07/30/13 Olive Oil Ice Cream

"Chi dorme non piglia pesci." (He who sleeps doesn't catch fish. The early bird gets the worm.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Bruschetta with Chick Pea Puree
  -Venetian Rice Fritters
  -Olive Oil Ice Cream

"Buon weekend!" Everyone here at our little bakery in Santo Stefano Quisquina is thankful for the experience you're giving us. Hope you're enjoying the summer and your memories are beautiful!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Almonds and Amarena Cookies

"Almonds and Amarena Cookies: A cookie that has started a trend here in Sicily! They are round cookie almond balls made exclusively from our own home grown natural almonds, the freshest farm eggs, an amarena cherry center, flour, and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 5-7.

900 grams (2 lbs.) is only 15.99 Euro (21.25 - 21.75 U.S. Dollars) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 15.99 Euro plus 8.70 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 24.69 Euro (32.75 - 33.25 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Bruschetta with Chick Pea Puree

Bruschetta with Chick Pea Puree
Bruschetta con Purea di Fagioli Ceci


One 16-ounce can ceci beans (also called chickpeas and garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less to taste)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon roughly chopped, toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Eight 1/2-inch thick slices sourdough or any Italian country-style bread


Using the blade and flat side of a large, sharp knife on a cutting board, mince and mash the garlic and salt to make a paste.

In a food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade, pulse the ceci beans with the garlic paste, tahini, onion, the 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, red pepper, and honey.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times and pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

The texture of the paste should be that of spreadable peanut butter (if necessary, thin it with water and pulse again).

Spread the bean paste on the bruschetta.

Sprinkle with pine nuts, tarragon, and parsley.

Drizzle with olive oil. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Venetian Rice Fritters

Venetian Rice Fritters
Arancini Veneziani


1 and 1/3 cups arborio rice
4 oz prosciutto, minced
4 oz fresh mozzarella, minced
6 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola (or corn) oil, for frying
1/2 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 and 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs


Heat chicken stock in a 2-qt saucepan over medium heat.

Keep warm.

Heat butter in a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat.

Add garlic and onion.

Cook until soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Add rice.

Cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Add wine.

Cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed.

Repeat until all stock is used and rice is tender, about 38-40 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl.

Stir in prosciutto, mozzarella, Parmigiano cheese, parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.

Using wet hands, shape rice mixture into about fifty 1 and 1/2-inch logs.

Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and chill.

Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a 6-qt Dutch oven.

Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350?F.

Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate shallow bowls.

Working in batches, dredge logs in flour, coat in eggs, and coat in bread crumbs.

Fry until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels. Serves 6-8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream
Gelato Olio d'Oliva


1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt


Using a hand mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until pale yellow, about 5 minutes.

Add olive oil in a steady stream, and continue beating until smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.

Add milk, cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until combined.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes 1 and 1/2 quarts.

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:

Once Again, Italy Promises To Repair Its Unrepairable Justice System

Rome - May 14, 2012 - Her family name means "little severe one", and Paola Severino means to live up to it in her crusade against judicial inefficiency which is helping to gag Italy's chronically weak economy.

Seemingly endless legal delays such as in settling commercial disputes are estimated to cost up to one percentage point in Italian GDP growth and the justice minister wants to tell hesitant investors that she is serious about solving the problem.

"There is much to be done and we will forge ahead," Severino, the first woman to hold the justice portfolio, told reporters in an interview.

Severino is already setting up specialist business tribunals and wants to crack down on the huge number of appeals which are clogging up the legal system.

With this message she is heading to the United States as part of an international "road show" to convince foreign companies considering investing in Italy that the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti will speed up the snail-paced system of civil justice.

This week 63-year-old Severino, who was a top lawyer and legal scholar before Monti recruited her for his technocrat government, takes her pitch that Italy can be trusted to the United Nations and to investors at the New York Stock Exchange.

"If a company has certainty about how laws will be interpreted by judges and if it can count on shorter times for court will invest more and launch more long-term projects, helping the economy," she said.

Studies by the World Bank show that it takes 1,210 days (more than three years) to recover a claim in Italy compared with 394 days in Germany. The average costs paid by businesses in Italy usually amount to about 30 percent of the value of the dispute, compared with 17 percent in France.

In 2010 the European Court of Human rights ruled against Italy 53 times for violating the European Convention's article protecting the right to a fair trial, and 44 of the those condemnations were for the excessive length of proceedings.

Severino believes Italy's entire legal culture needs to change. "Italians today go into litigation too much and it lasts too long," she said in the interview.

Italy is the fourth most litigious of 38 European countries, with 4,768 disputes per 100,000 inhabitants. About 2.8 million new cases were brought last year alone.

"We want to convince people that it is useful to have short trials, quick settlements and immediate results," she said, pointing to studies that show than an efficient justice system is closely related to a country's overall economic performance.

Italy has a backlog of 5.5 million civil cases, which Severino says will have to be tackled by "an enormous shovel".

A simple dispute among neighbors about who is responsible for the maintenance of a dividing wall, for example, can take years to settle. The average time to settle a civil case is more than seven years and a criminal case nearly five.

Severino said the Italian justice system needs "a filter" to cut the number of cases allowed to move on to the appeals level after the court of first instance.

"The whole process is slowed up at the appeals level, it is an enormous bottleneck," she said. "We have to get to the point where some cases are not permitted to enter the appeals process in the first place," she said.

Another deterrent to foreign investment in Italy is organized crime, especially in the south, home to groups such as the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, and the Neapolitan Camorra.

Severino said a growing number of companies in the south are now refusing to pay protection money to organized crime and government programs that have confiscated properties from mob groups have greatly weakened their influence.

"If you asked people in Sicily 50 years ago if the Mafia existed, most people would have said no out of fear. Today Sicilians would say yes, and it is something we have to rid ourselves of," she said.

But she acknowledged with a easy laugh that changing Italy's legal system will not come quickly. "I am no miracle worker," she said.

Hmmm...That's something. It's not everyday you see the justice minister of a country go on a "road show" and try to put on a convincing performance. "Cavolo", the real performance will be watching foreign investors and the United Nations try to keep a straight face.

Minister Severino: "There is much to be done and we will forge ahead."

"Now, all of you. Stop drooling and listen...."

- Italy has 9 million trials pending (5.5 million civil cases, 3.4 million penal cases) and 420,000 lawyers: "We honestly don't know how this all started and got out of hand. The chicken or the egg. The trial or the lawyer. We don't know what came first! Regardless, we're going to reprogram the Italian Matrix to make it stop hatching lawyers.

- Italian juries are not sequestered: "We will ask jurors to stop having lunch with lawyers during the trial. If they must, they shall only be allowed to discuss the pasta specials of the day. We will also ban journalists from the cafes where jurors and lawyers go for coffee during court discuss the trial...and follow media coverage."

- According to an Euromedia poll, 16% percent of Italians fully trust the justice system compared to 28% two years prior. Italian civil rights groups are intense in their criticism of what they view as kangaroo courts: "One of our main priorities is to raise the animal court level to that of a monkey."

- In the USA, federal judges must study a 637-page manual in order to be able to evaluate forensic evidence: "We will ask Italian judges to at least download the app and take a glance at it on weekends and holidays."

- Prosecutors are connected to the judiciary. They are not elected or appointed and lead entire investigations: "Si, many criminal investigations in Italy are botched by prosecutors who are judges that have NO background in criminal investigation, police work, or forensic science. But we realize we need more than Moe, Larry, or Curly in a nice Italian suit to tell the police what to look for, where to go and what evidence to analyze, contaminate and throw away."

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