08/25/09 Carrots Braised in Marsala Wine

"E' la gaia pioggerella a far crescer l'erba bella." (It's the merry drizzle that makes grass grow fine.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Carrots Braised in Marsala Wine
  -Tortellini with Mushroom Carbonara Sauce
  -Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

All of us at the bakery sincerely wish everyone had a happy and healthy summer season. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

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 ($14.75-$15.25) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 10.49 Euro plus 8.70 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 19.19 Euro ($27.25-$27.75 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Carrots Braised in Marsala Wine

Carrots Braised in Marsala Wine
Carote al Marsala


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 and 1/4 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into large matchsticks or 1/4-inch-thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small grating of fresh nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup dry Marsala


Choose a straight-sided saute pan that has a tight-fitting lid and is just large enough to hold the vegetables in one or two layers. A pan that is too large will allow the liquid to evaporate too quickly; if it is too small, the vegetables will be piled too high to braise evenly.

Melt the butter over moderate heat, so that it melts without taking on any color.

Stir the carrots into the pan, and season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, and sugar.

Turn the carrots over several times with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spatula or spoon to coat them well with the butter and seasonings.

Cook gently (do not fry) stirring often, for about 2 minutes, to release the vegetable's flavor, and then pour in the Marsala.

Bring to a quick boil, and then adjust the heat so the carrots just barely simmer.

Cover the pan tightly and braise, shaking it well from time to time, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Check the pan occasionally, and if the liquid has evaporated before the carrots are cooked, add small amounts of hot water.

When the carrots are tender, there should be only enough liquid left just to coat them. If there is more, turn the heat to high and boil it off. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tortellini with Mushroom Carbonara Sauce

Tortellini with Mushroom Carbonara Sauce
Tortellini Carbonara con Funghi


1 lb purchased fresh tortellini

12 pancetta slices, coarsely chopped
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Cook tortellini in pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Saute pancetta in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and brown.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet.

Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, and sage to skillet.

Saute over medium-high heat until mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to skillet.

Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Whisk egg yolks and cream in small bowl to blend.

Add cream mixture, tortellini, and 1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese to mushroom mixture.

Toss until sauce thickens and coats tortellini, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to thin sauce, if desired, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese. Makes 6 main-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs
Agnello con Pomodori ed Erbe Fresche


2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
4 large lamb shanks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces thinly sliced capocollo or pancetta, cut into thin strips
1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, chopped
Three 3 x 1/2-inch strips lemon peel
2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes in juice
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl; rub all over lamb.

Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

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

Add lamb and saute until brown, turning with tongs, about 12 minutes; transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium.

Add capocollo and stir 1 minute.

Add onion, carrots, and celery.

Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Mix in garlic; cook 1 minute.

Mix in lemon peel strips, bay leaves, and thyme.

Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.

Add tomatoes and broth.

Return lamb to pot.

Bring to boil; cover and transfer pot to oven.

Cook lamb until just tender, turning occasionally, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Remove pot from oven.

Tilt pot and spoon off fat that rises to top of sauce.

Place pot over medium heat and boil uncovered until sauce reduces enough to coat spoon and lamb is very tender, about 30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Discard lemon peel and bay leaves. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 30 minutes, chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.)

Mix parsley, grated lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl for gremolata.

Transfer lamb to large shallow bowl.

Sprinkle with gremolata and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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:

Convict Prefers Jail to Parents

Palermo - January 5, 2009 - A jailbird released early with an electronic tag has begged to go back to jail because he can't stand living with his parents.

Convicted thief Guido Beneventi, 30, had his sentence reduced on condition that he stayed at his parent's home in Palermo, southern Italy.

But he said that his parents constantly lectured him about his life of crime and then began ordering him around "like a child" and telling him to clean his room.

After a string of rows, he broke his curfew to flee to police headquarters and demanded to be arrested.

"You are my saviors," he told them as they sent him back to Ucciardone jail. "I just couldn't take another day with them.

"They spent all their time telling me how useless he was and lecturing me about everything and ordering me to do housework. It was like being a child again. Prison was better."

Guido (to himself): "We're all here, no matter what we are; we're all searching for the truth and trying to make it through this world."
"Porca puttana, everyone except my parents! They claim to know the truth!"

Hey, svegliati! It's 6:30 am!
It's Tuesday! Did you forget there's no acqua on Tuesdays?!

Did you finish cleaning the sardines? Look what time it is! I have to cucinare!
Fresh bread? You'll do fine with yesterday's bread.
Hey, take it easy with the vino!

New clothes?! What is this thing about looking bello?
I'm bella and your father's bello just the way we are.
Be bello inside!

Wash out the empty barrels of vino!
Easy with the acqua!

You want a panino con milza (fried spleen sandwich)?
Go out, dare the polizia and get one yourself!

"Oh Cacchio! I'M OUT OF HERE!"

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