04/13/10 Ligurian Musky Octopus

"Dai nemici mi guardo io, dagli amici mi guardi Iddio!" (I (can) protect myself from my enemies; may God protect me from my friends!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tomatoes Stuffed With Pecorino
  -Ligurian Musky Octopus
  -Vegetarian Lasagna (Gluten Free)

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

Cookies from Italy is a great way to say Happy Mother’s Day with fresh Italian cookies shipped worldwide. Return the favor to mom for so many years of baking and cooking.

If you would like to order for Mother's Day (May 9) please keep in mind the following deadline:
All orders must be placed by Friday, April 30, at midnight EST.

Click here to order!

 Recipe: Tomatoes Stuffed With Pecorino

Tomatoes Stuffed With Pecorino
Pomodori Ripieni Al Pecorino


8 tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
7 oz (200 grams) mild Pecorino cheese, crumbled
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) mature Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
Large pinch of dried oregano
Salt and pepper


Cut off the tops of the tomatoes.

Scoop out the tomato seeds and some of the flesh, sprinkle with salt and turn upside down on kitchen paper to drain for 30 minutes.

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

Brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil.

Put both the cheeses in a bowl and stir in the olive oil.

Add the oregano, a pinch of pepper and salt to taste if necessary.

Spoon the mixture into the tomato 'shells', place in the prepared dish and bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve warm. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Ligurian Musky Octopus

Ligurian Musky Octopus
Moscardini alla Ligure


3 and 1/4 lbs 1.5 kgs musky octopuses, cleaned
3 onions
1 and 3/4 pints (1 liter) white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 fresh sage sprig
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper


Cut the octopuses into pieces unless they are very small.

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add one of the onions, 2-3 tablespoons of the vinegar and the octopuses and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Drain and set aside.

Thinly slice the remaining onions.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic, sage and bay leaf and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Pour in the remaining vinegar, remove and discard the garlic and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pack the octopuses in layers in ajar and pour in the warm vinegar to cover.

Close the jar tightly and keep in a cool place. Musky octopuses prepared in this way keep for quite a long time. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Vegetarian Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Vegetarian Lasagna (Gluten Free)
Lasagna Vegetariana


1 box brown rice lasagna noodles (10 to 12 noodles)

For the Lasagna Filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 Portobello mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lb chopped fresh spinach (or frozen or thawed)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes, or to taste
2 rounded tablespoons golden raisins
1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
1 cup jarred red and yellow roasted peppers, drained, chopped
One 1 lb container partly skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
Dash of nutmeg

For the Sauce:
One 28 oz can organic tomatoes with juice
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon brown sugar or molasses
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
Sea Salt and ground pepper, to taste

For the Topping:
4 to 6 oz fresh or garlic marinated mozzarella
Chopped fresh Italian parsley


Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large food processor and pulse until smooth.

Bring a large pot of fresh salted water to a boil and place the noodles in the pot, gently bending them into the simmering water as they soften.

Cook for few minutes until softened but not quite done. You want them slightly tender and 'al dente'. They will continue to cook when you bake the lasagna.

Drain well and separate.

Prepare the Lasagna Filling:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the garlic; cook for one minute.

Add the mushrooms and stir-fry gently for 5-7 minutes. Reserve eight of the slices of the lightly cooked mushrooms and set aside for the topping.

Add in the balsamic vinegar and toss lightly; add the spinach and stir to cook for a minute or two.

Season with nutmeg, sea salt and pepper and red chile flakes.

Add the raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers and stir to combine.

Simmer gently until the excess liquid reduces and evaporates. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the Lasagna Assembly:
Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a large lasagna dish and spread evenly.

Lay three noodles flat in the bottom of the pan.

Spoon the filling evenly over the noodles and press flat.

Top with three more noodles.

Spoon the cheese mixture onto the noodles and spread evenly. Add more shredded cheese if desired.

Top with three or four noodles.

Press gently to flatten.

Cover with the sauce and allow it seep in and around the edges.

Slice 4 to 6 oz of mozzarella and arrange the slices on the top.

Top with the remaining Portobello slices.

Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the noodles are fork tender and the filing is piping hot in the center.

Allow the lasagna to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 6 to 8 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:

Calling Someone a Coward A Crime

Rome - February 15, 2010 - It is a criminal offence to call someone a coward, Italy's supreme court of appeals said Monday. The Court of Cassation overturned the 2009 acquittal of a Sicilian man who used the word against neighbors during a condominium row.

In last year's decision, a justice of the peace ruled the word "vigliacco" ('coward') was not insulting because it "has become part of common usage".

But the high court disagreed, finding that the word was "still insulting even it has become widely used".

If a Sicilian man uses a word like 'coward' during a condominium row with no subsequent blood shed, then we highly recommend you invest in that Sicilian piece of real estate for it must be friendlier than Mister Roger's neighborhood.

So, if naming someone a "vigliacco" is no longer a "part of common usage" in Italy, how would one judge the following theoretical situations that could arise between loving Sicilian neighbors:

"Excuse me, Signorina 'zoccola' (prostitute, harlot), can you please tell your fatherless children there is no playing permitted in hallways, lobbies, or other common areas of the apartment building? They certainly could have grown to behave more appropriately if they were breast-fed instead of with a slingshot."

"Signore 'cazzone' (male anatomy), you are well aware that renters are not allowed pets in any of the apartment units. The tenants think they're living in deep Africa and are getting tired of walking around with mosquito nets over their heads."

"Signora, please tell your 'cacasenno' (smart-ass, know-it-all) of a husband no trash or garbage can is permitted in the hallways, patios, stairwells or landings at any time. We realize he has proven Darwin's theory wrong by letting evolution stop by your home to have a couple of drinks with him."

"Hey, Signorino 'rompicoglioni' (ball breaker), residents shall not nor permit any public nuisance or disturbance caused by loud music, stereo/television, partying, or from any other source that disturbs or annoys other residents. Yes, it's tough to get up for school after a vast consumption of cheap wine, pasta con le sarde (sardines) and stupidity but try to make an effort."

"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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 Adriana's Homemade Italian Gourmet Cookies; Italian gourmet almond, fig, pistachio and sesame cookies baked and shipped from our bakery in Italy to you; all natural, fresh, and baked to order. Great Italian recipes!

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