04/18/05 Eggplant Parmigiano from

"Ciao! Come stai? Vi mandiamo tanti saluti da Italia" Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery.

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Caponata with Fennel, Olives and Raisins
  -Minestrone al Pesto
  -Eggplant Parmigiano

Try them for your next family dinner party!

We hope you enjoy the recipes in this week's issue and the complimentary news article report from "Only In" .

Enjoy the issue!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Sicilian Orange Almond Cookies

"Sicilian Orange" 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 with bits of candied Sicilian oranges, the freshest farm eggs, flour, and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors.

1 Kilogram (2.2 lbs.) is only 14.49 Euro ($18.25-$18.75) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 14.49 Euro plus 8.26 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 22.75 Euro ($28.75-$29.25 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Caponata with Fennel, Olives and Raisins

Caponata with Fennel, Olives and Raisins
Caponata is a Sicilian specialty typically served as a relish or side dish. It also works as an appetizer on bread rounds.


6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh fennel bulb (about 1 medium)
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/4 cups tomato sauce
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, bell peppers, fennel, and garlic; sauté until eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Add olives and raisins, then mix in tomato sauce and vinegar. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and simmer until caponata is thick and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Mix in basil. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve at room temperature. Makes 6 cups.

That's it!

 Recipe: Minestrone al Pesto

Minestrone al Pesto


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
2 tomatoes, peeled, crushed
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
6 tablespoons Classic Pesto
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add broth and next 7 ingredients. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in spinach; simmer 3 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into 6 bowls; garnish each with 1 tablespoon pesto. Serve, passing cheese separately. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Eggplant Parmigiano

Eggplant Parmigiano


2 1/2 lb medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
3 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 lb plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
3 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup)
1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced


Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes. While eggplant drains, cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes together in a 5-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together the bread crumbs and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in the bread crumbs until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 8 main-course servings.

Cooks' note: Tomato sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

Release of Acid Mafioso Revives Debate in Italy.

Reuters - Rome - May 19 - A Mafia hit man who strangled a young boy and dissolved his body in acid has been released and put under house arrest after five years in prison.

The decision, taken because the killer collaborated with investigations that led to the arrests of dozens of Mafiosi, was met with both disbelief and resignation, and revived doubts in Italy about the benefits bestowed on turncoats.

Giuseppe Monticciolo and two other hit men killed 13-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo in 1996 and dissolved his body in an acid bath in revenge against the boy's father, who had implicated mob bosses in the killing of a top anti-Mafia judge.

Monticciolo, a member of Sicily's notorious Cosa Nostra, confessed to the crime after he was arrested. He managed to escape to Kenya during the trial, but police convinced him to return to Italy where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

But on Tuesday, a judge granted the hit man house arrest after serving just a quarter of the sentence, thanks to his cooperation with investigators.

"Dissolves a boy in acid, and now returns home" read the headline of Il Giornale daily on Wednesday, adding that "the news landed like a bomb in Palermo".

Monticciolo, now 35, was the third person involved in the killing of Di Matteo to be released into house custody. As a detainee under house arrest, he will eventually be allowed to go outdoors a few hours a day.

"It's the price that has to be paid to beat the Mafia," said Palermo's chief prosecutor Pietro Grasso.

"I'm not going to talk about the judge's decision, but the law was made that way in order to get Mafiosi to collaborate with the State," he told Avvenire daily.

The favorable treatment of Mafia turncoats has caused controversy for years. Many prosecutors argue that they provide vital evidence that would otherwise be unobtainable from the Mafia, famed for their silence imposed by a "code of honor".

But critics say the so-called "pentiti" are unreliable witnesses.

"Grazie Grazie!" It's the Italian government that is unreliable!

Here's a short but frightening list of how Italy protects the Mafia:

1.) The substantial abolition of "Article 41 bis" - this law prohibited any type of communication between jailed Mafia convicts and the outside world. Now they can freely communicate and, rest assure, they're not exchanging ricotta cheesecake recipes.

2.) A revision of penal code procedures which eventually brought strict limits to the use of prosecuting accusations - defending lawyers can almost object anything public prosecutors say in court...including "Buon Giorno".

3.) No more state protection for witnesses who testify in Mafia trials - in other words, suicide.

4.) Blocked initiative to thoroughly check suspicious bank accounts and deposits - little old innocent farmers will not have to worry about their multi-million dollar earnings.

5.) An anti-mafia judge cannot serve more than nine years in the same Attorney General's Office - and if you do a great job, you'll be working for traffic court cases in one-horse towns.

"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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