07/17/07 Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Fra Diavolo from

"Patti chiari, amicizia lunga." (Clear agreements make for good friends.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Crema al Finocchio
  -Zucchini with Pancetta
  -Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Fra Diavolo

Enjoy the recipes, the rest of your summer and the complimentary news article report from "Only In".

Enjoy the issue!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Buccellati

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

900 grams (2 lbs.) is only 10.49 Euro ($14.25-$14.50) + Shipping.

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 Recipe: Crema al Finocchio

Crema al Finocchio
Fennel Cream


2 large fennel bulbs, washed and roughly cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper


Place the fennel in a casserole with olive oil and the onion. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Place in a food processor and process until smooth. Let it cool down, add the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with toasted bread. Serves 6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Zucchini with Pancetta

Zucchini with Pancetta


12 small zucchini
1 and 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/2 lb pancetta, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
Freshly ground black pepper


Peel the zucchini. Slice them into thin rounds and place in a mixing bowl. Salt them well and allow them to sit for three hours, stirring occasionally. Put them in a colander and rinse well.

In a saute pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Add the parsley, garlic, and onion and allow to cook for 6 more minutes, or until golden and aromatic.

Add the tomatoes and zucchini and simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Season with pepper and serve hot. Serves 6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Fra Diavolo

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Fra Diavolo


For the mushrooms:
4 portobello mushrooms, caps only
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 lb mozzarella di bufala cheese, cut into long, thin strips
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
4 basil sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fra diavolo sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup fresh tomato sauce


Make the mushrooms:
Score the mushroom caps with a cross-hatch pattern. Toss with the olive oil and garlic in a container; marinate 30 minutes.

Heat a grill pan 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, top side down. Cook 5 minutes; turn, sprinkle with wine, and brush with butter. Cook 5 minutes, or until just soft.

Meanwhile, make the fra diavolo sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a 1-quart pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili, and oregano; cook 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce; cook 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Place the mushrooms, top side up, in an oiled 10" x 14" roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Top with the mozzarella cheese and Grana Padano cheese; bake 10 minutes.

To serve, spoon the fra diavolo sauce onto 4 plates. Top with the mushrooms and basil; serve hot. Serves 4.

That's it!

Submit Your Thoughts


 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:

United Nations Claim Grandmothers Are Cool

Rome - June 18 - Grannies could be the vital ingredient that would make health and development projects in poor countries really take off, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization.

While Westerners often treat older people as second-class citizens, in Africa and much of the non-western world elders are listened to as respected members of their families and communities, experts say. Getting grandmothers to understand and take part in nutrition, health and community development projects can significantly raise success rates, says FAO Nutrition Expert William Clay.

Grannies, who in many countries may be aged 40 or less, are "an abundant resource for development in all countries that is vastly under-utilized," he notes. The pro-granny approach was pioneered by American community development and health specialist Dr. Judi Aubel who presented her "grandmother-inclusive methodology" at a seminar held at FAO recently.

"Elders are natural leaders. Young people are taught to value their knowledge and experience and are expected to look to them for advice," Aubel explained. Aubel directs a fledgling NGO called The Grandmother Project. Using the grandmother-inclusive approach it says it has greatly increased the success of maternal and child health projects in Senegal, Mali and Laos.

The Grandmother Project's method often uses songs written by local trainees to encourage other senior women to become involved.

One song goes like this:
'Dearest grandmother, you are so wonderful,
You have a big heart and are full of understanding.
May God give you long life.

"When one group heard that song it brought tears to their eyes. They couldn't wait to come on board," Aubel said.

"Madonna mia! Io sono cool!" It's obvious a few people at the UN have had Italian grandmothers and realize the stubborn and insistent powers they hold. And they'll be easy to find. Most of them will be grandmothers who want to get even with their kids who simply suggested putting them in retirement homes.

"The pro-granny approach was pioneered by American community development and health specialist Dr. Judi Aubel who presented her "grandmother-inclusive methodology..." Her methodology is more mystic, mesmerizing and unexplainable than "Lord of the Rings".

"Grannies could be the vital ingredient that would make health and development projects in poor countries really take off..." Of course! Their complaining in a sing-song intonation at an average 10 db louder than the majority of other languages while flailing around their hands will force the project leaders to go insane:

"Hey, Signore FAO! How long is it going to take to build that water well?"
"Give me that shovel, cazzo!"
"Get out of my way!"

A "Nonna Anti-Terrorism Task Force" would also be quite effective:

"Porca puttana, landmines?" "Who the hell would plant landmines?" "Do you know how many tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini I can put out there?"
"Get on your knees and start plucking!"

With the 2 tons of lasagna, sausage, eggplant parmigiana and cannolis they'll prepare everyday, starvation in Africa will be a thing of the past.

"Bambini, look at yourselves!"
"All skin and bones!"
"Mangia, mangia!"

"No, really, stop insisting!" "I can't have another bite."

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