05/06/08 Gnocchi with Tomato, Basil, and Olives from

"Fuggi da Foggia no per Foggia ma per i Foggiani." (run away from Foggia not for Foggia itself, but for the people of Foggia.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Salsa di Crema di Peperone Rosso
  -Gnocchi con Pomodoro, Basilico e Olive
  -Salsiccia al Pomodoro

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


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Salsa di Crema di Peperone Rosso

Salsa di Crema di Peperone Rosso
Red Bell Pepper Cream Sauce


3 large red bell peppers
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup whipping cream


Char peppers over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides.

Enclose in paper bag. Let stand 10 minutes.

Peel, seed and coarsely chop peppers. Transfer to processor.

Add pine nuts, Parmigiano cheese, olive oil and garlic and process until peppers are finely chopped.

Transfer mixture to large bowl.

Stir in whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Makes about 1 cup.

That's it!

 Recipe: Gnocchi con Pomodoro, Basilico e Olive

Gnocchi con Pomodoro, Basilico e Olive
Gnocchi with Tomato, Basil, and Olives


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pitted Gaeta olives or Cerignola or other large green olives
1 and 1/2 cups tomato sauce
6 quarts salted water
1 order prepared Gnocchi
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large, deep skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming.

Add the olives and cook, stirring, until sizzling, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring the salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.

Cook and drain the gnocchi according to the directions on package.

Bring the tomato sauce back to a simmer over low heat.

Add the gnocchi and stir gently with a wooden spoon until coated.

Stir in the grated cheese and basil.

Check the seasoning, transfer the gnocchi to a platter, and serve immediately. Makes 3 main-course or 6 first-course servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Salsiccia al Pomodoro

Salsiccia al Pomodoro
Sausage in Tomato


1 to 1 and 1/2 lbs fresh, sweet Italian sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
One 28-ounce can Italian-style peeled tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon or more hot red pepper flakes


Divide the sausage into links, if necessary, and prick them in several places with the point of a sharp knife.

Arrange the links in a deep 10-inch skillet or saute pan and place over medium heat with the olive oil.

Turn the sausage in the hot pan and, as some fat accumulates, increase the heat slightly and brown the sausage lightly all over. This takes about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary so the fat and the eventual brown film in the pan do not burn.

Pour or spoon off all the fat in the pan.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill directly into the pan with the sausage.

Season with hot pepper flakes. Salt is generally not necessary because the sausages are well seasoned.

Simmer gently for 30 to 35 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Use the sauce for spaghetti or ziti (there should be enough for 12 ounces) and pass the grated cheese.

Serve the sausage as a separate course with broccoli, broccoli di rapa, spinach, or another green vegetable. Serves 4.

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:

Not Exactly a Great Moment To Be a Woman in Italy

Rome - April 23, 2008 - Italian voters could have their reasons for returning to office the perma-tanned, long-in-the-bleached-tooth Silvio Berlusconi, but they might have given some thought to the rest of us. Now that Berlusconi is again leader of a G8 country, his thoughts and pronouncements are once more inflicted on an undeserving public, us.

Berlusconi is a man who glories in meaningless agitation. Not satisfied, it seems, to have fielded a team that included a dancer from one of his television networks and a fascist, publisher Giuseppe Ciarrapico, Berlusconi announced that right-wing women are "definitely more beautiful" than leftist women.

Where the correct response would have been to ignore this, Russian President Vladimir Putin waded right in. Putin, previously seen posing semi-nude with a fishing pole, replied that he personally thinks that Russian women are "the most talented and beautiful" in the world, adding in what one assumes he thought was a spirit of chivalry, that "if anyone can compete, it may be only Italian women."

Unfortunately, ridiculous as these men are, they are part of a ruling elite. When they talk, it's reported. What they say takes on automatic currency, maybe not everywhere, but there are still people who will take comfort from this nonsense.

When Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, appointed a majority female cabinet, Berlusconi made an issue of it. Zapatero "has formed a government that is too pink," the 71-year-old Berlusconi said. "That's something we cannot do because there is a prevalence of men in politics and it isn't easy to find women who are qualified for government. Now he's asked for it. He'll have problems leading them."

In 2008, a majority of women in a government cabinet is long overdue. It is not a cause for concern, or grounds to sneer.

Berlusconi's pointless provocation nonetheless succeeded in putting the women in the Spanish cabinet on the defensive. Magdalena Alvarez, Spain's infrastructure minister, said Berlusconi's statements were offensive.

"Many of us women would never belong to a government headed by Mr. Berlusconi," she was quoted as saying.

With attention diverted to the question of whether women should be in politics at all, it gets harder to focus on the real issue, which, in Italy, is their virtual absence. Italian women made up just over 15 per cent of the country's MPs in 2006; Spain at the same time had more than double that proportion of female parliamentarians; 36 per cent.

Now it's too pink? Berlusconi is not unaware that Zapatero made him look bad by appointing a majority female cabinet. Berlusconi now has promised to appoint four women to his 12-member cabinet.

Unlike in Spain, however, where a seven-months pregnant Carme Chacon is defense minister, the Italian women are expected to be placed in less prestigious ministries. According to news reports, Mara Carfagna, a Miss Italy finalist, might be given the equal-opportunities portfolio, a suitably female concern.

Italy lags behind the European average of 21 per cent female representation, figures from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show. Few countries in the world can boast anything like equality in their elected legislatures. In Sweden, women make up 47.3 per cent of national legislators; in Canada, they account for only 21.7 per cent.

If Berlusconi were really the last gasp of unreconstructed male chauvinism, his musings on the place of beauty in elected legislatures could be passed off as a local, self-inflicted problem.

But he isn't. Berlusconi's words still resonate. They create mischief, and harm. The question is out there: Must women be beautiful and stylish to earn the right to appear in public?

Women can say no. But let's at least identify the effort for what it is: A way of trying to keep women from power.

Here's a man who could balance the budget if he wasn't too busy making moronic statements and picking his nose.

Unfortunately, the poor showing of women in Italian politics is hardly surprising given how they fare in other aspects of life.

- Employment among Italian women stands at just 45 percent, among the lowest within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

- According to the yearly "Women to Watch" ranking published by the Wall Street Journal, an Italian did not appear in the list of the top 50 women in world politics, economics and culture, despite Italy being one of the G8 nations.

- On Italian television, bikini-clad brainless women sell everything from mobile phones to ice cream and skimpily-clad and well-endowed showgirls appear on talk shows, sometimes with idiotic and raunchy dance numbers.

- A 2006 study was realized by the Italian Association of Pediatrics (Sip) interviewing 1,251 children among 12 and 14 years old. When asked what they wanted to be when grown up, young girls had no doubts: their dream is to be a velina (a barely speaking/barely dressed stupid television showgirl). That was the most popular answer, followed by an embarrassing "I don't know".

- During an election rally, Silvio Berlusconi won an applause from a crowd of flag-waving Italian women when he urged them to cook for his party's candidates. "Cook for our party's representatives and make the sustenance as sweet as possible."

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