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 05/26/09 Yogurt and Ricotta Cake from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Del senno di poi son piene le fosse." (Graves are filled with after-the-fact wisdom. Hindsight is always 20/20.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Risotto with Cream and Arugula
  -Sturgeon in Sweet and Sour Sauce
  -Yogurt and Ricotta Cake

All of us at the bakery here in Santo Stefano Quisquina sincerely hope you enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


 Italian cookies for Father's Day

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If you would like to order for Father's Day (June 21) please keep in mind the following deadline:
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 Recipe: Risotto with Cream and Arugula

Risotto with Cream and Arugula
Risotto Con Panna e Rucola

Ingredients:

For the Vegetable Stock:
3 cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 turnips, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped
Salt

For the Risotto:
12 oz (350 grams) risotto rice
Small bunch of Arugula, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) butter
6 fl oz (175 ml) single cream
5 tablespoons dry white wine
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated plus extra to serve
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Prepare the Vegetable Stock:
Place all the vegetables in a large saucepan, pour in 1.5 liters (2 and 1/2 pints) of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then strain into a bowl pressing down well on the vegetables with a wooden spoon.

Prepare the Risotto:
Bring the stock to a boil.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan.

Add the onion and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, until grains are coated all in butter.

Sprinkle in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.

Add a ladleful of the hot stock and cook, stirring until it has been absorbed.

Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take about 18-20 minutes.

Just before the rice is tender, stir in the Parmigiano cheese and cream.

Sprinkle with the arugula and season with and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve with extra Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sturgeon in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sturgeon in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Scallope di Storione Agrodolci

Ingredients:

7 fl oz (200 ml) milk
l lb and 5 oz (600 grams) sturgeon fillet, thinly sliced plain flour, for dusting
l oz (25 grams) butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
3 oz (80 grams) butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1-inch (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick
1 clove
7 fl oz (200 ml) balsamic vinegar
Salt

Directions:

Pour the milk into a dish, season the fish with salt and pepper add to the milk.

Drain and dust with flour.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add the fish and cook for 4 minutes on each side until evenly browned.

Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, place on a plate, cover and keep warm.

To make the sauce, melt the butter over a very low heat, add the sugar, cinnamon, clove and a pinch of salt and mix well.

Pour in the vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Remove and discard the cinnamon and clove.

Pour the sauce on to a warm serving dish, place the fish on top and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Yogurt and Ricotta Cake

Yogurt and Ricotta Cake
Torta allo Yogurt e Ricotta

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing
3 eggs
1/4 pint (150 ml) natural yogurt
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) cornflour
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) caster or superfine sugar
14 oz (400 grams) mild ricotta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

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

Grease a cake tin with butter.

Separate two of the eggs and beat the third in a small bowl.

Pour the yogurt into a saucepan, sift the cornflour over it and stir well.

Add the sugar and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Stir in the ricotta, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Stiffly whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl.

Stir the egg yolks into the ricotta mixture, then gently fold in the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the surface and brush with the beaten egg.

Bake for about 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin. 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:

Let's Pizza: The Pizza Vending Machine

Rovereto - March 14, 2009 - Is Europe bringing back the automat? Claudio Torghele hopes so.

Over the last decade, Mr. Torghele, 56, an entrepreneur in this northern Italian city who first made money selling pasta in California, has developed a vending machine that cooks pizza. The machine does not just slip a frozen pizza into a microwave. It actually whips up flour, water, tomato sauce and fresh ingredients to produce a piping hot pizza in about three minutes.

The machine, which Mr. Torghele calls "Let's Pizza", is only the spearhead of a trend. Restaurants reminiscent of the old Horn and Hardart chain in the United States, which are fully automatic, are also showing up around the Continent.

Unlike the old automats (the last Horn and Hardart closed in 1991), which were staffed with workers who refilled the machines with creamed spinach and baked beans as fast as customers pulled them out, these restaurants consist entirely of vending machines.

In Milan, a two-hour drive west of Rovereto, a franchise chain called Brekky has opened the first three of what is planned to be a large chain of restaurants in which customers can buy cold dishes like salads and sandwiches, and warm dishes like pasta, from vending machines.

The idea for a pizza robot came to Mr. Torghele after he worked in California in the mid-1990s creating a fresh pasta manufacturer. "At food courts I saw a trend toward vending machines," he said at his office in this mountain town. "In fast food, I saw pizza everywhere."

With backing from a Dutch investment fund, his own capital and money from friends, he set to work. A plan to simply miniaturize industrial technology for producing frozen pizza failed, but by 2003 Mr. Torghele had produced a machine ready to be tested in Chicago and shown at a trade fair in Orlando, Fla.

That same year, with the help of Unilever, the British-Dutch food giant, he test-marketed 20 machines in Germany. "We had a bicycle," he said. "Now we had to pedal."

The machine Mr. Torghele and his engineers produced is outfitted with little windows so the customer can watch the pizza being made. As in the Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times" (in miniature and without Chaplin) wheels turn and gears grind. The customer presses a button to choose one of four varieties - margherita (plain cheese and tomato sauce), bacon, ham or fresh greens. A plastic container dumps flour into a drum resembling a tiny washing machine; a squirt of water follows, and the drum goes into a spin cycle, forming a blob of dough that is then pressed flat to form a 12-inch disk.

Tomato paste is squirted onto the dough and cheese is added before it is lifted into a small infrared oven. The baked pizza then slips onto a cardboard tray and out into the customer's waiting hands. Mr. Torghele says the pizza will cost as little $4.50, depending on the variety.

It is not surprising that the new drive to offer fresh-made food is coming from Italy. Italians may be legendary for long lunches of pasta and wine, but they also lead Europe in vending machines, with more than 614,000 installed, compared with 593,000 in France and 562,000 in Britain, according to the European Vending Association in Brussels.

Much of Italy's strength in vending comes from coffee. An Italian coffee vending machine may offer up to 18 different varieties, including espresso, cappuccino, ristretto, lungo and macchiato.

But with coffee markets increasingly saturated, machine manufacturers are casting about for new products to push, like books, DVDs, scarves and handkerchiefs, even model cars and trains.

Operators are also increasingly offering fresh produce, like apples, and other healthy food at schools and fitness centers.

Now, with the economic crisis spreading across Europe, the industry faces a different landscape. On the one hand, as factories close, potential vending machine sites disappear. On the other hand, as consumers find themselves with less cash, the lower-priced items in vending machines become attractive.

Where does this leave Mr. Torghele and his pizza machine? Initially, he thought the United States would be his primary market, but he learned that market would be hard to penetrate. Instead, when his machine goes into regular production this summer, he will be focusing on Italy and its neighbors. But vending machine prices there average about $2,600, and his machine will sell for $32,000.

Still, experts in the business are not discouraging. "You have to have a location; you have to understand where to go with that machine," Mr. Iannuzzi said. "But there is a future for that."

"Porca vacca!" How sad. The only pizza worse than frozen pizza.

- A plastic container dumps flour into a drum resembling a tiny washing machine,
- a squirt of water follows,
- the drum goes into a spin cycle, forming a blob of dough,
- then pressed flat to form a 12-inch disk,
- tomato paste is squirted onto the dough,
- cheese is added,
- pie is then lifted into a small infrared oven,
- baked pizza then slips onto a cardboard tray and out into the customer's waiting hands.

'Fanculo, that's a lot of entertainment for $4.50!

The only thing more entertaining is watching the Italian inventor put on a straight face while explaining how fantastic it could be to eat a fresh cooked pizza from a vending machine. Keep in mind the infrared oven gives the pizza that extra special flavor.

Mr. Torghele, should take his invention a step further by adding a little atmosphere. Let's say...Naples:

Put money in the vending machine and it gives back the incorrect change. It plays loud Napolitano music from Nino D'Angelo while spinning and squirting your ingredients. After you finish your pizza, you throw out your cardboard tray and dirty napkins in the middle of the street.

Hmmm...The only positive we see coming from "Let's Pizza" is, at least, you won't have deal with an incoherent pizza man who mixes cement during the day and makes your pizza at night...all without ever washing his hands!

Let's hope the pizza won't get stuck and dangle there like a bag of chips, and you're forced to rock the machine back and forth.

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