09/30/08 Beef Rolls with Prosciutto from

"A caval donato non si guarda in bocca." (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pomodori Ripieni
  -Fusilli al Tonno
  -Involtini al Prosciutto

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

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Pomodori Ripieni

Pomodori Ripieni
Stuffed Tomatoes


8 tomatoes (rounded - medium size)
A few sprigs of rosemary
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 dry baguette (2 weeks old)
2 fluid oz (60 ml) Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper for seasoning


Wash the tomatoes and then dry them.

Cut the topside.

Take a small spoon with a sharp edge and carve into the tomato removing the core part. Do that over a bowl, so that all the tomato contents falls into the bowl.

Then, discard the hard part and leave the liquid part (juice with seeds) in the bowl. You should have enough liquid to have about half glass of tomato liquid.

Sprinkle each tomato inside with salt.

Turn the tomatoes hole down in a colander and leave them to rest for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can grate the baguette to make breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs with salt and stir.

Sprinkle with black pepper and stir.

Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs. The quantity of leaves is up to you, according to your taste.

Chop the leaves (the thinner the better), add them to the bowl and stir.

Chop the garlic (the thinner the better), add it to the bowl and stir.

Add the half glass of tomato liquid and stir.

Add the olive oil and stir. The mixture should not be too wet, but still a bit crumbly.

Now, stuff the tomatoes, lay them onto an oven dish and put some drops (something like a tsp) of olive oil onto every tomato and then sprinkle the bottom with a little more olive oil. If you like, you can put some garlic cloves on the bottom of the oven dish to enhance with the garlic flavor.

Pre-heat the oven at 375 F. (190 C) and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the crumbs at the top become golden brown.

When you think it is ready, take the dish out of the oven and serve. Serves 4 (side dish).

That's it!

 Recipe: Fusilli al Tonno

Fusilli al Tonno
Fusilli with Tuna Sauce


14 oz (400 grams) Fusilli pasta (cooked 'al dente')
2 fl oz (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
5 oz (150 grams) tuna (1 tin of tuna in olive oil)
14 oz (400 grams) can of chopped tomatoes
Salt and ground pepper for seasoning


Put the olive oil in a frying pan (medium heat), crush the garlic clove and sweat it off until golden brown, then discard the garlic.

Immediately, after having removed the garlic, add the chopped shallot and sweat it off until golden brown.

At this stage you have the chance of adding some anchovy paste (1 tsp) as an option.

Stir until the anchovy paste is melted and evenly distributed.

Then, add the chopped tomatoes.

Stir and try to break the chopped tomatoes in order to make the sauce a bit thinner. Using Italian "passata di pomodoro" would save you time because you do not have to break the chopped tomatoes.

Cook for 5 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

Add the tuna.

Break the tuna in small parts and stir to evenly distribute.

Now, turn the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.

In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the parsley.

Stir to evenly distribute and turn the heat off.

The sauce is ready to be added to the pasta.

Add the sauce to the drained pasta.

Stir in order to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. Serves 4.

Note: do not use any Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese on pasta served with fish sauces. This is the number one rule that unfortunately is often forgotten by some restaurants abroad.

That's it!

 Recipe: Involtini al Prosciutto

Involtini al Prosciutto
Beef Rolls with Prosciutto


2 and 1/2 oz (8 x 60 grams) thin slices topside of beef
4 wide slices of cooked ham or prosciutto (alternatively 8 small slices)
8 slices of processed cheese
A small container with plain flour for dusting
2 fl oz (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 fl oz (100 ml) white wine
A ladleful of beef stock (dissolve 1 stock cube in about a pint of boiling water)
5 sage leaves
Salt and ground pepper for seasoning
About 6 feet of string for tying the meat (ask your butcher)


Take the first topside slice of beef and put it onto a working surface.

Cut one slice of cooked ham in two halves.

Put one of the cooked ham slices you cut onto the topside slice.

On the top of the ham put one slice of cheese.

Slices of processed cheese melt easily so, to limit the cheese from coming out during the cooking, you need to flip the topside slices edges towards the inside.

Next, roll the topside slice up.

Tie the roll with a piece of string; this will keep the roll together during the cooking. The first involtino is now ready!

Repeat the procedure until you have 8 involtini.

Dust each involtino with flour.

Take a saute pan that can contain all the involtini, put the olive oil into it and heat the oil (medium/high heat). Also, keep a small pan with the beef stock handy because you will need a ladleful of stock soon.

When the olive oil is hot, add all the involtini into the pan.

Brown the involtini. This will take a few minutes, usually a couple of minutes for each side.

Use a wooden spatula so that you can easily turn the involtini around until they are browned.

Once browned, you will also notice that the bottom of the pan starts becoming a bit too dry so this is when to add the white wine.

Let the wine evaporate for a couple of minutes, bring the heat down to medium/low and add the sage leaves.

Season with black pepper and salt.

Add just one ladleful of beef stock and cook for few minutes until the sauce thickens (usually no more than 8-10 minutes). Serves 4.

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:

Winner of Free Funeral in Italy 'Has Not Claimed Prize'

Foggia - September 18, 2008 - The winner of a free funeral has not turned up to claim his prize after ticket number 11 was chosen in a raffle in southern Italy, an Italian newspaper reported Tuesday.

The holder of the winning ticket in the raffle held in the town of San Marco in Lamis (Foggia, Puglia) is entitled to a free lined coffin, a tombstone, copper candlesticks and a grave site, newspapers reported.

There is no deadline for claiming the prize and the winner can give it to somebody else, raffle organizers said, according to the paper.

"Oh, porca di quella troya, my number came up..."

That's some cheerful and cozy little town to visit, isn't it? Instead of a raffle of death, next time give away a run-down chicken shed (3 sick chickens included), an old Vespa scooter, or a mule that just couldn't care less about going anywhere anymore.

It's quite clear that the winner purposely did not claim the unlucky prize because the concepts of luck (good or bad) are universal to the Italian peasant community. Accepting the prize would cause have caused a great amount of stress for the unlucky winner and a great amount of entertainment for the people around him for it would have increased the importance of southern Italian superstitions in his life.

Superstition 1: To hear a cat sneeze was good luck for all who heard it. If that damn cat doesn't sneeze, then you must do all that is possible to make sure it gets a good cold (cold baths, sneezing germs on the cat food).

Superstition 2: On the other hand, to have birds in the house was unlucky. Either all the windows are kept closed at all times or a pellet gun is kept handy.

Superstition 3: You must touch iron immediately after seeing a nun (unlucky) You may mutter, "Your nun!" at the next person they see, thereby passing on the bad luck to someone else. Either you avoid churches until the day of your funeral or carry a piece of iron metal with you at all times.

Superstition 4: A loaf of bread must always be placed face up, or else bad luck will come. Imagine all the care and precautions that would have to go into making a simple mortadella and cheese sandwich!

Superstition 5: Some people extended this ban to bird feathers as well, especially peacock feathers, because they appear to have the "evil eye" on them. "Cacchio", if a peacock starts roaming around your home then it's best to just give up and cash in on your death raffle winnings.

"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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