06/10/08 Risotto with Squash and Leeks from

"Al contadino non far sapere quanto buono il cacio con le pere." (Don't let the peasant know how good the cheese with the pears is.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Penne con Basilico e Prosciutto
  -Risotto di Calamari
  -Risotto con Zucca e Porri

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


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Penne con Basilico e Prosciutto

Penne con Basilico e Prosciutto
Penne with Basil and Prosciutto


8 ounces Penne pasta
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (4 to 5 slices)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/3 cup)


Fill a 4-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for penne.

Cut prosciutto into thin strips and tear basil into pieces.

Stir penne into boiling water and boil until 'al dente'.

Drain pasta in a colander and in a large bowl toss hot pasta with olive oil, prosciutto, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

That's it!

 Recipe: Risotto di Calamari

Risotto di Calamari
Squid Risotto


1 lb cleaned squid
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 and 1/2 cups fish stock, or 2 (8-oz) bottles
Clam juice mixed with 3 cups water
1 and 1/4 cups Arborio rice (8 oz)
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Lemon wedges


Pat squid dry, then cut bodies lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips and quarter tentacles lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add squid strips and tentacles and saute, stirring constantly, until opaque and curled, about 1 minute. (Do not overcook, or squid will toughen.) Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to catch juices squid releases.

Combine squid juices from bowl with fish stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and keep at a bare simmer.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook remaining garlic, stirring frequently, until pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1 cup simmering broth mixture and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed.

Continue cooking at a strong simmer and adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still 'al dente' and creamy looking, 18 to 20 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)

Stir in squid and parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute.

Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Risotto con Zucca e Porri

Risotto con Zucca e Porri
Risotto with Squash and Leeks


1 large butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups (about) chicken stock or chicken broth

3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add leeks and saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.

Add rice; stir 1 minute.

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

Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently.

Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer.

Add roasted squash, cream, Parmigiano cheese and sage; stir until heated through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm. Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.

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 Loses More Water Than It Delivers

Milan - January 24, 2008 - The ancient Romans may have mastered the art of building impressive aqueducts to deliver water across their empire, but modern day Italian engineers seem to be struggling with water retention, a study shows.

The aqueduct serving Puglia, the important agricultural region that forms the heel of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula, is riddled with so many holes that it leaks more water than it delivers, according to a study by Italian investment bank Mediobanca.

The 102-years-old Acquedotto Pugliese, Europe's largest with about 16,000 kms (10,000 miles) of conduits, loses 50.3 percent of the water it carries.

Overall Italy wastes 14 percent more water than France, 36 percent more than Spain, 56 percent more than Britain and 311 percent more than Germany, the study said.

The Puglia aqueduct is so important because the region produces wine, olives and a vast array of vegetables, nuts and grains, but average rainfalls can be a third less than those in northern Italy.

In contrast to the Acquedotto Pugliese is the aqueduct serving the northern Italian city of Milan. It was rated the most efficient in the country, losing only 10.3 percent of its contents en route, Mediobanca said.

The conduits serving Rome lose 35.4 percent of their water.

"Acqua, per favore, ACQUA!" These brilliant engineers should struggle with personal water retention just to teach them a lesson.

10 Water Saving Tips From One Italian to Another:

1.) Check for hidden water leaks. Read the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. Our solution: Purchase and install a faulty meter that only reads a third of the water consumed (available at your local open air market).

2.) Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted. Our solution: Throw it out the window. It appeared to have worked in Naples for a number of years until the situation got slightly out of hand.

3.) Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators. Long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. Our solution: Take your showers at a relative's home (make sure to bring a small gift like a bunch of garden vegetables or fruit).

4.) Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush. There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing. Our solution: Don't brush your teeth.

5.) Rinse your razor in the sink. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water. Our solution: Don't shave. Beards have been part of the Italy fashion trend since the days of the Red Brigades.

6.) When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing. If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water. Our solution: Eat all you want on disposable plates and cups.

7.) Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water. Our solution: Use the faucet in your neighbor's yard.

8.) Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Our solution: 95% of Italians (including the Pope) drink purchased bottled water.

9.) Water your lawn only when it needs it. A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Our solution: Install faulty meter (see tip 1) and build a homemade and illegal water reservoir in your backyard. Afterwards, water your lawn whether it needs to be or not.

10.) Don't run the hose while washing your car. Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing - this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Our solution: Drive your car, tractor, horse, cow, etc., to any public water fountain and attach a hose.

"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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