10/20/09 Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Basil

"Casa senza fimmina 'mpuvirisci." (A house without a woman is a poor house!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Gnocchi Roman Style
  -Veal and Vegetable Stew
  -Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Basil

"Auguri e saluti" to all our readers. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Italian cookies for your Thanksgiving

Italian Thanksgiving? According to the fine pilgrim tradition, our Italian ancestors went over to the New World, America, celebrated and gave thanks for their new found fortune, freedom and prosperity. However, they were very reluctant to give up the traditions of their own, that is why they still serve manicotti, lasagna or stuffed shells prior to the turkey. Afterwards, you top off the feast with fine Italian pastries and cookies with espresso,

Why not order a scrumptious batch of Italian cookies for your Thanksgiving feast? They're perfect to adorn any Thanksgiving table and delicious to enjoy. If you would like to order in time for the Holiday, please keep in mind the following deadline:

All Thanksgiving orders must be placed by Saturday morning, November 14, at noon EST. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Gnocchi Roman Style

Gnocchi Roman Style
Gnocchi alla Romana


9 oz (250 grams) semolina
2 egg yolks
1 and 3/4 pints (1 liter) whole milk
5 oz (150 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
5 oz (150 grams) Pecorino cheese, freshly grated


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas Mark 6.

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Pour the milk into a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Sprinkle in the semolina, stirring constantly, and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by 1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) of Pecorino cheese and 2 oz (50 grams) of butter.

Pour the semolina on to a work surface and spread out to a depth of about 1/2 inch (1 cm) with a knife.

Stamp out rounds with a 1 and 1/2-inch (4 cm) biscuit cutter and place a layer of rounds in the prepared dish.

Sprinkle with some of the remaining Pecorino cheese and dot with a little of the remaining butter.

Continue making layers in this way until all the ingredients are used.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Veal and Vegetable Stew

Veal and Vegetable Stew
Spezzatino con Verdure


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 oz (25 grams) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 lb and 5 oz (600 grams) boned shoulder of veal, cut into cubes
Plain flour, for dusting
3 carrots, cut into thin batons
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) tomato passata
3 courgettes, cut into thin batons
Salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, add the onion and celery and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Dust the veal with flour, add to the pan and cook over a high heat, stirring frequently, until browned all over.

Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the carrots and passata.

Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, occasionally adding 2-3 tablespoons warm water if the stew starts to dry out.

Add the courgettes, re-cover the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Basil

Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Basil
Risotto Gamberetti con Spinaci e Basilico


6 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice (about 9 and 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
One 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Additional grated Parmesan cheese


Bring 6 cups broth to simmer in medium saucepan.

Add shrimp.

Turn off heat, cover, and let stand until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 3 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to small bowl; cover with foil to keep warm.

Cover broth to keep warm.

Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

Add chopped onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add minced garlic and stir 1 minute.

Add rice and stir until edge of rice is translucent but center is still opaque, about 2 minutes.

Add wine and cook until wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup chicken broth.

Simmer until almost all broth is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.

Continue to add broth, 3/4 cup at a time, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often and allowing almost all broth to be absorbed after each addition, about 25 minutes total.

During last 5 minutes, add spinach in 4 batches, stirring and allowing spinach to wilt after each addition.

Mix in shrimp, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and basil.

Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon risotto into shallow bowls and serve, passing additional cheese separately. 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:

'Gomorrah' Actor Arrested For Extortion Again

Naples, January 5, 2008 - An actor in the Oscar-tipped Naples Mafia expose' Gomorrah was back behind bars for the second time in just over six months after police busted him for demanding protection money from local businesses.

Giovanni Venosa, who played a Camorra boss who condemns two unruly teenagers to death in the film, was arrested at the weekend, just days after his release from a half-way house in northern Italy. Venosa was first arrested in July and sentenced to two years by magistrates, who branded him a "habitual delinquent".

After an early release, he returned to his native Caserta, a town north of Naples, where he is alleged to have gone back to asking local shopkeepers for the so-called 'pizzo' at a special Christmas rate. Venosa is the third actor from director Matteo Garrone's largely non-professional cast to have been jailed since the film's release last year.

Salvatore Fabbricino, who played a boss in Naples' notorious Scampia neighborhood in the film, was also arrested in July after a former Camorra drug dealer collaborating with police identified him as one of his "employees".

A third actor, Bernardino Terracciano, who plays Uncle Bernardino in the movie, was busted in October for extortion and for having links to the fearsome Casalesi clan, which is thought to have been responsible for the shooting of six African immigrants in September.

The clan is also believed to have issued a death threat for author Roberto Saviano, who wrote the worldwide bestseller from which Gomorrah was adapted.

The film is bidding for the Best Foreign Film Oscar and also hopes for a nod among the best films of the year as well as screenplay and director nominations at the Academy Awards ceremony in February.

Gomorrah won second prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival and bagged the best screenplay award at the Chicago Film Fest.

"Cornuto", not the brightest eggplant in the batch, is he?

This is what happens when movie makeup sinks into the brain of a thick-headed Napolitano who thinks he's Mickey Rourke.

What a shame, though. He'll be missed at the Oscars this year.

By the way, just to make him feel better, more people are reading about him in this newsletter than during his entire movie career.

"...he is alleged to have gone back to asking local shopkeepers for the so-called 'pizzo' at a special Christmas rate." "Minchia", how jolly of him. We're positive the special Christmas rate included an autographed copy of his stellar performance in 'Gomorrah'.

We're curious... When the polizia arrested him, did he first think they stopped him for his autograph?

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