06/29/10 Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

"Il bugiardo vuole buona memoria." (The liar needs a good memory.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar
  -Gnocchi With Tomatoes and Pesto
  -Risotto with Lemon, Chicken, Fennel, and Green Olives

"L'appetito vien mangiando!" (Appetite comes while you're eating!) Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Traditional Almond Cookies

"Traditional" Almond Cookies: A soft and chewy Italian almond cookie with a crisp outside and tender inside. Made exclusively from our own home grown natural almonds, the freshest farm eggs, flour, and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 5-7.

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 Recipe: Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar
Radicchio alla Griglia con Aceto Balsamico


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 head radicchio (6-7 inches diameter)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring balsamic vinegar to a gentle simmer in a small saute pan, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Reduce until syrupy.

Remove from heat a little before the thickness desired because it will thicken a little more as it cools.

Set aside in room temperature.

Cut the radicchio into 6 wedges.

Lay on a plate and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill over moderately low flame for about a minute (depending on your flame size) on each side, until just charred.

Remove to the serving platter.

Drizzle with balsamic reduction and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serves 6 side servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Gnocchi With Tomatoes and Pesto

Gnocchi With Tomatoes and Pesto
Gnocchi Con Pomodoro e Pesto


One 12-oz package gnocchi
1/2 cup fresh pesto
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup half-and-half
Parmigiano cheese
Pine nuts


Cook gnocchi according to directions in salted water.

In a small pot, whisk together pesto and half-and-half over medium heat until well mixed and hot.

Once gnocchi is cooked, toss gently with the creamy pesto and cherry tomatoes.

Garnish with pine nuts and Parmigiano cheese if desired. Serves 2-3.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Risotto with Lemon, Chicken, Fennel, and Green Olives

Risotto with Lemon, Chicken, Fennel, and Green Olives
Risotto al Limone, Pollo, Finocchio, e Olive Verdi


5 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup finely chopped green olives
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
1 medium fennel bulb , cored and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
Table salt
Ground black pepper
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 ounces grated Parmigiano cheese (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds


Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain gentle simmer.

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke.

Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

Flip chicken and cook second side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Transfer chicken to saucepan of simmering broth and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to now empty Dutch oven set over medium heat.

When butter has melted, add onion, fennel bulb, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir 5 cups warm broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just 'al dente', 16 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

Add 3/4 cup warm broth to risotto and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.

Stir in Parmigiano cheese and olives.

Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove and discard skin and bones from chicken, and shred meat into bite-size pieces.

Gently stir shredded chicken, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest, fennel fronds, and chives into risotto.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add up to 1/2 cup additional broth to loosen texture of risotto. Serves 2-3.

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:

Rome Gives Buggy Horses a Better Life

Rome - February 22, 2010 - The horses that pull Rome's tourist buggies will never again face grueling uphill climbs, according to a new set of rules which came into effect on Monday.

The new regulations were adopted after a series of accidents over the past few years, which have seen horses maimed in the line of duty.

In addition to limiting the horse's work-day to a maximum of eight hours with mandatory breaks during the hottest hours of the day, the city ordinance mandates regular check-ups by city-approved veterinarians. Carriage drivers will also be required to display license plates, that can be used to report mistreatment of the animals.

However, the buggies will continue to operate on the heavily trafficked streets of the historic center, one of the main bones of contention between the drivers and animal rights' activists. While city officials said the measure marked a clean compromise, the head of one of Italy's leading animal rights groups, Animalist Italiani, said he wasn't satisfied.

"We're not going to stop lobbying until we get them off the streets for good," said Walter Coporale.

"It simply isn't conceivable for horses to be carting people around in 2010," he said.

Coporale said the city ought to have limited the carriages to shady park trails or helped buggy drivers replace them with electric-powered vintage cars. Both ideas have been discussed by the city council, but neither one found much appeal among the carriage drivers. Failing that, he said "the important thing is to make sure horses are protected by same legal status that dogs and cats have".

At present, horses are classified under Italian law as livestock, which puts them in the same category of animal treatment as sheep and cattle. The buggy drivers, however, have argued that they treat their animals "like family" and rejected the notion that their time-honored line of work was necessarily inhumane. The dispute over tourist buggies came to a head after a pair of accidents in 2008, which saw two horses seriously injured on the job.

That summer, a horse collapsed from exhaustion on Rome's glamorous Via Veneto while hauling a carriage uphill under the sweltering summer sun. Then in the fall, a horse had to be put to sleep before a crowd of horrified onlookers after it slipped near the Colosseum and broke its leg. As a first response to the outcry over the accidents, the city council last July set up a emergency veterinary response team for injured cart horses.

The service consists of an on-call veterinarian and horse ambulance capable of transporting the animal to the ''emergency room'' at an equine clinic run by the Italian mounted police.

FACT: Not many tourists are aware the Roman horse-drawn carriages (called "Botticelle") are not a tradition of public transportation. In fact, the "Botticelli" owe their name to "barrels": the carriage pulled by animals in the 1800’s was used solely for transporting goods, or barrels in this case.

So, there was never a "tradition" of tourist transportation as misleadingly the jackass full of crap and immobile from liquor driving the carriage wants the tourist to believe.

The carriage driver who has more food caught in his teeth than the horse eats the entire day is only interested in making the most profit from this activity and therefore does not care about the well-being of the animal. He also is not subject, like other workers (rat-bastard taxi drivers, son-of-a-bitch gondoliers) to any official price list, being able to make money at will and come to ask even $300 per trip, all while not paying taxes to the state as there are no price regulations or receipts.

So, if you have to succumb to the desire of being driven around the Roman capital by carriage for an insufferable price, save the poor animal from its agony and kindly ask the driver to have it substituted with a couple of nauseating, repugnant, stinking, and obnoxious gladiators who stand all day in front of the Coliseum and berate you for that $10 photo pose with them.

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