11/29/11 Tiramisu Trifle

"Le disgrazie non vanno mai sole." (Troubles never come alone.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Butternut Squash Polenta
  -Risotto with Green Onions
  -Tiramisu Trifle

"Salve a tutti!" I'm grateful for your participation with me via this newsletter. We've missed you and we're looking forward to connecting further in the coming days. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Sesame Seed Cookies

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 Recipe: Butternut Squash Polenta

Butternut Squash Polenta
Polenta di Zucca Butternut


3/4 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
One (12-oz) package frozen butternut squash puree (or winter squash; 1 and 1/2 cups), thawed
2 and 1/2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup instant polenta
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/2 cup)


Cook onion in 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until very soft, about 8 minutes.

Stir in squash and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Bring water, milk, salt, and pepper to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot.

Add polenta in a thin stream, whisking.

Cook polenta at a bare simmer, stirring with a long-handled whisk and turning down heat as needed to prevent spattering, 5 minutes.

Stir in squash mixture and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, then stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Serve immediately. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Risotto with Green Onions

Risotto with Green Onions
Risotto Con Cipolle Verde


4 cups (or more) chicken broth
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 bunch green onions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced
1 cup arborio or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese or whipping cream
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel


Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add chopped green onions and cook until soft, stirring often, about 6 minutes.

Stir in rice.

Add wine; cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Add 4 cups broth, 1 cup at a time, cooking until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.

Stir in sliced green onions, Parmigiano cheese, Mascarpone, and orange peel.

Add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry.

Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tiramisu Trifle

Tiramisu Trifle


1 and 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
4 tablespoons brandy
12 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Four 8-ounce containers Mascarpone cheese

2 cups chilled whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 and 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
7 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
About 60 crisp ladyfinger cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, finely ground in processor
Chocolate leaves for garnishing


Whisk 1 and 1/3 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rum, 3 tablespoons brandy, yolks, and nutmeg in metal bowl.

Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water).

Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and candy thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140F for 3 minutes, about 5 minutes total.

Remove bowl from over water.

Whisk Mascarpone, 1 container at a time, into warm custard until blended.

Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream, vanilla, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 teaspoon rum in large bowl until cream holds peaks.

Fold in Mascarpone mixture.

Bring 1 cup water to simmer in small saucepan.

Remove from heat.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder; stir to dissolve.

Mix in liqueur.

Submerge 1 biscuit in espresso mixture, turning to coat twice; shake excess liquid back into pan.

Place dipped biscuit, sugared side facing out, around bottom side of 14-cup trifle dish, pressing against side of dish (biscuit may break).

Repeat with enough biscuits to go around bottom sides of dish once.

Dip more biscuits and arrange over bottom of dish to cover.

Spoon 2 cups Mascarpone mixture over biscuits; spread to cover.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup ground chocolate over, making chocolate visible at sides of dish.

Repeat with more biscuits dipped into espresso mixture, Mascarpone mixture, and ground chocolate in 2 more layers each.

Cover with 1 more layer of dipped biscuits and enough Mascarpone mixture to reach top of trifle dish.

Sprinkle remaining ground chocolate over, covering completely.

Cover and chill overnight.

Gently press stem end of largest chocolate leaves around edge of trifle.

Fill center with smaller leaves. (Can be made 8 hours ahead; chill.) Makes 15 to 18 servings.

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:

Naples Trash Crisis Nears End...And Ready To Begin Again

Naples - July 4, 2011 - Following weeks of government debate and street demonstrations over the Naples trash crisis, the southern city's mayor announced Monday that the problem may finally have reached a close.

"The city has been substantially cleaned up," said Mayor Luigi de Magistris. "A massive clean-up operation targeted the worst-hit districts last night".

He added that it is still unclear as to where that garbage will now be dumped.

A central government measure passed last week permits the Campania region to export refuse to other parts of the country, emphasizing that neighboring regions should be the "priority target".

"The response of the mayors (in other regions) has been excellent, and I hope they don't deny our request," said de Magistris, adding that he had been in touch with 10-15 local governments, yet did not specify which ones.

Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia announced his city was sending seven trash compactors to Naples.

The European Union recently chastised the Italian government and threatened sanctions for the thousands of tonnes of trash that covered city streets and the surrounding province in recent weeks.

Armed police escorts had recently begun accompanying garbage trucks as exasperated protesters had resorted to tipping over dumpsters, blocking traffic and setting fire to the growing piles of waste choking the daily flow of city life.

Naples and the surrounding region of Campania have suffered similar crises periodically for a number of years.

The previous public outcry occurred last November when weeks of clashes and rising trash piles brought Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to the city.

It was then that the premier, who won plaudits by sorting out a similar emergency in 2008, made a vow to clear the streets in three days.

But the problems have returned partly because of technical failures in local incinerators and the lack of investment in other landfill sites.

The issue is further complicated by the role of the local mafia, or Camorra, and claims that they have infiltrated waste management in Naples and dumped toxic waste on sites near residential areas.

The government has said it will present a plan within one month outlining a proposed solution to the crisis. does a crisis that's a decade old come near to an end? "Cazzarola", let's face it, Naples is a nice if you're a mouse, not a resident.

Napolitani mothers: "Figli miei, we have to learn to live together and resolve our problem. We can't run."
Napolitani kids: "Minchia, sure we can run, the whole world is running! Hold your breath and look out the balcony again, mamma. Even the mice stop, look up and say, "ancora qui?" (still here?)"

So, should tourists be concerned? It depends on your phobias. The situation isn't lovely. The Napolitani are currently on the search for some hygiene saint to help them get out of that mess. They have one (San Gennaro) whose dried blood liquefies 3 times a year and sends the city into delirium...but that damn garbage is still there.

You would think the good saint would at least perform the miracle of differentiating it.

The problem is as ugly and out of control as a Napolitano sitting out on a stoop with his shirt half-buttoned, drinking cheap wine from a plastic cup. The Campania region's dumps reached full capacity more than a decade ago, and since then a state of emergency has been declared every 48 minutes. Eight different commissioners have been appointed, but they have all failed to solve the problem.

Of course, state of emergency means government cash: 1.8 billion Euros (more than $2.5 billion USD) in emergency funds have been transferred to deal with the problem. It's easier to find a cure for polio than to find out where or how the hell that money has been spent.

Incinerators that were supposed to be built were never finished, either because the companies in charge of building them mysteriously could not finish the job, or else because judges stopped the work, pending ongoing criminal investigations into alleged mafia involvement (yawn...shocking).

But here's the kick in the "culo": Over 20% of the money went to pay for the salaries of those in charge of coming up with a solution to the problem.

#1 in charge: "What should we do?"
#2 in charge: "Not sure. In college, I majored in peppers and toothpicks."
#3 in charge: "Don't look at me, I have to go home early. My chicken needs a bath."

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