11/30/10 Lasagne Alla Naples

"Chi va a letto senza cena tutta la notte si dimena." (He who goes to bed without eating, will regret it throughout the night.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Mushrooms with Pumpkin
  -Lasagne Alla Naples
  -Almond (Twice Baked) Cookies

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: Mushrooms with Pumpkin

Mushrooms with Pumpkin
Funghi Con La Zucca


For the Vegetable Stock:
3 cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 turnips, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Mushrooms and Pumpkin:
1 lb and 5 oz (600 grams) mixed mushrooms, cut into thick slices if large
11 oz (300 grams) pumpkin flesh, diced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 oz (25 grams) butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped,
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Vegetable Stock:
Place all the vegetables in a large saucepan, pour in 1.5 liters (2 and 1/2 pints) of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then strain into a bowl pressing down well on the vegetables with a wooden spoon.

Prepare the Mushrooms and Pumpkin:
Heat the butter with the olive oil in a pan.

Add the onion and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and mushrooms.

Increase the heat to high and cook for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock in a small saucepan.

Season the mushroom mixture with salt and pepper.

Lower the heat, pour in the hot stock and cook until tender.

Stir in the parsley and marjoram, and transfer to a warm serving dish. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lasagne Alla Naples

Lasagne Alla Naples
Lasagne Alla Napoletana


For the Lasagne Pasta:
11 oz (300 grams) plain flour (if possible, Italian type "00") plus extra for dusting
3 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
11 oz (300 grams) minced beef
2 oz (50 grams) Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
1 and 3/4 pints (1 liter) tomato "passata"
5 eggs
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
5 oz (150 grams) mozzarella cheese, sliced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper 


Prepare the Filling:
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes, thena dd the tomato "passata".

Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 1 hour.

Boil four of the eggs for 10-12 minutes, then cool down in cold water, shell and slice.

Mix together the minced beef, Parmigiano cheese and remaining egg in a bowl and season with salt.

Shape the mixture into small balls.

Heat 1 oz (25 grams) of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a frying pan.

Add the meatballs and cook until browned all over, then add them to the tomato sauce.

Prepare the Fresh Pasta Dough:
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mound on a work surface.

Make a well in the center and add the eggs.

Using your fingers, gradually mix the flour, then knead for about 10 minutes (If the mixture is too firm, add a little water; if it is a bit soft, add a little extra flour.

Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface or use a pasta machine to make two thin sheets.

Cut into 4-inch (10-cm) squares and cook, a few at a time, in plenty of lightly salted, boiling water for a few minutes.

Drain and place on a small damp towel.

Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) Gas Mark 3.

Grease a large ovenproof dish with butter.

Arrange a layer of lasagne on the base and cover with the tomato sauce with meatballs, then the mozzarella and a few slices of hard-boiled eggs.

Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a layer of tomato sauce.

Dot the top with the remaining butter, cover the dish with foil or baking parchment and bake for about 1 hour.

Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: White Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

Almond (Twice Baked) Cookies
Biscotti Alle Mandorle


10 oz (275 grams) plain white or Italian type '00' flour
5 oz (150 grams) caster or superfine sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
2 free range eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
4 oz (100 grams) whole blanched almonds


Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas Mark 4.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, egg yolk and vanilla extract into a bowl and mix well together by hand.

Add the almonds and knead until mixed together.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces, then form each piece into a roll a flatten into a flat cigar shape.

Arrange on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces then return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Makes 24.

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:

Italy's Tourism Minister To Take On Apple

Rome - September 28, 2010 - Tourism Minister Maria Vittoria Brambilla on Tuesday said she had asked the state attorney's office to take legal action against those responsible for an Apple application she said offends Italy.

The 'What Country' application was developed by MYW Productions for Apple's iPhone, iPod and iPad products and allows users to 'visit' countries around the world.

Each country is symbolized by a number of images and while for France they include romantic squares and wine, for Italy they are pizza, Mafia and motor scooters.

Brambilla, who is also responsible for protecting and promoting Italy's image abroad, said "this is obviously offensive and unacceptable".

"Italy is a beacon in the world for its history, culture and style. As a citizen and as a minister I cannot allow that our country be discredited by having it represented by a criminal organization," she added.

"For this reason I have asked Apple to withdraw the application from sale on its online site and asked the state attorney's office to take legal action against those responsible for the application," the minister said.

The "zoccola"... Why did she have to open her trap over a stupid and unfunny app? Thanks to her outrage which made the rounds on the web, MYW Productions in Belarus (of all places) just hit the mother load with this.

"This is obviously offensive and unacceptable..." Hmmm...Does the word "ignoramus" ring a bell, Minister? We're going to write about all the Italian ignoramuses who offend our country simply by waking up in the morning. Do you think we should include you in this newsletter?

Pizza, Mafia and motor scooters... Everyone likes pizza and scooters, and people do associate Italy with the Mafia, like it or not. But the Minister of Tourism of one of the most beautiful and visited countries in the world should NOT have an asinine and moronic background like the one she has.

Here's a quick video of the enchanting Brambilla showing off her credentials which obviously earned her the position of Italy's Minister of Tourism. Warning: Rated 'R'; please keep children, family and household pets away from your monitor.

After watching the video, the first thought that came to our minds was, "Heaven must be missing an angel."

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