09/16/08 Amaretto Cheesecake from

"Chi bene incomincia č a metą dell'opera." (Well begun is half done.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Spaghetti Alla Gricia
  -Trota Ripiena
  -Torta all'Amaretto

We hope all our subscribers will have a happy and productive autumn season. Enjoy the recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Dolce per La Festa

"Dolce per La Festa: This gift of great Sicilian taste is sure to please. Our cookie tray is filled with a scrumptious assortment of our best selling Italian and Sicilian cookies arranged on a golden cookie tray (Santo Trio Almond, Sicilian Orange Almond, Pistachio, Amarena, Buccellati and Sesame Seed Cookies). No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 9-13.
1700 grams (3.75 lbs.) is only 27.49 Euro ($39.75-$40.25) + Shipping.

Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 27.49 Euro plus 16.70 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 44.19 Euro ($64.25-$64.75 U.S. Dollars).

 Recipe: Spaghetti Alla Gricia

Spaghetti Alla Gricia
Spaghetti with Italian Bacon


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces guanciale*, cut into 1/4 inch slices, then chopped coarsely (may be substituted with pancetta)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add the guanciale and the hot pepper and saute until guanciale is crisp. Remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil.

Add the spaghetti and cook uncovered over high heat until 'al dente'.

Place the pan with the guanciale back over medium heat.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with 1/2 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese.

Stir the pasta vigorously until guanciale and cheese are well distributed.

Serve immediately with remaining Pecorino Romano cheese on the side.

*Note: Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Trota Ripiena

Trota Ripiena
Stuffed Trout


4 trout, each 20-24 oz.
1 small carrot
2 shallots
1 small onion
3 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 stalk celery
1 cup red wine
2 and 1/2 oz. butter
6 peppercorns, crushed


Gut, clean and bone the trout. Wash, pat-dry and set aside.

Chop the shallots, mushrooms and parsley.

Salt to taste, add peppercorns and half of the butter cut into pea-size pieces.

Prepare a smooth mixture, then stuff the trout with it.

Put the onion, the carrot and celery cut into pieces into a fish poacher.

Lay the trout on top and cover with red wine.

Cook over low heat.

When the trout is done, remove from poacher, skin, place in a serving platter, and keep warm.

Filter the cooking liquid.

Let it reduce a bit then add the butter whisking vigorously to prevent separation, and cook until the sauce is very hot.

Adjust seasoning, pour the sauce on the trout and serve immediately. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Torta all'Amaretto

Torta all'Amaretto
Amaretto Cheesecake


For the Crust:
2 and 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
2/3 cup melted butter

For the Filling:
32 ounces cream cheese
6 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
16 ounces sour cream
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 tablespoon orange extract
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
Hot water


Combine the crust ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Press the crust into the bottom and about one inch up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

Place in refrigerator while preparing the filling.

For the filling, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream until smooth.

Add the eggs and beat until they are well incorporated.

Add all remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour filling into crust.

Place the springform pan in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan half full of hot water.

Bake at 350° F for 1 hour or until center is set.

Remove from oven.

Remove cake from roasting pan and allow to sit on rack to cool.

Cheesecake can then be refrigerated before serving. Serves 10-12.

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:

Sicily Mayor Offers $1.47 Homes

Palermo - September 13, 2008 - A small town in western Sicily has come up with a revolutionary solution to solve its property problems.

They are offering houses in the town, which sits between two rivers, for just a single euro ($1.44).

The idea is the brainchild of mayor Vittorio Sgarbi, convinced it is the only way to revitalize its crumbling historic heart.

Most of the villas were damaged by an earthquake 40 years ago and since then, much of the local population moved out.

"There are 3,700 houses owned by the council, almost all in the old town, that are in danger of falling down, of crumbling and dying," Mr Sgarbi explained.

There is a catch - those who buy will be obliged to sympathetically renovate the old houses without changing their style within two years at some significant cost.

Mr Sgarbi initially offered the houses free of charge, to residents of Salemi who agreed to do the renovations.

But then, keen to raise awareness of his cause, he gave the first to football boss Jose Mourinho's new employer, Massimo Moratti, chairman of Inter Milan.

"We're thinking of people who have the sensibility and economic resources to embark on this adventure," Mr Sgarbi said.

"In exchange for a token payment of one euro we will offer them one of these houses and ask that they undertake to restore them within two years while respecting their original characteristics."

A former art critic, who once defined himself as an anarchist, Mr Sgarbi was a senior official in the culture ministry during a previous government led by current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Among those said to be keen is former Genesis star Peter Gabriel.

Mr Sgarbi is delighted by the level of interest, saying: "We have had a lot of interest and people are already booking up to come down here".


At a $1.47 a home, rest assured you're not going to have the "De Medici" of Florence for neighbors.

"There is a catch - those who buy will be obliged to sympathetically renovate the old houses without changing their style within two years at some significant cost." Hmmmm...There is absolutely nothing sympathetic about renovating a Sicilian house using local Sicilian masons, builders and architects. Renovation and rebuilding is estimated to cost you 80,000 Euros (114,000 USD), although realistically, the so-called "significant cost" could be as high as 425,000 Euros (600,000 USD).

When renovating a property in Sicily whether it is a farmhouse, townhouse, dungeon or chicken shack you will need to consider:

- the reprehensible and mobster-like building costs,
- the costs of the conniving, sinuous and filthy Sicilian architect (there will usually be a charge for initial plans and negotiating with his rat-bastard and vindictive relative who works in the local Comune, Town Council),
- IVA (Italian VAT or tax),
- and additional smaller charges such as changing the use of the property from its agricultural classification to domestic dwelling and/or maintenance for the architect's car. This can be between 1,500 and 4,000 Euros (depending on what model Mercedes or BMW he drives).

You should always routinely check the plans during the purchase process as many have discovered additional space such as cellars being taken over by adorable next door neighbors who knock down walls to expand the space for their wine and sausage storage.

It is important to visualize what you are trying to achieve when embarking on the godforsaken project and translate this to that architect. Many problems arise when people lose sight of their initial goals. Constantly changing plans is going to be put smiles on those sinister Sicilian masons and require multiple visits to that architect's filthy relative at the Comune to agree modifications.

Remember: "Location, location, location" to Sicilian realtors means:

"Where do we go for breakfast, lunch and dinner?"

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