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into large florets
1/4 cup Italian oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375?F.

Toast bread crumbs on a sheet pan in oven until golden brown, about 6?8 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside to let cool.

Increase oven temperature to 450?F.

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add cauliflower and stir to coat with the olive oil.

Cover with a heavy lid slightly smaller than the diameter of the skillet to weight down florets and press firmly.

Cook cauliflower until dark brown, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking every 2 minutes or so for color. If florets get too dark too quickly, reduce heat to medium.

Transfer skillet with lid to oven and cook until cauliflower is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 5-7 minutes.

Place cauliflower and any juices into a large bowl.

Add olives and bread crumbs.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss well and adjust seasonings. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Calamari Salad with Chickpeas and Lemon Garlic Sauce

Calamari Salad with Chickpeas and Lemon Garlic Sauce
Branzino Striato in Acqua Pazza


2 lbs fresh squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1 and 1/2-inch wide rings and tentacles left whole
3/4 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
10 cups (about 4 oz.) wild chicory , washed and dried
1/2 - 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 tbsp peanut oil
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Place chickpeas, 4 cups water, and 1 pinch salt into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Poach chickpeas until tender, 30?60 minutes, depending on freshness of chickpeas.

Let chickpeas cool in the cooking liquid.

Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid.

Preheat oven to 375?F.

Toast bread crumbs on a sheet pan in oven until golden brown, about 6?8 minutes.

Smash garlic with the side of a kitchen knife, then crush it to a coarse paste with a mortar and pestle.

Add yolks, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and pepper and stir with the pestle until mixture is emulsified.

Add 8 tbsp of the olive oil, slowly, stirring constantly with pestle until emulsified.

Add 2 tbsp of the peanut oil and repeat process. The sauce's consistency will be loose.

Stir in 1 and 1/2 tsp hot water to stabilize.

Adjust seasonings.

Place chicory into a large bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.

Add one-third of the remaining olive and peanut oils, swirling them in skillet.

Carefully add one-third of the squid and cook, stirring often, until just cooked through, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to a plate.

Repeat process twice with remaining oils and squid.

Add chickpeas and cooking liquid to skillet and bring to a boil.

Add sauce and cook, stirring until thickened, about 6-8 minutes.

Stir in remaining lemon juice.

Remove skillet from heat.

Add squid, and toss to warm through.

Add squid to bowl with chicory and toss until chicory wilts.

Adjust seasonings.

Divide salad between 6 plates and scatter bread crumbs on top. 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:

What would Jesus think of the free haircut & shave at the Vatican?

Vatican City - January 29, 2015 - The homeless will soon be able to use not only hot shower and toilet facilities but also a barber service in the Vatican.

Haircuts and shaves will be available to the poor and homeless free of charge on Mondays, the day on which barber shops and hairdressers in Italy are usually closed, starting on February 16 under the auspices of the Office of Papal Charities.

The service will be provided by volunteer barbers who have already donated razors, scissors, brushes a mirror and a barber's chair toward the effort.

God bless pope #266! A pope who's trying to bring hope. He's living the part, trying his best to reorganize that Vatican and bring some moral order to it.

It's nice to hear the so-called Office of Papal Charities are taking never seen before initiatives...but they've been mediocre so far. The holy salon service caught world attention and brought much needed publicity, but what about their other fabulous initiatives like:

   - Giving out 400 sleeping bags to the homeless over Christmas (what happens when a Vatican employee finds a great going-out-of-business sale with a sporting goods store on Ebay),

   - Distributing 300 umbrellas left by tourists in the Vatican Museums ("fanculo!", when it rains, it pours! From the holy coat check room to the holy "lost and found" to you on the know, for keeping dry in your sleeping bag when it rains).

On a happy note, the Vatican did warm the hearts of many Catholics and non with the salon service, which, by the way, is paid for by donations...and the sale of papal blessings (6 to 30 Euros each).

We know what you're thinking, "Oh, cazzarola, I have to get a blessing from the Pope and announce it to everyone!"

Slow down...there's no blessing involved. A blessing is just a holy word for personalized lettered scrolls on parchment, marking milestones like baptisms or marriages. Most of it is computer generated and include a photograph of the pope, flower designs, sketches of Rome churches and script lettering. The closest it comes to being considered blessed by the Pope is if he happens to be within a 500 meter radius of the closet where the parchment is stored.

And regarding those volunteer barbers who you'll be seeing at the Vatican, rest assured they're super fans of Christ.

The ones with a huge picture of the Blessed Mother in their barber shops...hanging over the jar with the combs in the holy blue water.

"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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