07/23/13 Crostini with Crab Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

"Meglio un uovo oggi che una gallina domani." (Better an egg today than a chicken tomorrow. Many Italians tend to prefer the sure thing now than a promise of a better thing in the future.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Crostini with Crab Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  -Penne with Tomato and Prosciutto Sauce
  -Eggplant Cannelloni

"Che caldo!" So, how are the summer feasts coming along? Thanks for everything you're doing, and we'll continue to send you more recipes to be helpful in your kitchen this summer season.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Crostini with Crab Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Crostini with Crab Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Crostini con Insalata di Granchio e Olio di Oliva Extravergine


1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 roasted red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon torn fresh basil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
8 to 12 slices crostini bread


Pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell.

Transfer to a non reactive bowl.

Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil, bell pepper, chives, basil, lemon juice and zest and mix well.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top each crostini with about 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Penne with Tomato and Prosciutto Sauce

Penne with Tomato and Prosciutto Sauce
Penne con Salsa di Pomodoro e Prosciutto


1 large red onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 ounces thinly sliced fine-quality prosciutto, finely chopped and separated into pieces (1 and 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Two (28-ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound Penne Rigate
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (shavings or finely grated)


Heat olive oil in a wide heavy medium pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.

Saute onion until golden, about 10 minutes.

Add garlic and saute until golden, about 1-2 minutes.

Add prosciutto and saute until golden, about 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes with reserved juice, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered, at least 8 hours (to allow flavors to develop).

Cook penne in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Drain well.

While pasta cooks, reheat sauce over medium heat.

Toss pasta with some of sauce in a serving bowl and top off with remaining sauce. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Eggplant Cannelloni

Eggplant Cannelloni
Cannelloni di Melanzane


2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
4 ounces goat cheese
4 kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic
2 jars (12 ounces each) roasted red peppers, drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
Olive oil cooking spray


Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Cook shallots and garlic until soft, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat.

Cook until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add peppers and juice.

Bring to a boil.

Lower heat.

Simmer until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.


Puree in a blender.

Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.

Coat eggplants with cooking spray and broil on a baking sheet until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 400?F.

Mash cheese, olives, capers and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl.

Place 1 tablespoon of filling at the end of each eggplant slice.

Roll up.

Lay seam side down in dish.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes.

Top with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serves 3-4.

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 Police Finally Catch 'The Blonde'

Calabria - March 31, 2012 - Italian police have arrested a 56-year-old woman nicknamed "The Blonde" on suspicion of ordering three mafia killings.

One of the deaths was the grisly chainsaw hacking death of a rival mobster, police said.

"She was a real regent of the clan, including taking decisions on executions to be carried out," said Mario Parente, deputy head of the anti-mafia police, adding that a total of 58 people had been nabbed in "Operation Spider Web".

According to investigators, Nella Serpa rose through the ranks following the mob war killing of her brother Piero and has been the 'de facto' head of the Serpa clan since 2003, organizing the gang's extortion racket and ordering hits.

The police said she had "wide decision-making powers" in her clan and was involved in the killing of gangster Luciano Martello in 2003, with two mafia turncoats saying she was part of the team that actually shot him.

She is also alleged to be responsible for the death of another mobster, Rolando Siciliano, shot in 2004 and then hacked to pieces with a chainsaw.

Investigators said that a key indication of her importance in the crime organization was the fact that a rival clan had ordered a hit on her.

She also allegedly built up ties with other clans in the powerful 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate as well as with the Naples-based Camorra.

The 'Ndrangheta, whose name comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty, is one of the most powerful and secretive mafia groups in the world. Because of its tight-knit family structure it has been notoriously difficult to penetrate.

The group, based in the Calabria region in southern Italy, has been hit by a series of recent investigations and a trial earlier this month convicted 93 of its members, including the 81-year-old reputed boss of the whole organization.

Its annual turnover is estimated in the billions of euros.

"Porca Eva", what a captivating woman. Her family makes the Corleone crime family look like the Waltons.

Although roles have changed for women in Italy, the mother remains the dominant figure in the Italian home. She typically runs every aspect of domestic life, and you will see her helping her family in ways you consider excessive or unnecessary. Of course, Signora Serpa is no exception.

It may have seemed excessive to have had Rolando hacked to pieces after being shot or to have personally participated in the shooting of Luciano, but why go against an Italian mother's impeccable intuition?

Once a year, your mother and harassing aunts get together for that tomato sauce bottling party. Now, if the sauce has been slow cooking the entire day and YOU insist it has to be ready, your mother will say, "Just 10 more minutes". That's her intuition telling YOU to step away from the gigantic boiling pot...and mind your own business.

But YOU don't.

"Another 10 minutes?! 'Fanculo, what planet am I on?! This is insanity!"

The sauce is bottled. And when the first bottle is cracked open a couple of months later, your family discovers the sauce is not so great. Congratulations. YOU ruined every dish that calls for tomato sauce for an entire year. The 10 minutes didn't seem excessive or unnecessary, did it?

Here's some more advice for any of you who have a habit of challenging these godforsaken intuitions:

- Don't touch the saved junk in the spare bedroom.
- Mind your own business and you'll appreciate the sauce...and the quiet.

"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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