06/21/11 Lamb Stew with Leeks and Baby Artichokes

"Amico di tutti e di nessuno e tutt'uno" (A friend to all and a friend to none is one and the same.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fava and Tuna Crostini
  -Herbed Striped Bass with Horseradish Sauce
  -Lamb Stew with Leeks and Baby Artichokes

My bakery family and I are grateful for your participation with us through this newsletter. Thanks for everything you're doing and for your understanding. We will continue to find ways to be helpful. Please share this newsletter, if you found it useful. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Fava and Tuna Crostini

Fava and Tuna Crostini
Crostini di Fava e Tonno


18 thin baguette slices
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 ounces fresh fava bean pods

1 6 to 7-ounce can solid light tuna in olive oil
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus 18 leaves for garnish
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350F.

Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.

Set aside.

Bring medium saucepan of water to a boil.

Shell fava beans, then drop beans into boiling water and cook 1 minute.


Slip beans out of skins.

Place beans in small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat.

Combine tuna with its oil, minced red onion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice in small bowl.

Using fork, mash tuna mixture to coarse paste.

Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide tuna mixture among baguette slices.

Top with fava beans and garnish each with 1 parsley leaf. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Herbed Striped Bass with Horseradish Sauce

Herbed Striped Bass with Horseradish Sauce
Branzino Striato Alle Erbe Con Salsa di Rafano


1 and 3/4 to 2 lbs skinless striped bass fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup (generous) minced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 and 1/2 tablespoons (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Green Horseradish Sauce


Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap.

Using/on off turns, finely chop 1/2 of fish in processor (do not puree to paste); transfer to bowl.

Repeat with remaining fish.

Mix in onion, parsley, cilantro, 3 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Using wet hands and generous 1/4 cupful for each, shape mixture into 3 x 2 x 1/2-inch cakes.

Arrange on prepared baking sheet.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Working in batches, saute cakes until opaque in center, adding more olive oil to skillet by tablespoonfuls as needed, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer to platter.

Serve warm or at room temperature with horseradish sauce. Makes about 18.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lamb Stew with Leeks and Baby Artichokes

Lamb Stew with Leeks and Baby Artichokes
Spezzatino di Agnello con Porri e Carciofi


3 and 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder meat, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 and 1/4 cups chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 2 and 1/2 cups)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 and 1/2 cups (or more) chicken broth

1/2 lemon
18 baby artichokes (about 1 and 3/4 lbs)


Place trimmed lamb in large bowl; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Combine 1 cup chopped parsley, minced garlic, and grated lemon peel in small bowl.

Reserve remaining 1/4 cup parsley for garnish.

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat.

Working in batches, add lamb and cook until well browned on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch.

Transfer lamb to medium bowl.

Add leeks and onion to drippings in pot and saute until softened, about 7 minutes.

Add chopped parsley mixture and thyme; stir 30 seconds.

Return lamb and any accumulated juices to pot.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups broth and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until lamb is very tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Fill medium bowl with cold water.

Squeeze juice from lemon half into water; add squeezed lemon half.

Break off tough outer leaves from 1 artichoke where leaves break naturally, stopping when first yellow leaves are reached.

Cut off stem and top 1/2 inch from artichoke, then cut artichoke in half lengthwise and drop into lemon water.

Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Drain artichokes and add to lamb stew.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until artichokes are tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if stew is dry, about 25 minutes.

Season stew to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to bowl; sprinkle lamb stew with reserved 1/4 cup chopped parsley and serve with risotto alongside. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & 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:

Italian Cardinal: "Italian Are Not Having Babies"

Rome - September 1, 2010 - The head of the Italian Catholic bishops' conference said this week that Italian society is being "seriously mutilated" by its negative growth birth rate. Angelo Bagnasco, cardinal archbishop of Genoa, said at a Mass in Liguria this weekend that Italy, and Italian democracy, is facing a "serious cultural catastrophe" from its low birth rate.

The Italian birth rate has climbed slightly from an all-time low of 1.23 in 2004, which made Italy the second most infertile country in the industrialized world, to 1.32 this year. It is estimated that 25 percent of Italian women do not have children and another 25 percent will have only one child. The Italian region of Liguria in northwestern Italy now has the highest ratio of elderly to youth in the world and has closed ten percent of its schools since 2000.

The Catholic Church asserts, Bagnasco said, that "demographic balance is not only necessary for the physical survival of a community, which without children has no future, but is also a condition for that alliance between generations that is essential for a normal democratic dialectic."

"It is not only parents that, having children, must change their points of view and styles, they must plan and organize themselves in relation to the children in their various ages."

"A society without babies and children," he continued, "just as a society without the elderly, is seriously mutilated and unable to function."

While government officials are attempting, largely unsuccessfully, to shore up the birth rate with cash payouts, Cardinal Bagnasco looked into the deeper cause of the crisis, saying that falling birthrates are linked to a massive shift in cultural values.

Holding up the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, in the context of life in the small village of Nazareth as the ideal model, Bagnasco said, "In the cultural climate of today, couples and families seem to collapse before the blows of life and of relationships."

"The efforts of every day seem tedious and without meaning, hence unbearable," he said. "The future loses value and polish, the present is emphasized for what it promises of immediate satisfaction."

In the current materialistic context, he said, "fidelity is understood as something repetitive, tedious, deprived of thrills."

While visitors to Italy who bring small children attest that Italians still love children, they are not having their own. Contraceptive use, in this still overwhelmingly Catholic country, is considered routine and some have cited the fulfillment of the demands of the consumerist mentality, that requires that women go out to work, as the reason for the disappearance of the traditional large Italian family.

A 2004 survey by Letizia Mencarini, a professor of statistics at the University of Florence, found that women who work outside the home, and receive little help from their husbands with household chores and childcare, are more reluctant to have a second child. The women, she concluded, cannot face the "dual burden" of going out to work and looking after an extra child.

"Cacchio", we would like to thank the Bishop for all the sunshine blown our way.

Look, Italy’s birth rate is pathetic and it's going to take more than the Bishop's religious rituals to fix it. Our birth rate is 1.33 children per woman.

Don't get us wrong. We love children. We spoil the little critters, dress them up like funny little princes and princesses, over-educate them, and let them stay at home until they're about 32 (give or take 10 years). So, what the hell went wrong?

The problem is there's no state support for Italian women who want to work. Therefore, family policy needs to be designed to support fertility and women's other aspirations. Try doing that in Italy. We break out in a rash when we sense any kind of interference by the state in our family lives. Some of us can still remember the family laws that bald screwball, Mussolini, designed to produce little "Figli del Lupa" (sons of the she-wolf). They were the junior fascist boys brigade. cute. "Cacchio", nothing like have little fascists dressed in black, terrorizing the neighborhood cats and Jews.

Italian women can receive generous maternity leave, but they don't care for it. We have shown that fertility rates are often governed by much more complex cultural and social factors. In Italy, culture rules over policy.

"Another child? Che palle, one is enough. I have my vacations and social friends to consider. Besides, I've been married to that cornuto for 6 years but it feels like 15!"

"Oh, mamma mia, nothing like going home to the same person everyday for the rest of my life!"

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