11/03/15 Chicken Strips with Wild Mushrooms

"Non si fanno frittate senza rompere le uova." (You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. You have to take action, if you want to bring about change.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Bean Soup with Spinach, Fresh Sage and Rosemary
  -Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic
  -Chicken Strips with Wild Mushrooms

Buongiorno a tutti!" Yes, it's been quite a while since we last kept in touch. How have you've been doing these past few months? It seems all we do is just keep running and running to keep up with the times, having trouble finding at least one peaceful moment to enjoy a homemade dish with a glass of red wine. Even in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, Sicily...

On behalf of everyone here at our little bakery, thank you again for your patience and for simply being you. Try to slow down and enjoy these new Italian recipes. More are on the way.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Bean Soup with Spinach, Fresh Sage and Rosemary

Bean Soup with Spinach, Fresh Sage and Rosemary
Zuppa di Fagioli con Spinaci, Salvia e Rosmarino


Two 15 to 16-ounce cans white beans, drained
Two 15 to 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
3 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
3 garlic cloves, minced
One 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
5 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmigiano cheese


Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are golden, about 15-18 minutes.

Add rosemary and stir 1 minute.

Add chicken broth and beans.

Bring soup to a boil.

Reduce to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend, about 10-12 minutes.

Transfer soup to blender and puree until smooth.

Return to pot.

Mix in spinach and sage.

Stir until spinach wilts, about 1-2 minutes.

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Sprinkle each with Parmigiano cheese.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired. Makes 8 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic
Spaghetti con Bietola e Aglio


2 pounds green Swiss chard
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried currants
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 and 1/2 cups)
1 pound spaghetti


Finely chop the Swiss chard stems and center ribs and coarsely chop the leaves separately.

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.

Cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Cook onion in olive oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add currants and cook, stirring, until they plump, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir Swiss chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in Swiss chard leaves and cook, covered, until stems and leaves are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain spaghetti.

Toss spaghetti with Swiss chard, olives, and 1/2 cup cooking water, adding more cooking water if necessary.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve sprinkled with feta cheese and garlic. Serves 4 to 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken Strips with Wild Mushrooms

Chicken Strips with Wild Mushrooms
Strisce di Pollo con Funghi Selvaggi


8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 cup assorted sliced wild mushrooms (such as crimini and oyster)
1/4 cup drained canned white beans
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon Marsala wine
2 tablespoons truffle butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Porcini powder (can also be prepared by grinding dried Porcini mushrooms in a spice mill.


Season chicken with Porcini powder, salt, and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Saute chicken until golden brown and almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in same skillet.

Add mushrooms, beans, garlic, and rosemary and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown.

Stir in chicken broth, Marsala wine, and chicken strips.

Simmer until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in truffle butter and unsalted butter.

Serve chicken and sauce over steamed rice. Makes 2 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:

Here comes that same new idea for Italian schools

Rome - January 30, 2015 - Students at Italian primary schools will soon be able to learn subjects in English, Italy's education minister has announced.

"From September there will be the possibility to have proper English professors who teach, working alongside the teacher, a subject in English," the minister told the news agency.

At the moment the measure is focusing on pupils of primary school age, rather than older schoolchildren, the minister said.

"I know that it will take time," the minister stated. "We are setting up a national model for the next generation of English teachers."

The new selection process for teachers will also target Italian language teachers for children who are not native speakers, the minister said, reflecting Italy's growing linguistic diversity.

The case come to light in 2011 when Italy's financial police probed cash transfers to Iraq over suspected money laundering after the couple sent some of the money to help family there.

Never fails... Every time Italy gets a new DIY government, whoever's turn it is to be the Minister of Education wipes the dust off the idea of introducing school subjects in English.

Before setting up that model, how about if we fix a few quirks we have with the Italian language?

English children are taught to avoid a run-on sentence and lighten sentences of unnecessary words. What insane academic committee stated it's fine to teach Italian children how to write one sentence that covers an entire page?
"The quick brown (insert 68 words) jumps over the lazy (insert another 51 words and a brief life story)."

This passionate love affair Italians have with the semicolon has to come to an end. It has always had a reputation of being worthless punctuation. We see enough of it in our Italian utility bills, cooking recipes and children's comic books!

The English are taught to write clear and to the point. It's like modern art, less is more. Why use four words when one will do fine? Italians are taught to write more like Dante. Why write about one circle of hell when you have nine? A production of Hamlet is less complicated that an Italian third grader's description of what he did for Easter vacation.

Last but not least, we'll be looking forward to the teachers' class notes in English such as the following:

"Per festeggiare la sufficienza in arte Lorenzo S. spara un fumogeno dalla finestra dell'aula."
"To celebrate his passing grade in art Lorenzo S. fired a smoke bomb from the classroom window."

"(In nord Italia) L'alunno D.L. giustifica l'assenza del 10/11/2014 per: Ha ceduto una diga in Puglia (sud Italia)."
(In north Italy) "Student Dario L. justified his absence of 10/11/2014 with: A dam broke in Puglia (south Italy).

"L'alunno Alessandro S. assente il 16/03/2008, motivo: Dovevo picchiare bene il mio cugino."
"Student Alessandro S. absent on 16/03/2008, motive: I had to give a good beating to my cousin."

"Meta' della classe e' assente, l'altra meta' tenta di convincermi che gli assenti non sono mai esistiti."
"Half of the class is absent, the other half is trying to convince me that the absent never existed."  





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