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 10/27/09 Sweet Ricotta Cheese Tart

"Dare a Cesare quel che di Cesare, dare a Dio quel che di Dio." (Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give to God what belongs to God. Give credit where credit is due.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Zucchini Carpaccio
  -Fava Bean, Asparagus, and Arugula Salad with Shaved Pecorino
  -Sweet Ricotta Cheese Tart

"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: Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini Carpaccio

Ingredients:

4 small zucchini (1 lb total)
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz)
1 (6-oz) piece Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Special equipment: Adjustable-blade slicer

Directions:

Cut zucchini diagonally into paper-thin slices with slicer.

Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in 1 layer on 4 plates.

Make stacks of mint leaves and cut crosswise into very thin slivers, then sprinkle over zucchini.

Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, then drizzle over zucchini.

Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper to taste, and pine nuts.

Let stand 10 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.

Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese to taste over zucchini. Makes 4 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Fava Bean, Asparagus, and Arugula Salad with Shaved Pecorino

Fava Bean, Asparagus, and Arugula Salad with Shaved Pecorino
Insalata di Fave, Asparagi, Rucola e Pecorino

Ingredients:

1/2 lb medium asparagus, trimmed
2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (2 and 1/2 lbs in pods) or shelled edamame (fresh soybeans)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb arugula, coarse stems discarded
1 (1/2-lb) piece Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Cut asparagus stalks on a long diagonal into 1/8 inch-thick slices, leaving 1 inch-long tips (reserve tips separately).

Blanch asparagus tips (but not sliced stalks) in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes, then immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking.

Return water to a boil and blanch fava beans 1 minute, then immediately transfer with slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking.

Drain asparagus tips and beans and gently peel skins from beans (it's not necessary to peel edamame, if using).

Toss beans and asparagus (blanched tips and raw sliced stalks) in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, then divide among 4 plates.

Toss arugula with remaining tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and mound on top of vegetables.

Shave thin slices of cheese over salad with a vegetable peeler (use about half of piece), then drizzle with vinegar. Makes 4 first-course or lunch main-course servings.

Note: Fava beans can be blanched and peeled 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealed plastic bag.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sweet Ricotta Cheese Tart

Sweet Ricotta Cheese Tart
Torta di Ricotta

Ingredients:

1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs

One 15 to 16-ounce container ricotta cheese (whole-milk)
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon orange peel, salt, and baking powder in food processor.

Add butter and blend until coarse meal forms.

Add 2 eggs and blend until moist clumps form.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead to combine well, about 1 minute.

Divide into 2 pieces, one slightly larger.

Wrap and chill smaller piece. Press larger piece over bottom and up sides of 9 inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.

Using electric mixer, beat ricotta cheese, cream cheese, cornstarch, and vanilla in large bowl to blend.

Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons orange peel, and 2 eggs.

Transfer filling to dough-lined tart pan.

Roll out chilled dough piece to 10-inch round.

Place round over tart; trim excess dough.

Press edges of tart to seal.

Cut 4 slits in top of tart.

Bake tart until golden and puffed, about 1 hour.

Cool completely. Makes 12 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:

Italian Bishops Urge Politicians to Avoid the Limelight and Excesses

Rome - June 26, 2009 - The head of the Italian bishops conference CEI warned politicians on Friday the country wanted them to shun the limelight and avoid excesses.

In a message published by the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said Italians and young people in particular wanted politicians to adopt "sound behavior" and to distance themselves from "din and the spotlight".

The cardinal made no direct reference to a media storm over Premier Silvio Berlusconi's private life in his speech at a CEI meeting in the southern city of Crotone. However, he voiced concern about the moral decline in the country, urging politicians to set an example for youngsters.

He called ordinary Italians "the silent multitude" who live each day "humbly and soundly" and best represent the country's essence.

Last month, the bishops conference publicly rapped Berlusconi and his wife Veronica Lario for feeding a marriage-ending spat to the media. A front-page editorial in a national newspaper, the bishops' daily, called for "a premier who, with sobriety, is able to be the mirror of his country's soul".

Leaders should largely be judged on their achievements, the newspaper said, "but the 'stuff' of a leader, his style and the values with which he concretely fills his life, are not inconsequential. They cannot be".

Bishops worrying about the moral decline of Italians and how politicians should conduct themselves. Mah...

To be serious for a moment; the cardinal is taking a rational road here but with the Italians, the bridge is out. The good cardinal forgets that the so-called moral decline is mindfully related to the Catholic Church. (Take it easy, fellow Catholics. "Calma!").

There's a sort of "mea culpa" in which it doesn't matter what you're up to, whether it's good or bad, as long as you profess your intention to improve. Italian Catholicism is all-embracing (katholikos: everyone is included), which simply means that everyone is forgiven or pardoned. There's nothing that a gentle nod towards the cassocks at Sunday Mass or judicial 'togas' can't resolve.

Italian politicians who spent their childhoods skinning animals and learning politics from a sick rooster and goat may be criminals, 99% will acknowledge as much along with the fact they are as dull as mussels, but it doesn't matter. Everything is whitewashed.

History, personal or political, is quickly forgotten.

"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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