11/13/07 Biscotti di Formaggio e Pepe from

"Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata." (A wet bride is a fortunate bride. Rain on the day you get married brings good luck.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Insalata di Pollo
  -Risotto ai Tartufi, Vino e Parmigiano
  -Biscotti di Formaggio e Pepe

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In".


Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookies for Christmas

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, you might be interested in the following deadline: All orders must be placed by Wednesday morning, December 12, at noon EST. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Insalata di Pollo

Insalata di Pollo
Italian Chicken Salad


For the croutons:
4 cups (1/2 inch) cubes Italian bread (from a 1/2 lb crusty round loaf)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the vinaigrette dressing:
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:
2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (1/2 lb; from a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls; 6 oz)
2 hearts of romaine lettuce (3/4 lb total), torn into bite-size pieces
1 (8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 cup assorted marinated brine-cured olives (5 oz)


Prepare the croutons:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 F.

Toss bread cubes with olive oil and salt in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack.

Make vinaigrette dressing and begin preparing salad while croutons bake:
Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl until combined. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Toss chicken and bocconcini mozzarella together with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in a bowl and let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Prepare the salad:
Toss together romaine lettuce, red peppers, olives, chicken and bocconcini mixture, croutons, and remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl until combined. Makes 4 main-course servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Risotto ai Tartufi, Vino e Parmigiano

Risotto ai Tartufi, Vino e Parmigiano
Risotto with Truffles, Red Wine and Parmigiano


For the Parmigiano cheese broth:
1 tablespoon butter
1 small leek (white part only), chopped
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 and 1/2 lbs Parmigiano cheese rinds, broken into 2 to 3 inch squares
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh parsley sprigs
8 cups (about) water

For the risotto:
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups carnaroli rice or arborio rice
2 cups Pinot Noir
6 ounces white truffle butter*
2 tablespoons red or white verjus or 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives


Prepare the Parmigiano broth:
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

Add leek, fennel, onion, and garlic. Stir until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook until beginning to brown on bottom of pan, about 2 minutes.

Add cheese rinds, thyme, and parsley.

Add enough water just to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain, discarding solids in strainer. Return broth to saucepan.

Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using, whisking to blend.

Prepare the risotto:
Place first 5 ingredients in double layer of cheesecloth; gather ends. Tie tightly with kitchen string; trim excess cloth.

Bring chicken and beef broths to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover and keep warm.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add herb bundle, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine; increase heat to high. Boil until almost dry, about 6 minutes.

Add warm broth mixture 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often until rice is tender but still firm to bite, about 20 minutes.

Add truffle butter, verjus, parsley, and chives. Stir until butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide risotto among bowls. Pour 1/4 cup warm parmesan broth around risotto in each bowl and serve. Makes 6 servings.

*Note: White truffle butter can be found at specialty foods stores and Italian markets. A great substitute for truffle butter is an equal amount of plain butter seasoned with a drizzle of truffle oil. Parmigiano cheese rinds are available at cheese counters and cheese shops.

That's it!

 Recipe: Biscotti di Formaggio e Pepe

Biscotti di Formaggio e Pepe
Parmigiano Black Pepper Biscotti


1 and 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 and 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (2 and 1/4 cups)
1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk


Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 F.

Pulse peppercorns in coffee bean/spice grinder until coarsely ground.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl.

Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high).

Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.

Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper.

Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total.

Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.

Carefully transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife.

Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets.

Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total.

Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes. Makes 5 to 6 dozen.

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:

Man Trades House Arrest For Jail

Naples, April 4 - A Neapolitan man is happily back in jail after convincing authorities at the second attempt that prison is preferable to life at home.

"Thank goodness they've let me back inside. I couldn't stand it any more," said Franco Natale, 37, a petty thief.

Natale was sentenced to a year's house arrest at the end of March. Less than a week later he sneaked out of the house and rushed to the nearest police station, on the run from what he called "domestic madness".

Natale begged to be put back behind bars but police turned a deaf ear to his pleas and took him back to his wife. Another violent argument propelled him outdoors a few hours later and a police patrol looked kindlier on his plight.

He was taken before a judge who finally granted his appeal to serve his time where he wanted, among his fellow prisoners in Naples' Pioggioreale prison, one of Italy's toughest.

Natale is not the first Italian criminal to trade home for jail. There were two cases in 2004 and one in 2002, all in Sicily.

"Ohhh, porca puttana!"

What a terrible story! We cant believe a Napolitano family split up. You never read about things like that, do you?

What exactly was Franco's definition of "domestic madness"? There are many degrees.

- Does it mean she did not let him pick the TV channel to some incredibly entertaining, Italian variety show?
- Does it mean she smacked him around like pizza dough because his face looked like it belonged in some racist cartoon?
- Could it be she hadn't made fresh tomato sauce in over 3 years?
- Could it be she could no longer stand his roaming around Naples with wear his shirt half-buttoned and cheap Neapolitano aftershave?

Add 1/2 a lb of fresh Naples to the "Domestic Madness" recipe and you will have a tasty and fruity nut cake!

When Franco ventures out of his home-sweet-home and into the jungles of Naples...the adventure begins!

You are in just as much danger of being killed walking down the sidewalk as you are lying in the middle of the street. Wild stray human beings and animals aside, the sidewalks are fair game for soccer balls, silly string, soap suds and anything on two wheels and sometimes cars, if they feel they have wasted enough time in traffic (When Italy passed a mandatory seatbelt law, it was the Napolitanos that produced T-shirts with the images of shoulder belts stenciled on them).

The tamest thing in that Naples is Vesuvius...and Franco would agree!

"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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