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 05/01/07 Torta di Fragole e Pistacchio from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Un caloroso bentornati a tutti!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Grilled Polenta with Caponata
  -Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
  -Torta di Fragole e Pistacchio

All of us at the bakery sincerely wish everyone has enjoyed their Easter Holidays! Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

Enjoy the issue!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


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 Recipe: Grilled Polenta with Caponata

Grilled Polenta with Caponata

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and inner white ribbing removed, diced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and thinly sliced
8 slices firm polenta, about 2 inches wide
4 basil leaves

Directions:

Note: Salting the eggplant and letting it drain in a colander over the sink for 30 minutes helps draw out moisture and reduces its sometimes bitter taste.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the eggplant, and saute until very soft, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and keep warm.

In the same skillet add the onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and saute for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm a grill pan over medium heat. Brush it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and add the polenta slices. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Serve the eggplant mixture with the grilled polenta, and garnish with the basil leaves. Serves 4.

That's it!


 Recipe: Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

2 large green bell peppers
1/2 lb arborio rice
Salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh parsley, minced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 salted anchovy filet

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cut the peppers in half, clean the insides, wash them thoroughly and drop into a 1 small pot of boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pot and remove the skin.

Bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil, pour in the rice and boil for about 10 minutes; drain, place in a bowl, and add pinch of salt.

In a pan, pour 4 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, add the parsley and saute for 3 minutes. Pour over the rice, mix well and distribute it in 4 pepper halves.

In the same pan, pour 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and the butter, the garlic, and saute until browned. Remove from the heat.

Add the anchovy, and pass the mixture through a sieve. Bathe the rice with the juices that have been pressed through the sieve. Place the peppers in a buttered casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Serve either hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.

That's it!


 Recipe: Torta di Fragole e Pistacchio

Torta di Fragole e Pistacchio
Strawberry and Pistachio Cake

Ingredients:

2 oz (50 grams) unsalted butter
5 oz (150 grams) blanched pistachio nuts
6 eggs, beaten
5 oz (150 grams) superfine sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
5 oz (150 grams) plain white or Italian type 00 flour

For the filling and decoration:
12 oz (350 grams) fresh strawberries plus a few to decorate
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Marsala wine
1 pint (600 ml) heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease with butter and line two 8 inch (20 cm) round sandwich tins.

Finely chop the pistachio nuts. Melt the butter in a small pan and leave to cool.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until pale and thick enough to leave a ribbon-like trail for 8 seconds when the whisk is lifted.

Sift the flour and fold half into the egg mixture. Pour the cooled butter around the edge of the mixture and carefully fold in the remaining flour. Divide the mixture in half and spoon one half into one of the prepared tins. Fold 1 oz (25 grams) of the pistachio nuts into the remaining mixture and pour into the other tin.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cakes have just started shrinking from the side of the tins.

Cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To fill and decorate, thinly slice the 12 oz (350 grams) of strawberries. Sprinkle the Marsala wine over the plain cake, then split both cakes in half horizontally. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and divide into 2 portions. Set one portion aside.

Place a pistachio cake layer on a flat plate and spread over half of 1 portion of the cream. Add a plain cake layer, the strawberries, another pistachio cake layer and the remaining cream. Top with the plain cake layer.

Coat the top and sides of the cake with two-thirds of the reserved portion of cream. Lightly press the remaining pistachio nuts on the sides of the cake. Spoon the remaining cream, in blobs, around the top of the cake and decorate with the remaining strawberries.

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:

Senator Andreotti Amazingly Cleared of Italy Mafia Ties

October 15 - Rome - Italy's top court on Friday definitively cleared former prime minister Giulio Andreotti of charges that he had been the Mafia's political godfather in the corridors of power.

"Wonderful, wonderful," Andreotti said. "I am happy to have reached the end of this trial alive. Some people would have liked me to have died before but here I am."

In a ruling that was widely expected, the highest appeals court in Italy upheld the verdict of two previous trials in the Sicilian capital Palermo that had cleared the statesman.

Still, it marked the final end to a judicial saga that began in 1993 when Andreotti was first accused of having protected the interests of the international crime group.

"There is great satisfaction today," said Andreotti's lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno. "After 12 years the nightmare is finally over."

Andreotti, now a life senator who served as prime minister seven times, has always maintained his innocence. His name is synonymous with political survival and cunning in the land that gave the world Machiavelli. The statesman, who was known as "Mr. Italy" abroad because he held virtually all positions of power short of the presidency during his career, was first cleared by a Palermo court in 1999.

The most shocking allegation against Andreotti had been that he had exchanged a kiss of respect with "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina, then Italy's most wanted man. Riina was arrested in 1993.

Palermo magistrates appealed but they lost again at a second trial that ended last year.

But the second Palermo verdict, which the Rome court confirmed on Friday, said that all accusations regarding his activity before 1980 would be automatically put aside because of a statute of limitations.

Opponents of the life-senator said this would always leave a shadow of doubt over his political career.

Much of the prosecution evidence was uncorroborated testimony from Mafia turncoats whom Andreotti accused of trying to settle old scores against him by lying in court.

LAST HURRAH FOR "ETERNAL GIULIO"

Friday's high court ruling was a personal vindication for Andreotti, a devout Catholic who goes to mass every day and has been a friend of every pope since World War II.

Last year, the same high court in Rome definitively cleared Andreotti of a charge of ordering the Mafia to kill a scandal-sheet journalist in 1979 because the reporter was about to publish material that could have harmed his career.

Italians call Andreotti "the eternal Giulio" because of his political longevity and few can remember a time when he was not on the national stage.

Andreotti was a living symbol of the now-defunct Christian Democrat (DC) party that ruled Italy for nearly half a century until it collapsed in a blaze of corruption scandals in the early 1990s.

Supporters say he helped transform Italy from a war-devastated agricultural backwater to an industrial power.

Critics have accused him of having been the quintessential back-room political wheeler-dealer in the post-war period.

A prolific writer of books and articles, Andreotti attended many hearings of all his trials, which he was not bound to do by Italian law, and took copious notes.

"Colpevole!"

Well, he might be innocent...and people from Calabria might be level-headed.

Andreotti: "I am happy to have reached the end of this trial alive." Hmmm...We don't know if he's referring to his old age or from avoiding being knocked off.

Known as "Mr. Italy" abroad because he held virtually all positions of power short of the presidency during his career. He forgot to run for Pope.

Andreotti had allegedly exchanged a kiss of respect with "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina. It's not true. It was a kiss of passion and love (with tongue).

Rome court confirmed that all accusations regarding his activity before 1980 would be automatically put aside because of a statute of limitations. God only knows who the hell he was kissing on New Years' Eve of '79.

A devout Catholic who goes to mass every day and has been a friend of every pope since World War II. Oh, what a surprise... Then Mr. Italy deserves the right to be buried under St. Peter's at the Vatican.

Italians call Andreotti "the eternal Giulio" because of his political longevity. The "eternal pecker head" first ran for public office when he picked his nose in front of his third grade classmates.

Andreotti was a living symbol of the now-defunct Christian Democrat (DC) party that ruled Italy for nearly half a century until it collapsed in a blaze of corruption scandals in the early 1990s. When he saw that blaze coming, he got on a jackass, rode out of town and when to play "bocce" somewhere in Cosenza.

In conclusion, we would like to add the following keen observation; "At least no money was stolen during the trial!"

"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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