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 11/20/07 Torta di Cioccolato from CookiesFromItaly.com

"La gatta frettolosa fece i gattini ciechi." (The hurried cat gave birth to blind kittens. Haste makes waste.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Agnolotti con Piselli e Formaggio
  -Arrosto di Agnello con Salsa Verde
  -Torta di Cioccolato

Hope everyone has had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday. Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

Arrivederci!

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: Agnolotti con Piselli e Formaggio

Agnolotti con Piselli e Formaggio
Agnolotti with Peas and Cheese

Ingredients:

For the filling:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream for fresh peas or 3 tablespoons for frozen
1 tablespoon sugar
1 garlic clove, flattened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh green peas (from about 16 ounces in pods) or 1 and 1/4 cups frozen petite peas
1/4 cup soft fresh goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

For the pasta dough:
1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 and 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (about) water

3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter
Chopped fresh thyme
Parmigiano cheese shavings

Directions:

Preparation for the filling:
Combine 1/2 cup cream (for fresh peas) or 3 tablespoons cream (for frozen), sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper in medium saucepan; bring to boil.

Add peas and cook until tender, about 10 minutes for fresh and 3 minutes for frozen.

Transfer mixture to processor and puree until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl; mix in both cheeses and thyme. Chill filling at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Cover and keep chilled.

Preparation for the pasta dough:
Blend flour and salt in processor. Add yolks, whole egg, and olive oil; process until soft dough forms, adding water by tablespoonfuls if dry.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.

Wrap in plastic wrap; let rest at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut dough into 4 equal pieces.

Turn pasta machine to widest setting. Flatten 1 dough piece into rectangle.

Cover remaining dough pieces with plastic wrap.

Run dough through machine 4 times. Adjust machine to next narrower setting.

Run dough through machine 4 times. Repeat running dough strip through machine 4 times on each narrower setting, cutting dough strip in half crosswise for easier handling when strip becomes very long and dusting dough with flour as needed if sticky.

Continue rolling until pasta strips are 22 to 24 inches long, dusting lightly with flour as needed.

Repeat rolling with remaining 3 dough pieces. Let dough strips dry slightly on floured work surface until no longer sticky to touch for easier handling, about 10 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; dust lightly with flour. Cut each dough strip into 3-inch squares (about 8 from each dough strip).

Place 1 teaspoon filling in center of each square. Brush 2 adjacent dough edges with water; fold 1 long side over filling, enclosing filling and pressing to seal, forming rectangle.

Transfer to prepared baking sheets, arranging in single layer. (Can be made 2 hours ahead.) Cover with towel and let stand at room temperature.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; remove from heat.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add half of agnolotti and cook just until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer agnolotti to large sieve and drain well, then add to skillet with butter. Repeat with remaining agnolotti.

Toss agnolotti over medium-high heat until coated with butter and heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle lightly with chopped thyme. Divide among 6 bowls; sprinkle with Parmigiano shavings and serve. Makes 6 first-course servings.

That's it!


 Recipe: Arrosto di Agnello con Salsa Verde

Arrosto di Agnello con Salsa Verde
Roast Lamb with Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup salted capers, soaked in cold water 30 minutes, or brined capers, drained, chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
One 5 and 1/2-lb boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, trimmed

Directions:

Stir first 10 ingredients in large bowl for salsa verde.

Place lamb on work surface, smooth-side down. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper, then garlic.

Rub 1/4 cup salsa verde into lamb.

Roll up lamb.

Using kitchen string, tie lamb every 2-inches to hold together. (Lamb and salsa verde can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill. Let lamb and salsa verde stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Place lamb on rack in roasting pan. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 120 F for medium-rare, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

Transfer lamb to cutting board; remove kitchen string. Cut crosswise into thin slices. Arrange sliced lamb on platter.

Spoon some salsa verde over. Serve lamb, passing remaining salsa alongside. Serves 8.

That's it!


 Recipe: Torta di Cioccolato

Torta di Cioccolato
Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

8 oz (225 grams) dark chocolate
4 oz (100 grams) unsalted butter
5 free range eggs, separated
5 oz (150 grams) superfine sugar
2 fluid oz (50 ml) brandy
3 and 1/2 oz (90 grams) fine polenta
Icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. (180 C).

Grease and flour a 10 inch (25 cm) loose-bottomed, round cake tin.

Break the chocolate into a small saucepan, add the butter and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy.

Fold in the chocolate mixture, rum or brandy and polenta and mix together well.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not too dry and fold and fold into the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until firm to the touch but still slightly moist. Leave to cool in the tin. The cake will rise, then sink and crack on top, but don't be alarmed.

When cold, dust with sifted icing sugar.

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:

Italian Prisoners to Make Gelato

Milan - October 19 - Inmates from a prison just outside Milan will help Italy fight global warming by making environment-friendly ice cream from local milk and berries and fruits, Italian farmers' group Coldiretti said on Thursday. Ice cream lovers will be able to taste a gelato fresh from behind the bars in February when a small group of inmates from a high security wing of the prison in Opera, a few km south of Milan, start their in-house production. "We will make an experimental, artisan product, using fresh local raw materials which are not genetically modified," Marco Molinelli and Roberto Saini from Jobinside company which is running the project, were quoted by Coldiretti as saying. Every such effort counts in Italy which lags far behind targets set under the Kyoto Protocol for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) output. Coldiretti, which is spearheading a "zero kilometer" campaign, has been urging Italians to produce and buy food made from local products in order to cut emissions of heat-trapping CO2 linked to transporting goods.

"Gelato al cioccolato, Signore criminale."

Making gelato in jail: Whatever happened to the definition of jail? You're not supposed to enjoy yourself in jail. You're supposed to get hassled and have your freedoms inhibited. Italian prisoners want to contribute to the fight against global warming. Vaffanculo, who is going to believe that?

The objective of the Kyoto Protocol is to achieve "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." The objective of jail is to achieve the "stabilization of criminal jackass minds at uncomfortable levels that would prevent future criminal interference with so-called civil society."

Please be aware Italians do care about the environment (or, at least, pretend to) therefore, we will be happy to take our children and bike over to the local jailhouse and purchase peculiar ice cream from inmates. And it doesn't matter what flavor is available just as long that everyone stays calm.

Besides, only a criminal mind would produce and sell gelato in February.

"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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