12/04/02  A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Buon Giorno!" All of us at the bakery send our most sincere and warm greetings to all and we wish everyone had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

The Christmas holidays will soon be here and our little bakery is already working at full steam in preparations for the big celebrations. We've finished harvesting and loaded up the bakery with the finest collection of almonds, figs, and pistachios possible! All that's left for you to do is kick back with a cup of espresso and plan this year's Christmas extravaganza. And countdown to Christmas with our adorable "Dolce di Mandorla, Buccellati, and Pistachio Cookies" every day!

Traditions are what memories are made of (especially Italian traditions). Start from for some cookie and/or recipe ideas on creating lasting ones with your family and friends at the Christmas dinner table! And please don't forget the "friends" part of "family and friends." Why not surprise your best friend by sending a kilogram of your favorite Italian cookie for the Holidays?

But be careful of our ordering deadlines specifically for our USA, Canada, and South American customers. Our deadline for ordering (4 kilos or less) is this Sunday night, December 8, at midnight EST.

All of us here at the bakery and Santo Stefano Quisquina sincerely wish everyone will capture the Spirit of the Season. "Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!" Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Impt: Christmas Ordering Deadlines

If you would like to order our delicious Italian cookies in time for Christmas, please keep in mind the following deadlines:

USA, Canada, and South America Orders
1.) All orders of 4 kilos or less must be placed by Sunday, Dec. 8, at midnight EST.
2.) All orders of 5 kilos or more must be placed by Thursday, Dec. 12, at midnight EST.

European Union Orders
All orders must be placed by Sunday, Dec. 15, at midnight, Rome time.

 Recipe: Polenta Verde Calabrese

Polenta Verde Calabrese
Serves 4-6

This colorful polenta dish is flavored with broccoli rabe and pancetta, and then is served with a selection of cheese or sausages.


3-4 Cups Chopped, Cleaned Cima di Rape (Broccoli Rabe)
2 Cups Polenta
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Pancetta, Cooked, Reserving Drippings
Red Pepper Flakes


Bring 3 liters of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for a minute. Begin to add the cornmeal in a slow stream, stirring continuously. Simmer, and stir for about 25 minutes. Add the pancetta and red pepper flakes, and cook another 10 minutes or until tender. Season with the red pepper flakes. Once cooked, pour onto a board and leave for about 5 minutes. Serve each helping with a selection of cheeses, or some tasty grilled sausages.

That's it!

 Recipe: Risotto With Radicchio

Risotto With Radicchio
Serves 4-6

This unique risotto dish goes great with an entree of grilled or roasted meats. Radicchio has a sharp, bitter flavor that is slightly mellowed when cooked, and contasts beautifully with the risotto.


6 Cups Chicken Broth, Heated
4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter - 2 Tbsp Removed To Finish The Dish
Cup Finely Chopped Onion
2 Cups Arborio Rice
Cup Dry White Wine
Cup Grated Parmigiano Cheese
1 1/2 Cups Finely Shredded Radicchio Leaves
1/4 Cup Light Cream
2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup Grated Parmigiano Cheese


Heat the 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter. Add the white wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed. Add the radicchio leaves and mix well. Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth, stirring as it is absorbed. Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth. Remove from the heat, add the cream, parsley and the parmesan cheese. Serve, offering additional cheese if desired.

That's it!

 Recipe: Farfalle With Arugula Pesto Sauce

Farfalle With Arugula Pesto Sauce

This pasta has a great fresh, peppery taste which is why it is one of my favorite pasta dishes to make this year. The combination of the green arugula pesto and red sweet cherry tomatoes is very pretty to look at, as well as being a great contrast in flavors. This is a very easy, yet elegant pasta I have often made for guests. You could use basil, parsley or a combination of the two instead of the arugula as well.


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves - Finely Chopped
3-4 Cups Fresh, Washed Arugula, or about 2 Bunches
Salt and Pepper - To Taste
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiano Cheese
1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
1/2 Cups Ripe Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1 Lb Bow Tie Pasta
Extra Grated Parmigiano Cheese For Serving If Desired


In a food processor, combine the garlic, arugula, half the pine nuts and the oil and process until finely chopped. Add the grated Parmigiano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Pulse. Adding just a few tablespoons at a time drizzle in the chicken broth until the sauce is thick and emulsified. You shouldn't need too much of the broth.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain, reserving a small amount of the pasta water in a cup. In the pasta pot, combine the hot pasta, arugula sauce, the cherry tomatoes and the remaining pine nuts. Cook briefly over medium heat until well mixed, adding just a little of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry. Serve hot, topped with shaved or grated parmesan cheese if desired.

That's it!

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 Culture: Christmas in Italy

Musicians welcome the coming of Christmas by playing traditional songs on the zampogna, similar to bagpipes.

Christmas Eve dinners are meatless and may include eel, spaghetti with anchovies, or cardoni (Jerusalem artichokes cooked with egg). Favorite Christmas sweets include nougat candy, called torrone, a star-shaped cake called pandoro and a special fruitcake called panettone.

Children receive gifts on Epiphany, January 6, when La Befana, a good witch, comes down the chimney and fills their stockings with treats -- or if they've been bad, coal.

Say Merry Christmas in Italian: Buon natale.

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