12/11/03  A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Buon Giorno e Buon natale a tutti!" I hope everyone is getting ready for the Christmas spirit!

Here in Italy, the preparations and baking for the Holidays are already underway but I had to stop, and thank so many of you who have wrote to me in these past few days. I thank you for your sincere compliments and inquiries. I hope I answered all your questions AND I promise to write to the rest of you who I haven't had the chance to yet.

The recipes featured in our last newsletter has received some rave reviews from our subscribers so I felt 3 more fantastic Sicilian recipes from Lipari in this issue would satisfy even more (especially the "Pescespada a Ghiotta"). Enjoy!

Also, a little reminder that our ordering deadline for our USA, Canada, and Asian customers is just a few hours away. It's Thursday, December 11, at midnight EST.

Enjoy this week's issue which also includes another funny article from Only In Let me know how the recipes turn out!


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: Spaghetti con Pomodorini a Pennula

Spaghetti with Vine-Ripened Cherry Tomatoes


1 lb spaghetti
1 lb ripe cherry tomatoes*
6 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon crushed chili pepper
12 large basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt


Slice the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds, then slice the basil leaves into thin strips. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add spaghetti and allow it to cook over high flame, not forgetting to stir the pasta to prevent any sticking.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over moderately flame, and add the garlic and chili pepper. Cook them for a few moments until the garlic begins to lightly toast around the edges and remove the garlic and chili from the pan.

Add the tomatoes and oregano, lower the temperature to moderate and simmer until the juice from the tomatoes has almost evaporated. Add the basil, salt to taste, then remove from stove and set aside.

When the spaghetti is extra al dente, strain and add to the sauce, place the pan over the burner and cook until well incorporated. Serve immediately.

*This recipe calls for Sicilian vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, but good quality cherry tomatoes may be substituted.

That's it!

 Recipe: Spaghetti all’Aglio e Olio con Rucola

Spaghetti All’Aglio e Olio con Rucola


1 lb spaghetti
8 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb arugula
1 teaspoon crushed red chili
1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs (see mollica recipe below)
Sea salt


Rinse the arugola and coarsely chop the garlic. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti.

Heat a large pan over moderate heat with the olive oil and garlic. When the garlic turns lightly golden, pour in the dry white wine and crushed chili pepper. Salt to taste and evaporate the white wine by half. Remove the pan from the burner and set aside.

When the spaghetti is al dente, quickly strain and toss the pasta in the pan, return the pan to the burner over moderate heat and add the arugola. Toss the ingredients, evenly stir in the arugola, wilt it and then transfer the pasta to serving bowls and sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs.

Mollica - toasted breadcrumbs

To prepare the toasted breadcrumbs it is preferable to make them from stale, dry bread, by either grating the bread by hand into a large mixing bowl. Better still, is with a food processor and using the pulse switch. Be sure not to allow the crumbs to become too fine.

Lightly coat a pan with olive oil and allow the pan to warm over moderate heat and add the breadcrumbs. Constantly stir the breadcrumbs to prevent them to sticking or burning. When they have evenly toasted to a golden brown, remove them from the pan and set aside. You can make as much as you like, as they will keep for some time in a covered plastic container.

You can use packaged plain breadcrumbs from the market; however, they cannot compare with homemade quality, and are a totally different product.

That's it!

 Recipe: Pescespada a Ghiotta

Swordfish with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers


2 lbs swordfish, in one piece
1 onion
1 celery stalk
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons capers
12 Sicilian green olives, pitted
2 tablespoons currants or raisins
4 large ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or as needed
Sea salt


Evenly chop the onion and celery into small pieces. Press the olives with the flat side of a knife and remove the pits. Rinse the capers under cold water to remove the salt or brine. Place the currents in a small cup of water and re-hydrate them, then squeeze them dry. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds, then chop them.

Dredge the piece of swordfish in the flour and cover the entire piece. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan over moderate heat and fry the swordfish on both sides until nicely browned then remove from the pan and set aside.

Keep the pan on the burner, lower the burner, and if necessary, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the celery, onions and garlic cloves in the pan and cook for several minutes before adding the capers, olives and currents.

When the vegetables become translucent to lightly brown, stir in the chopped tomatoes, salt to taste, and cook for about five minutes. Put the swordfish in the pan, spoon some sauce over it, then cover and simmer. After five minutes, turn over the swordfish, spoon more sauce on top and cook for another five minutes or until the fish is thoroughly cooked, then serve.

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.

Italy tries to bribe its way to a baby boom!
(Reuters) James Crawford in Laviano, Italy December 6, 2003

Christmas will be extra special for Antonietta Molinaro this year. Not only is she about to give birth but she is also in line for a hefty "baby bonus" from the local mayor.

Perched high in the Apennine hills south-east of Naples, Laviano is edging towards extinction as poor road links and a lack of jobs push the young away. In an attempt to reverse the trend, the mayor, Rocco Falivena, is digging into town coffers and offering couples 10,000 Euros ($16,460) for every newborn baby.

"It's a lot of money, but this is our top priority," he said. "We are talking about the very survival of our town."

Laviano is not alone in its fight for life. Scores of towns the length of southern Italy are dying out. But wherever Italians choose to live, the birth rate across the country is near rock bottom and the traditional stereotype of the Italian mamma and her squadrons of bambini is far from the truth. IRPPS's Antonio Golini also pointed to the failure of Italian men to take on an equal share of family tasks.

The result: Italy has the oldest population in the world, and the Government is all too aware of the burden that puts on the economy. Like Mr Falivena, it is planning its own baby bonus aimed at jump-starting the birth rate.

The 2004 budget includes a one-off 1000 Euro payment to Italians on the birth of their second child, a measure set to run until the end of 2004.

Mr. Gesano said the payment was not the answer. "Italians are not so poor that a one-off payment of 1000 Euros is going to make them have children... It may convince a few hundred couples to have kids earlier than planned but it's not going to radically change the birth rate," he said. I agree with him. The real reasons why Italians are not having enough babies are the following:
1. Ugly Italian people
2. Not enough sex
3. Cold water

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