11/06/12 Broccoli Mascarpone Soup

"Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare." (Eat to live and not live to eat.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Broccoli Mascarpone Soup
  -Baked Gnocchi with Spinach and Ricotta
  -Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie

"Siamo tornati!" "Buongiorno" to all! On behalf of myself and my bakery staff we thank you so dearly for your patience...and all our warm emails! Where have we've been? We simply needed a nice vacation from it all and get back in touch with some traditional roots. We all need to from time to time.

Thanks for hanging in there and hope you enjoy the recipes. More of them on the way!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Italian Cookies for Christmas Holidays

Cookies have always played an important part in Italian cuisine, whether you have them for breakfast with a cappuccino, or nibbled with a quick cup of espresso at a mid-morning or afternoon break.

It is at holiday time however, particularly Christmas, when cookies truly shine. In almost any Italian home, whether it be in Italy, or in North America, most families treat themselves to traditional cookies each Christmas, and often these cookies are from recipes that have been handed down through their families for generations.

If you are interested in ordering your own Italian cookie tray this Holiday season for your family or close friends, please keep in mind our ordering deadline:
All orders must be placed by Wednesday, December 5, at 12:00 PM EST. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Broccoli Mascarpone Soup

Broccoli Mascarpone Soup
Zuppa di Broccoli e Mascarpone


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 6 large)
1 and 1/2 pounds broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces) mascarpone cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.

Add shallots. Saute 3 minutes.

Add broccoli. Saute 1 minute.

Add broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Working in batches, transfer soup to blender; puree until smooth.

Return to pot.

Reserve 1/4 cup mascarpone in small bowl. Cover and chill.

Whisk 1 and 1/4 cups mascarpone and cayenne pepper into soup.

Season with salt.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Garnish with reserved mascarpone.

Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Baked Gnocchi with Spinach and Ricotta

Baked Gnocchi with Spinach and Ricotta
Gnocchi al Forno con Spinaci e Ricotta


One (1-lb) package potato gnocchi
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 (5-oz) packages baby spinach
1/2 cup whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella


Preheat broiler.

Cook gnocchi in a 5-quart pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions (gnocchi will float to surface when done).

Drain in a colander.

Whisk together cream, flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet.

Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking.

Continue to boil, whisking frequently, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Add spinach in handfuls, tossing with tongs, and cook until wilted, 2 to 4 minutes.

Remove from heat, then stir in gnocchi.

Spoon ricotta over gnocchi in 5 large dollops and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is browned and bubbling in spots, about 2 minutes.

Season with pepper. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie

Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie
Torta di Zucca e Mascarpone


For the Crust:
1 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup (or more) ice water

For the Filling:
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
One 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese

For the Topping:
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


Prepare the Crust:
Blend flour and salt in processor.

Add butter and shortening; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse until dough begins to clump, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry.

Gather into ball; flatten into disk.

Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough on floured work surface to 12-inch round.

Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish.

Trim overhang to 1 inch beyond rim.

Crimp edges.

Chill crust while making filling.

Prepare the Filling:
Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin and sugar in large bowl until well blended.

Add eggs and next 7 ingredients and beat until blended.

Add mascarpone cheese and beat just until mixture is smooth.

Transfer filling to prepared crust.

Bake pie until custard is set, about 55 minutes.

Transfer pie to rack and cool.

Prepare the Topping:
Combine ingredients in medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat to soft peaks.

Serve pie with topping. Serves 8.

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:

Thieves Digging 1,000 Yard Tunnel Busted With A Few Feet Left To Go

Catania - March 28, 2012 - A gang of would-be thieves spent a month painstakingly digging a 1,000 yard tunnel with the aim of robbing a group of Italian jewellers only to be caught feet from their target.

The four members of the band were arrested after two of them were spotted popping out of a manhole in Acireale, a coastal town at the edge of Mount Etna in Sicily.

They had used picks and shovels to dig the narrow tunnel, equipping it with lighting powered by a generator.

As they excavated, they supported the winding tunnel with metal struts and wooden planks, in scenes reminiscent of The Great Escape.

The tunnel ran from near the town's Piazza San Sebastiano, where it was accessed via the manhole, to Via Davi', in the picturesque historic center of Acireale, a street well known for its jewellers.

Police said they were "just a few meters" from their target when they were discovered and were poised to break through the floor of a jewellers, probably at night.

Suspicions had been aroused when two members of the gang were seen emerging from a manhole clutching two-way radios which they were using to communicate with each other.

Detectives sent in mountain rescue and caving experts to explore the subterranean passage, which for part of its course ran along a sewer line.

They found chisels, hammers and other tools scattered on the floor of the tunnel, as well as a small generator to power the lights and hard hats equipped with torches. The equipment was taken as evidence and handed over to investigators in the nearby city of Catania.

The men were named as Mario Catalano, 43, Mario Lanzarotti, 48, Rosario Albicocco, 22, and Salvatore Grasso, 38.

Aside from enterprising thieves, tunnels are also favored by mafia gangsters on the run, who use them as a ready means of escape should the police raid their hide-outs.

In 2009 police arrested an alleged mafia boss who was hiding in an underground bunker equipped with an unusual means of escape; a skateboard to propel himself down a 200 yard secret tunnel.

Giuseppe Bastone's hideout was a 10ft by 10ft space underneath a house near Naples that was accessed through a hidden trapdoor underneath a stairway. The tunnel led to a shaft which emerged in a field.

The Great Escape Vs The Sicilian Escapade

Film: Locked up with "every escape artist in Germany", Bartlett immediately plans the greatest escape attempted: tunnels for breaking out 250 prisoners. The intent is to "confuse, confound and harass the enemy" to the point that as many troops and resources as possible will be wasted on finding POWs instead of being used on the front line.

Sicily: Holed up with three other imaginative Sicilians in an Acireale bar, Mario #1 plans the greatest heist: dig a long tunnel (rather than use the available sewer line) to reach several jewelry shops on a busy street. Mario #2, Rosario and Salvatore immediately begin to argue about who will do the most work. The intent is to burglarize...and "confuse, confound and humor" the town residents and law authorities.

Film: Teams are organized to tunnel, make civilian clothing, forge documents, procure contraband materials, and prevent guards from discovering their work.

Sicily: No thought into procuring sewer maintenance worker clothes, and no objection to casually emerging from a manhole with two-way radios and smiles on their faces.

Film: The last part of the tunnel is completed on the night of the escape, but is 20 feet short of woods which are to provide cover. Danny nearly snaps from claustrophobia and delays those behind him, but is helped by Willie. Seventy-six escape. The End.

Sicily: The last part of the tunnel is completed, but is a few feet short of the jewelry shop. Mario #1, Mario #2, Rosario, and Salvatore begin celebrating the success of the 99.5% complete tunnel. All four are arrested. The Funny End.

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