11/26/13 Escarole and Meatball Soup

"Una ciliegia tira l'altra." (One cherry drags the other. When a food is so tasty you can't stop eating it.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Stuffed Mussels
  -Escarole and Meatball Soup
  -Steak with Herb Sauce

"Buone feste!" Hope your preparations for the Thanksgiving menu are coming along great. From the bottom of all our hearts we hope you enjoy your much deserved Holiday! Stay tuned for more Italian recipes.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Italian Cookies for the 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 Thursday, December 5, at 12:00 PM EDT. Click here to order!

 Recipe: Stuffed Mussels

Stuffed Mussels
Cozze Ripieno


30 mussels, steamed open
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
3/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat broiler to high.

Remove and discard top shells from mussels.

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle wine and olive oil over mussels.

Mix Parmigiano cheese, bread crumbs, butter, thyme, and salt and pepper.

Divide among mussels.

Broil until stuffing is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Serve warm, drizzled with pan juices and topped with tomatoes. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Escarole and Meatball Soup

Escarole and Meatball Soup
Zuppa di Scarola e Polpette


2 large heads escarole, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1, minced
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced, plus 1, minced
1 small bunch parsley, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups chicken stock
Cooked white rice, for serving


Mix beef, bread crumbs, Parmigiano cheese, Pecorino cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, seasoning, minced garlic and onion, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Form into 30, 1 and 1/2-inch meatballs.


Heat remaining olive oil in an 8-qt saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add sliced garlic and onions.

Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add escarole.

Cook until wilted, about 5-6 minutes.

Add chicken stock.


Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add meatballs.

Cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over rice.

Top with more Parmigiano cheese and black pepper. Serves 8-10.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Steak with Herb Sauce

Steak with Herb Sauce
Bistecca Con Salsa delle Erbe


One (24 oz) 2 to 3-inch thick rib-eye, strip, or porterhouse steak
1 tbsp packed fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp packed fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp packed fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp packed fresh oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Place the herbs and garlic on a cutting board and finely chop together with a large knife.

Transfer the herb mixture to a small bowl and stir in 3/4 cup of the olive oil.

Season herb sauce with salt and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld.

Place steak on a plate.

Season generously with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining olive oil.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Or, heat an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat.)

Cook steak, flipping once, until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 8-10 minutes for medium rare.

Transfer steak to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Slice steak against the grain and spoon some reserved sauce over top. Serves 2.

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:

Cheese Maker Gives His Buffalo Luxury Treatment

Capaccio - October 6, 2013 - A line forms for rubdowns as jazz piano plays out of the speakers at the exclusive Tenuta Vannulo dairy farm in southern Italy.

Some of the best buffalo mozzarella in the world starts with pamper treatment. Ducky, Sweety and Lady walk over to the sound system, attracted to the smooth Keith Jarrett tunes .

"The music helps them produce more milk because the animal feels more relaxed," said Valentina Michelucci, a stable hand, who said she wants to try out some disco hits too. "They're very curious when they hear it."

The half-ton black water buffaloes spend their days relaxing on rubber mattresses, munching on organic hay or looking forward to showers of a cooling mist from overhead pipes.

When they feel the urge, they walk into a special pen for automatic milking by a unique machine that knows the exact shape of each udder thanks to a code emitted by the electronic collars each buffalo is fitted with.

Or they can head to large round brushes that twist into action when the animals come into contact with them, providing them with a back and shoulder massage.

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk," said Antonio Palmieri, owner of the 200-hectare farm.

"They can't speak for themselves, so it's up to us to understand how they want to be cared for," he said, sitting in a garden next to his three stables, which house 500 buffaloes.

The farm sells around 300 kg of mozzarella per day at 13 Euros a kilo ($8 USD a pound).

There is a catch: If you want it, you have to drive to the farm, 50 km south of Salerno, to buy it, as Palmieri does not bother with distribution. Around 45,000 customers visited the on-site farm shop in August alone.

A workshop on the farm even produces buffalo-leather handbags and belts, and Palmieri said he plans to open a restaurant serving up buffalo steaks.

"The well-being of animals is an important issue," said Sardo, a cheese expert, although he admitted that the link between better treatment and tastier milk is scientifically "difficult to prove."

The delicious result is a tough sell for the diet-conscious. Fresh buffalo milk is about 8 percent fat...more than twice as much as cow's milk.

"Oh, che bello!" See what happens when you give "amore" to milk producing animals? $8 a lovely pound...

It works. We keep a lovely pet goat roaming behind the office that produces fresh milk for us on a daily basis. "Ah, Madonna!" Nothing like a cappuccino every morning with freshly milked milk to start off a lazy day of writing. By the way, milking a goat is great for relieving stress and taking the edge off. We highly recommend it. (Let's see CNN or BBC match this.)

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk...". Italian families and relatives who are reading this (you know who you are) should pay particular attention. Similar pamper treatment in the home would help relieve the stress that's murdering us on a daily basis. Like water buffalo, we can't (or we're not allowed to) speak for ourselves, so it's up to you to understand how we want to be cared for. Jazz piano music and rotating brushes for back and shoulder massages would certainly be a start for all of us to get along a little better.

Your helpful buffalo mozzarella tips (per your request):

1. Buffalo mozzarella isn't packaged like other cheeses. It comes either in a plastic container or bag filled with something watery. That's whey, by the way. It's important because the mozzarella needs to be kept moist, so don't dump it down the sink. Just drop the cheese back in it, and put it in the fridge.

Whey, by the way, can be used for many other uses, such as a hair product (shampoo, rinse, or gel). Recommend it to a family member or relative for their next dream date or public engagement. It's sure to be a topic of discussion.

2. Buffalo mozzarella should be eaten immediately. As soon as it is exposed to air, the taste immediately starts to break down. Those annoying Italian food connoisseurs that always and some how wind up in YOUR kitchen claim they can tell the difference between mozzarella that was opened last night versus 15 minutes ago.

The solution is to enjoy the scrumptious mozzarella for yourself...and offer the connoisseur a cup of American coffee with Stella D'Oro cookies in a drafty kitchen (works quite well).

3. Top-quality buffalo mozzarella should never be used for pizzas. The delicate flavors and texture will be drowned out or ruined by the other ingredients.

Enjoy the mozzarella on its own with your family on the next holiday lunch (of course, if you've made peace with the family). You will laugh, you will cry, you'll feel 5 years older, you'll lose money and you'll increase your IQ by 20 points. All in one lunch!

PS: "Porca oca," amazing how Italian families, one way or another, can find their way into a completely non-related story. There's something to be said for it.

"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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