09/10/13 Lemon Budino

"Come il cacio sui maccheroni." (Like cacio cheese on maccheroni. Cacio goes very well with maccheroni, like if one says, "This hat on that dress is perfect like cacio on maccheroni.") Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup
  -Winter Caprese Salad
  -Lemon Budino

"Salve!" THANK YOU for all that you do. It means the world to us! Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can't change.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Dolce per La Festa

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 Recipe: Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup

Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup
Zuppa Farro e Fagioli Al Toscano


1 cup dried borlotti or cranberry beans
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
10 cups water
1 large tomato (1/2 lb), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
10 fresh sage leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup whole-grain farro
2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Pick over and rinse beans.

Soak in cold water to cover by 2 inches at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.

Alternatively, quick-soak beans.

Drain well.

Heat olive oil in a 5 to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.

Cook onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in water, drained beans, tomato, parsley, sage, and thyme and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to keep beans covered, until beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours.

Discard thyme sprigs, then blend mixture in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a large bowl.

Return soup to pot and bring to a boil.

Add farro and salt.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until farro is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in pepper and serve drizzled with additional olive oil. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Winter Caprese Salad

Winter Caprese Salad
Insalata Caprese Invernale


12 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
1 and 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few leaves for garnish
4 tablespoons pine nuts
8 large bocconcini (from buffalo mozzarella) or 2 pounds buffalo mozzarella, cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200?F.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Place cut side down on a small baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are softened.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool.

Transfer the cooled tomatoes to a colander and set aside to drain while you make the pesto.

Combine the garlic and Parmigiano cheese in a blender and pulse until the garlic is roughly chopped.

Add the basil and pulse 7 or 8 times, or until the leaves are shredded.

With the blender running, slowly add the remaining 1 cup olive oil, blending until smooth.

Toast the pine nuts in an 8-inch saute pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a plate to cool.

To serve, arrange 3 tomato halves cut side down on each plate.

Place a ball of mozzarella in the center and spoon 2 tablespoons of the pesto onto each ball of mozzarella.

Sprinkle with the pine nuts and garnish with basil leaves. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lemon Budino

Lemon Budino
Budino Al Limone


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 350?F.

Butter six 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl.

Whisk until well blended.

Whisk in milk.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until frothy.

Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in 2 additions.

Divide mixture among prepared custard cups.

Place custard cups in roasting pan.

Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups.

Bake puddings until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes.

Remove cups from water.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

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:

Convicted Sicilian Mobster Freed Thanks To His Allergies To Vegetables

Rome - March 23, 2012 - A convicted Mafia mobster has been freed early from his 15 year jail term thanks to his allergies to the vegetables on the prison menu.

Millionaire Michele Aiello, 56, told the judge at a special appeal hearing he was intolerant to beans, peas, spinach and all other types of greens offered to inmates serving time in prison.

Lawyers acting for the businessman provided medical certificates as evidence in their argument for Aiello to be released after serving little more than a year of his original sentence.

He was arrested in Palermo in Sicily in 2010 and charged with being the financial genius behind a Mafia money laundering operation.

It saw him lending his name and that of relatives to dozens of companies and properties so cash from criminal activity could be recycled and laundered.

Police said Aiello laundered more than 800 million Euros (+1 billion USD) for jailed Mafia Godfather Bernardo Provenzano, who was caught in 2006 after almost 40 years on the run. The two were said to be 'close associates' with the mobster investing personally in the businessman's numerous activities.

Aiello had been serving his sentence in a maximum security jail at Sulmona in central Italy where a spokesman admitted the menu was 'mainly vegetable based'. Dishes included 'pasta with beans, rice with peas, cuttlefish with peas and minestrone soup.'

His lawyer Sergio Monaco said: 'The menu that was being offered to my client was completely incompatible with his medical condition. There were far too many vegetables being served and he is intolerant to them and it affects his health.'

In her ruling judge Laura Longo said: 'The prison food offered does not permit a diet adequate for the inmate and according to article nine of the Italian penal code prison food must be adequate, healthy, sufficient for the age, gender, state of health, work season and climate.

'In this case continuing with the prison diet raised the possibility of the inmate have a hemolytic reaction and that is absolutely not permissible.

'There is a serious and concrete risk to his health if he remains in prison and eats the menu offered and he therefore cannot remain inside.'

She then ruled that he should be given house arrest in his home town of Palermo.

Today there was amazement in Italian newspapers and in TV and radio reports carrying the story calling judge Longo's decision 'astonishing' and 'incredible'.

One outraged reader posted on a popular news website: 'I'd be very happy to have that menu every day! Can't they just take the vegetables out and serve him plain pasta and rice?

'There are thousands of people who would love to eat as well as this convicted Mafia mobster does.'

Last year it emerged that one Godfather was able to enjoy champagne and lobster dinners while serving his time in a Palermo jail.

"Porca di quella"...hold on folks (news staff looking out the window, sheep looking back at staff).

We had to go look outside the window for a moment.
We were almost sure Italy was crumbling around us!

"'Fanculo", come on, it's 2012! We can't afford to have these heinous and shameless incidents continuing!

Look, we're not safe anywhere, Judge Laura! On any given day you bend over to help someone, somebody else stabs you, steals your groceries, violates your wife and steps on your hat! Have a good day!

We need metal detectors at the entrance of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
We need cops waiting in the monumental fountains with skin diving outfits!
We need snipers ready to take out 90% of the vendors at the open Napolitani markets.

We could go out in the main piazzas and try to get some solidarity and empathy from our wise elders...but we wouldn't want to ruin the concentration of their blank stares.

We could go down to the schools to let our future generations know there is no future in organized crime...but they'll get a hold of this story and insist again that vegetables are bad for you.

"There is a serious and concrete risk to his health if he remains in prison and eats the menu offered and he therefore cannot remain inside." "Minchia", so true. We should apologize for being so inhuman. Why don't we get braces for his fellow jail mates with crooked teeth? Let?s improve their smiles.

"Vaffanculo", throw Michele in the electric chair, put a lasagne in his lap and cook it up while he?s frying so the electricity doesn't go to waste.
Make it a vegetable lasagne to make it even more disrespectful.

And Judge Laura should quit and hand over her robes to Zorro. Have a good day.

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