11/23/10 White Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

"Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino." (The cat goes so often to the lard it leaves a paw behind. The pitcher goes so often to the well that it leaves its handle.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Escarole Soup
  -Farfalle with Spinach and Pesto
  -White Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

Hope all your Holiday Season plans are filled with serenity, love, and above all, good health! Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e grazie!

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 Sunday, December 12, at 12:00 PM EST. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Escarole Soup

Escarole Soup
Zuppa Di Cicoria


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Soup:
1 and 1/2 lbs (675 grams) escarole
2 eggs
1 oz (25 grams) butter
1 oz (25 grams) Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
4 country-style bread slices
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Soup:
Bring the stock to a boil.

Parboil the escarole in boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Drain, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and coarsely chop.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the escarole and cook over a high heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the meat stock.

Beat the eggs with the Parmigiano cheese, season with salt and pepper and whisk into the soup.

Lightly toast the bread on both sides under a preheated grill.

Put one slice in each of four soup bowls and ladle in the soup. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Farfalle with Spinach and Pesto

Farfalle with Spinach and Pesto
Farfalle Con Spinaci e Pesto


1/3 cup blanched almonds
8 ounces fresh spinach
4 tbs unsalted butter
4 scallions, cut in 1-inch lengths
2 medium garlic cloves, split in half
1/3 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly milled black pepper
1/2 cup Romano and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese
1 lb Farfalle pasta


Toast the almonds, by placing them on a cookie sheet and toasting them on a center rack of pre-heated 350 F oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Place in food processor.

Run machine nonstop until coarsely chopped.

Set aside.

Wash the spinach several times in lukewarm water.

Remove stems.

Blot leaves dry with paper towel and cut into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tbs butter over low heat.

Add scallions and garlic and cook, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes.

Place scallion-garlic mixture in food processor.

Add spinach, parsley, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.

Turn machine on and run nonstop for 30 seconds.

Stop machine once or twice and scrape down inside of work bowl with a rubber spatula.

Run machine until you have a smooth, thick paste.

Transfer to a bowl and blend in Romano-Parmigiano cheese mixture with a fork.

Cook pasta in 6 quarts boiling water with 1 tbs salt until 'al dente'.

Before draining pasta, take about 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.

Drain pasta in colander, transfer to a bowl containing 1 tbs softened butter and toss quickly.

Toss half of the pesto sauce and half of the almonds with pasta.

Add about 6 tbs of the pasta water and toss.

Add remaining pesto sauce and toss well again.

Garnish with remaining almonds and serve with additional freshly grated cheese. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: White Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

White Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti
Biscotti al Cioccolato Bianco e Zenzero


2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs minced crystallized ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg white


Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, ginger, baking soda, salt and white chocolate chips.

In a smaller second bowl, whisk together the vanilla, eggs and egg white.

Pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir well. The dough should be crumbly.

Flour a wooden cutting board or another surface and turn dough out.

Knead dough for 1-2 minutes until it forms a ball.

Shape the dough into a 16-inch long cylinder and place on the prepared pan.

Flatten the dough to 1-inch thick.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the log from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Cool for 10 minutes.

Slice the log on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Place on the cookie sheet and cook for 10 minutes on each side at 325F.

Place biscotti slices on the rack again and let cool. The cookies will harden upon cooling. Makes about 24 biscotti.

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:

Southern Italian Town To Ban Miniskirts And Cleavage

Rome - October 21, 20101 - The southern Italian seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia is planning to ban women from wearing miniskirts and outfits showing too much cleavage and make low-rise jeans a no-no for everyone.

The restrictions are part of a list of measures Luigi Bobbio, the center-right mayor of the town near Naples, will put to the local council for approval on Monday in a bid to "restore urban decorum and facilitate better civil co-existence".

Other measures include a ban on blasphemy and on playing soccer in the town's public parks, according to leaks of the list published in local newspapers. Offenders will face fines of between 25 and 500 euros, according to the reports.

The local parish priest backs the initiative.

"I think it's the right decision," Don Paolo Cecere told a local daily newspaper. "It's also a way of combating the rise in sexual harassment".

Absolutely, "cavolo!" We think it is essential to restore some sense of civil decorum. At the same time, more research is needed to establish exactly which miniskirts offend against civil decorum and which don't, and we would like to offer our services to undertake this research as soon as we find the same amount of free time Luigi the Mayor obviously has.

There should be other restrictions placed on the list thanks to Italian women who have delusions of adequacy:

- Obesity: When walking down the streets in Italy, it should be considered proper etiquette to pass obese women on the right side like a vehicle.

- Eyebrows: Why don't some Italian women believe in tweezing their eyebrows? Some of them have these "uni-brows". We would love to see these "uni-brows" grow just to see what they'll progress into.

- Coloring hair: Italian women like to dye their hair blonde. Problem is they don't try to get it all matching into one color. Some of them have three colors going on in their head. Bozo has more continuity in his hair color than some Italian women.

This doesn't mean Italian men are without fault. Have you ever seen the way some of them dress? Running around with their shirts half-buttoned. "Cornuti", that’s birth control!

"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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