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 04/29/08 Apricot and Cherry Crostata from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Più facile a dirsi che a farsi." (Easier said than done.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Polenta alla Parmigiana
  -Risotto con Asparagi, Porri e Prosciutto
  -Crostata di Albicocca e Ciliegia

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

Arrivederci!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


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 Recipe: Polenta alla Parmigiana

Polenta alla Parmigiana
Parmigiano Polenta

Ingredients:

9 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
3 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Bring chicken stock to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium.

Gradually whisk in cornmeal.

Cook until cornmeal is very soft and mixture is thick and creamy, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Stir in Parmigiano cheese and butter.

Season polenta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve. Serves 8.

That's it!


 Recipe: Risotto con Asparagi, Porri e Prosciutto

Risotto con Asparagi, Porri e Prosciutto
Risotto with Asparagus, Leek and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
5 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 and 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 ounces prosciutto, minced (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Cook asparagus in pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Transfer asparagus to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain.

Bring broth to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

Add leek and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup hot chicken broth. Reduce heat and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently.

Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 30 minutes.

Add asparagus and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in prosciutto, Parmigiano cheese and parsley.

Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!


 Recipe: Crostata di Albicocca e Ciliegia

Crostata di Albicocca e Ciliegia
Apricot and Cherry Crostata

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (about) ice water

For the filling:
7 large apricots (about 15 ounces)
1 cup halved pitted cherries (from about 10 ounces cherries)
1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup apricot preserves

Directions:

Prepare the crust:
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor.

Add butter; cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Blend in water by tablespoonfuls until moist clumps form.

Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic to 11-inch round.

Remove top sheet of plastic from dough and invert dough onto 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Remove second sheet of plastic.

Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Fold excess dough in, forming double-thick sides.

Pierce dough all over with fork. Freeze 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Bake crust until set but still pale, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 25 minutes.

Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Prepare the filling:
Blanch apricots in pot of boiling water 1 minute.

Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Peel, halve and pit apricots.

Cut each apricot half into 3 wedges. Arrange, rounded side down, in crust. Arrange cherries over and around apricots. Sprinkle sugar over.

Bake tart until apricots are tender, about 50 minutes.

Transfer to rack.

Stir apricot preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted.

Strain. Brush strained preserves over fruit in tart.

Remove pan sides from tart.

Place tart on platter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serves 6.

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:

Italy Confiscates Phoney Olive Oil

Rome - April 22, 2008 - Italian police have arrested 25 people in the south of the country suspected of selling adulterated vegetable oil as extra virgin olive oil.

Police say sunflower oil was mixed with chlorophyll and beta-carotene to give it olive oil's characteristic color.

Some 15,000 cans, 33,000 labels, 2,800 one-liter bottles of oil and 250 kg of chlorophyll were also seized, along with seven olive oil factories.

Italy is Europe's second-largest producer of olive oil, behind Spain.

"We have confiscated 25,000 liters of this oil, a large portion of which was on the verge of being exported, mainly to the US and Germany," police spokesman Antonio Citarella told news agencies.

The scam involved some 39 people, 14 of whom have been placed under house arrest, who produced olive oil sold under various brands.

The investigation began in October 2006 after several complaints about the quality of olive oil sold in markets in the northern town of Turin.

According to news sources, cheap vegetable oil was purchased from the US and colorants added to bring its color closer to that of real olive oil.

The head of a local consumers' association complained that olive oil was simply the latest food scare to hit Italy.

"After wine and mozzarella, now olive oil - another of our country's specialities - is at the center of a scandal," Primo Mastrantoni was quoted as telling news agencies.

"Ma, che cazzo c'è in quest'olio?"

Sunflower oil?
Chlorophyll?
Beta-carotene?

It seems the only feature missing from this incredibly delicious olive oil is a portrait on the bottle/canister of a Pugliese with his shirt half-buttoned, picking olives, and proudly smiling with half of his teeth missing.

"Porca puttana", these people should be beaten every time they go near an olive tree.

The best way to protect yourself against criminal olive oil is to hold several taste tests:

- Take a plain piece of bread and drizzle olive oil on it.
- Try to concentrate on the taste of the oil.
- Compare different oils from time to time.
- You will learn to recognize the distinctive taste of olive oil as compared to vegetable oils.

You should also purchase olive oil produced by a single estate and local mills and NOT by large multinationals. These oils are usually found in better supermarkets and gourmet food shops.

If by chance you try an olive oil and the first thought that comes to mind is the fact your car is overdue for a lube job then, most likely, the olive oil is not genuine. Pass the garbage on to that lovely neighbor/relative/pain-in-the-ass who claims to have been born an Italian food connoisseur.

"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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