08/19/08 Lemon Polenta Cake from

"In bocca al lupo." (Into the mouth of a wolf. Break a leg! Used by students to wish each other good luck before exams, the response to which is "Crepi!" ("May it die!")) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Zuppa di Peperone Arrosto e Melanzane
  -Lasagne con Basilico e Finocchi
  -Polentina al Limone

Enjoy the recipes and the rest of the summer season!


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Sesame Seed Cookies

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 Recipe: Zuppa di Peperone Arrosto e Melanzane

Zuppa di Peperone Arrosto e Melanzane
Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Soup


2 eggplants (about 2 and 1/2 lbs total), halved
4 red bell peppers (about 22 ounces)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only; about 2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
8 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Parmigiano cheese shavings


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pierce eggplants all over with fork.

Transfer, cut side down, to baking sheet.

Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.

Cool slightly. Remove peel and discard.

Cut eggplants into large pieces.

Rinse eggplant pieces under running water. Drain well. Set aside.

Char bell peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides.

Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed and coarsely chop peppers.

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add onions and leek and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic; saute 1 minute.

Stir in eggplant, peppers, chicken stock, and tomato paste.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir in basil and thyme. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth.

Return soup to pot.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add butter and lemon juice; stir over low heat until soup is heated through, about 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Transfer to large bowl; garnish with Parmigiano cheese. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Lasagne con Basilico e Finocchi

Lasagne con Basilico e Finocchi
Lasagna with Basil and Fennel


1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated (about 4 cups packed)
One 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 and 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
Two 1.5-ounce packets spaghetti sauce seasoning with mushroom flavors
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
9 no-boil lasagna noodles (from one 8-ounce package)
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, egg and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese in medium bowl.

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add onions and fennel seeds; saute 5 minutes.

Add beef; saute 10 minutes, breaking up meat with fork.

Mix in seasoning, then tomatoes, broth and wine.

Cover and simmer 8 minutes. Season sauce to taste with pepper.

Spoon 1 and 1/3 cups sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

Place 3 noodles over sauce.

Drop half of ricotta cheese mixture by tablespoonfuls evenly over.

Top with half of basil leaves, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese.

Continue layering with 3 noodles, 2 cups sauce, remaining ricotta cheese mixture, remaining basil, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese.

Finish with 3 noodles, 2 cups sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese (reserve remaining sauce for another use).

Cover with foil; place on baking sheet.

Bake lasagna until heated through, about 1 hour.

Uncover; let stand 15 minutes.

Cut lasagna into squares. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Polentina al Limone

Polentina al Limone
Lemon Polenta Cake


10 oz (275 grams) unsalted butter
8 oz (225 grams) superfine sugar
6 eggs separated
6 oz (175 grams) ground almonds
4 oz (100 grams) coarse polenta
Grated zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
Icing sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 F. (180 C.)

Grease and line a 10 inch (25 cm) round, loose-bottomed cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together until thick and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating between each addition.

Add the almonds, polenta, lemon zest and juice to the mixture and mix well together.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

Using a metal spoon, fold into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch.

Leave to cool in the tin. When cold, remove from the tin and dust with sifted icing sugar. Serves 8-12.

That's it!

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 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:

Roaming Wild Boar Cause Crash

Florence - July 17, 2008 - A pack of wild boar invaded Italy's main north-south motorway near Florence Wednesday night, causing a crash in which a woman was injured.

One of the animals, which had roamed out of nearby woodland, hit the woman's Renault Clio, causing it to collide with an articulated truck.

The woman is being treated in a Florence hospital for minor injuries.

Porca di quel cinghiale, what were the chances of that?!

Woman: "A pack of wild pigs invaded the motorway, cut me off, and forced me to crash into a truck."
Insurer: "Hmmm...I see. Well, did you at least get a plate number? And why were you driving in Naples?"

Fact: Italian drivers are hideous! Italians have their own driving style, and it's very different to that of Americans and British drivers. Caution isn't in their vocabulary, though they will argue that it is their great God-given skill that allows them to drive in this way and cause so few accidents. They aren't going to change to suit you so you'd better learn this tip next time one is speeding three inches behind your rear bumper:

Italians drivers are much more comfortable driving up close; try not to be panicked by this. On Italian roads, your responsibility is to those in front of you and to the side, and a rear-view mirror is for checking your makeup.

Our best wishes go out to the woman and hope a nice dish of "Pappardelle with Wild Boar Sauce" will help her get over the trauma.

"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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