10/28/08 Chestnut Pudding from

"A tutto c'è rimedio, fuorchè alla morte." (There is a cure for everything except death.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Roasted Aubergines With Ricotta Cheese
  -Pumpkin Tortelli
  -Chestnut Pudding

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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 15, at noon EST. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Roasted Aubergines With Ricotta Cheese

Roasted Aubergines With Ricotta Cheese
Melanzane In Forno Alla Ricotta


2 oz (50 grams) dried mushrooms
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
4 small aubergines, halved lengthways
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
5 oz (150 grams) ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of dried oregano
2 salted anchovies, heads removed, cleaned and filleted, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
Salt and pepper


Put the mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and leave to soak for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas Mark 4.

Brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil.

Scoop out the flesh from the aubergines into a bowl without piercing the shells.

Cook the shells in salted, boiling water for 8-9 minutes, then remove with a fish slice and place upside down on kitchen paper to drain.

Add half the aubergine flesh to the same water, cook for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze out and mix with the garlic and parsley.

Mix together the ricotta, Parmigiano cheese, egg and oregano in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the aubergine and garlic mixture.

Drain and squeeze out the mushrooms.

Chop the mushrooms and anchovies together and stir into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the aubergine shells, place in the prepared dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, basting occasionally with the cooking juices. Serve hot. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pumpkin Tortelli

Pumpkin Tortelli
Tortelli di Zucca


For the Fresh Pasta:
7 oz (200 grams) plain flour, (Italian type "00" is great, plus extra for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Pasta Filling:
1 lb and 2 oz (500 grams) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped
17 oz (200 grams) Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated (plus extra to serve)
3-4 oz (80-120 grams) breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 oz (50 grams) butter
9 fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Fresh Pasta:
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mound on a work surface.

Make a well in the center and add the eggs.

Using your fingers, gradually mix the flour, then knead for about 10 minutes (If the mixture is too firm, add a little water; if it is a bit soft, add a little extra flour.

Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.

Roll out the pasta dough into a sheet and stamp out 3-inch (7.5 cm) rounds with a pastry cutter.

Prepare the Pasta Filling:
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas Mark 4.

Place the pumpkin in a roasting tin, drizzle with some olive oil, cover with foil and bake for about an hour.

Pass the pumpkin through a food mill into a bowl, add the eggs and Parmigiano cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in enough breadcrumbs to make a fairly firm mixture.

Spoon a little of the pumpkin filling into the center of each pasta round, fold in half and crimp the edges.

Cook the tortelli in a large pan of salted, boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan, add the sage and cook for a few minutes.

Drain the tortelli, place in a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the sage butter and extra Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chestnut Pudding

Chestnut Pudding
Budino di Castagne


1 lb and 2 oz (500 grams) chestnuts, shelled
18 fl oz (500 ml) milk
A few drops of vanilla essence
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) blanched almonds, plus extra to garnish
2 oz (50 grams) superfine sugar
1/4 pint (150 ml) single cream


Cook the chestnuts in a pan of boiling water for about 20 minutes, then drain and peel off the skins.

Put them in a saucepan, add the milk and vanilla and season with a pinch of salt.

Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 35 minutes until tender.

Press the chestnuts and their cooking liquid through a sieve into another saucepan.

Toast the almonds in the oven or under the grill, then chop.

Gently heat the chestnut puree and stir in the sugar and almonds, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.

Pour the mixture into a mould, leave to cool and then chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Just before serving, turn out on to a dish and garnish with almonds. Serves 6.

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:

Only Mickey Mouse Can Save Venice

Venice - October 1, 2008 - A proposal to turn the lagoon city of Venice into a Disney-style theme park has won a prize from a famed Venetian academy, even though it rejected the idea.

The venerable Istituto Veneto described the scheme by British economist John Kay as a thought-provoking critique of the Italian city's unwieldy tourist economy.

Kay won 5,000 euros ($6,700) from the nearly 200-year-old institute for writing that Venice would be better off as a theme park, complete with a 50 euro entrance fee.

"Only one man can save Venice: Mickey Mouse," read the headline for his article explaining the concept, published in March in a British paper. "The city is already a theme park and should be handed over to Disney. They would do a better job of running it."

Its population long dwindling, Venice's remaining 70,000 residents are far outnumbered by the millions of tourists who flock to the city every year creating an artificial economy that cheats tourists and sends locals packing, Kay wrote.

"If the first thing visitors to Venice remember is the magnificence of the setting, the second is the frequency with which they were ripped off," he wrote.

"Disney wants its guests to have a good time because it cares whether they come back. Most residents of Venice would rather that visitors didn't come back."

The academy's decision to give Kay an award for the article outraged Venice's mayor, who the Briton said should be substituted by a theme park manager.

Mayor Massimo Cacciari said he found it "simply comic" that a Venetian cultural institution should reward "the most kitsch images about Venice and its future."

"Cornuto diavolo", $1500 for a Gondola ride? Ah, plus tip?

1.) Rip Off: It's a lovely warm night. You are walking across Piazza San Marco. You're dizzy from the music that drifts all around you. You hear live classical music being played and you decide that you will have a couple of romantic drinks. Just one round. You exchange a couple of kisses and then you get the bill.

"Figlio di una mignotta", how did 2 drinks, 2 kisses and being caught listening to music cost 40 Euros?

Disney solution: For 40 Euros a couple you'll get unlimited wine served by Cinderella and be able to listen to a full orchestra play the entire production of "Fantasia".

2.) Rip Off: You wander around the small streets off Piazza San Marco. You come across a number of seafood restaurants, with heavenly displays of fresh seafood out the front, and model waiters standing in the streets who coax you into their restaurant like "Lady and the Tramp". You decide a couple of seafood salads can't put a dent in your Venice budget.

"Scassacazzo", I didn't realize the shrimp and calamari were fished by Neptune himself and that he's the one who suggested charging the salads by weight!

Disney solution: Every Venice restaurant bill is examined and calculated by Jiminy Cricket, not the owners.

3.) Rip Off: Sit back and snuggle up in a red velvet-cushioned gondola, and let the gondolier paddle you slowly through quiet side canals, under traditional historic bridges like the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto. As you gently bob up and down on the wakes of passing boats, let the gondolier tell you stories about Marco Polo. You will have an experience to tell your grandchildren someday.

120 bucks to ride in a canoe for half an hour? "Vaffanculo" to you, this lagoon and Marco Polo!

Disney solution: Gondoliers establish official rates with Mickey Mouse. Any violators are prosecuted by Captain Hook and condemned to walking the plank.

"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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