12/05/03  A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Buon Giorno!" How is everyone doing?

All of us at the bakery send our most sincere and warm greetings to all our subscribers and wish everyone had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Yes, it's been quite a while since I last sat down and typed and I must sincerely apologize for it. We've been so hard at work baking, updating our huge recipe database, and preparing this brand new newsletter for you. We're pretty excited about it and we hope you'll get lots of good use out of it. It will come to you every Thursday from now on packed with new Italian recipes and a couple of specials from our close Italian affiliates. We hope you enjoy it!

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." 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 Asian customers. Our deadline for ordering is Thursday, December 11, 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 please keep in mind the following deadlines:

USA, Canada, and Asian Orders
All orders must be placed by Thursday, Dec. 11, at midnight EST.

European Union Orders
All orders must be placed by Tuesday, Dec. 16, at midnight, Greenwich time.

 Recipe: Pasta con Pollo in Zafferano

Pasta with Chicken in Saffron Tomato Sauce


1 lb pasta
2 legs and thighs of chicken
1 28 ounce can Italian tomatoes
1 onion
2 pinches saffron
12 basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Rinse the chicken under cold running water, pat dry, and then remove the fat and any excess skin.

Dice the onion and tear the basil leaves. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill to strain them and remove the seeds.

Place the olive oil and chicken pieces in a large pan over low-moderate heat and fry them until thoroughly cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside and allow to cool.

In the same pan, add the diced onions and simmer until they become translucent, then pour in the strained tomatoes. Bone and shred the chicken pieces then add the meat to the tomato sauce. Add the saffron, basil, salt and pepper to taste, stir, cover and simmer.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook al dente. Drain the pasta, then add it to the sauce and stir until well incorporated. Transfer the pasta to individual bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

This recipe calls for a short rigatoni or pennete, but adapts well with egg fettucine or tagliatelli.

That's it!

 Recipe: Spaghetti alla Carrettiera

Cart Driverís Pasta


1 lb spaghetti
6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili
Sea salt
Grated pecorino or ricotta salata


Bring a large pot of water to boil then add salt. As soon as the water returns to a full boil, add the spaghetti and stir.

Pour the olive oil in a large pan over moderately high heat, then add the garlic, tomatoes, basil and chili. Simmer for several minutes, then lower the temperature and salt to taste.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and toss into the pan with the sauce and stir well. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and serve with either grated pecorino or ricotta salata cheese.

A variation of this recipe, especially good during hot summer months, is to combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, chili and olive oil in a large bowl. Salt to taste, and then mix the ingredients into a loose paste. Toss in the drained pasta, then stir. Serve with grated cheese.

That's it!

 Recipe: Polpetti di Melanzane

Eggplant Patties


3 large eggplants
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup grated parmigiano cheese
8 large basil leaves chopped fine
1Ĺ cups breadcrumbs as needed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for frying


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and place it in the oven for thirty minutes or until cooked through, but still firm . Let the eggplant cool and coarsely mash half the eggplant in a large bowl and chop the other half.

Mix the eggplant together, then add the eggs, grated cheese, minced garlic, dried oregano, basil and pepper. Add about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and stir until the eggplant is easy to handle and holds together. If the mixture is too moist, add more breadcrumbs.

Form the eggplant mixture into flat cakes about the size of a small egg and dredge them in breadcrumbs.

Heat some olive oil in a large pan over moderate flame and add the eggplant. Allow each side to turn golden brown.

Serve with lemon wedges.

That's it!

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 It Could Only Happen in Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition.

What's in a Name? In Corleone, Sicily, a Lot (Reuters) Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Quick. What comes to mind when you hear the word Corleone? If you said Mafia, some people in the Sicilian town think that may be part of the problem and not the solution. Local lawyer Antonio Di Lorenzo began a signature drive on Tuesday to change the name of the hill town south of Palermo made famous by "The Godfather" books and films of the 1970s. He thinks enough is enough and wants the city's name changed to protect the innocent, so to speak.

But not everyone agrees. "Some people come all the way from countries such as Denmark to get married here so they can say they got married in a Mafia town," he told Reuters by telephone. "It's an historic illness that we have to cure. As an honest citizen, I can't tolerate this kind of stuff. If this is the problem, let's change the name," he said. But it is the real-life birthplace of a number of top Mafia bosses whose ruthless bloodletting make the film look tame by comparison. They include Toto Riina, who ruled the Mafia supreme until his arrest in 1993, and his heir-apparent Bernardo Provenzano, who has been on the run for four decades.

"Corleone and its people must take advantage of its fame to seek positive things, such as the fight against the Mafia and the economic and cultural advantage of everyone here," he said. "Our notoriety can help our rebirth," he said...Here is my contribution to the list of possible new names the Corleones will receive from me:

1. Punxsutawney
2. Baghdad
3. Hazzard County
4. Disney World
5. Neverland

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