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 12/11/07 Torta al Pistachio from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Dio ci salvi dal povero arricchito e dal ricco impoverito." (God save us from the enriched poor and from the impoverished rich.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fagioli con Salvia e Pancetta
  -Torta al Cioccolato e Panna Cotta
  -Torta al Pistachio

All of us at the bakery would like to wish all our subscribers a happy and healthy Holiday Season and New Year! Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

Arrivederci!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


 Cookies for Christmas

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, you might be interested in the following deadline: All orders must be placed by Wednesday morning, December 12, at noon EST. Click here to order!


 Recipe: Fagioli con Salvia e Pancetta

Fagioli con Salvia e Pancetta
String Beans with Sage and Pancetta

Ingredients:

2 and 1/2 lbs green string beans, trimmed
8 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage

Directions:

Line baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes depending on size of beans. Drain. Spread beans out on paper towels.

Combine pancetta and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet. Saute over medium heat until pancetta is crisp, separating pieces with 2 forks, about 10 minutes. Add sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add pancetta mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to large bowl; sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, and serve. Makes 10 servings.

That's it!


 Recipe: Torta al Cioccolato e Panna Cotta

Torta al Cioccolato e Panna Cotta
Chocolate Panna Cotta Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Panna Cotta:
1/2 cup water
5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
7 and 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, such as Lindt or Perugina, chopped
2 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

For the Chocolate Band:
2 16x3-inch strips waxed paper
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Prepare the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spray two 10-inch-diameter springform pans with 2 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray.

Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee and hot water over; whisk until smooth.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat oil and both sugars in large bowl 1 minute (mixture will be crumbly). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition.

Beat in sour cream. Mix in half of dry ingredients.

Beat in chocolate mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend (batter will be thin).

Divide batter between pans (layers will be shallow).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans on rack.

Prepare the panna cotta:
Place 1/2 cup water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over; let soften 10 minutes.

Place both chocolates in large metal bowl.

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans; add beans. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves; remove from heat.

Add gelatin mixture; whisk to dissolve.

Pour cream mixture over chocolates in bowl; whisk until completely melted.

Place bowl over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir often until mixture thickens like pudding, draining off water and adding more ice to larger bowl as needed, about 30 minutes. Remove from over water.

Pour 1/2 of panna cotta over cake in 1 pan (mixture may drip down sides of cake). Freeze 45 minutes. Keep remaining panna cotta at room temperature.

Remove pan sides from second cake. Using large metal spatula, carefully slide cake off of pan bottom and place atop panna cotta in cake pan. Pour remaining panna cotta over, filling pan completely. Chill overnight.

Prepare the chocolate band:
Line large baking sheet with foil; set aside.

Place another large sheet of foil on work surface; place waxed paper strips atop foil, spacing apart.

Stir chocolate in medium bowl set over pan of simmering water until smooth. Pour half of melted chocolate down center of each waxed paper strip. Using small offset spatula, spread chocolate to cover strips evenly, allowing some of chocolate to extend beyond edges of paper strips, making sure strips are completely covered.

Using fingertips, lift strips and place on foil-lined sheet. Chill until chocolate just begins to set but is still completely flexible, about 2 minutes.

Cut around pan sides to release cake. Remove pan sides from cake.

Using fingertips, lift 1 chocolate band from foil. Wrap band around cake, waxed-paper side out, lining up 1 long edge with bottom of cake (band will be higher than cake). Repeat with second band, arranging so ends just meet, pressing band onto uncovered side of cake. If bands overlap, trim any excess paper and chocolate.

Using fingertips, press top edge of band in toward cake, forming slight ruffle. Chill until chocolate sets, 5 minutes. Gently peel off waxed paper. Chill cake. Chill. Serves 12.

That's it!


 Recipe: Torta al Pistachio

Torta al Pistachio
Pistachio Cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios (approximately 4 ounces; not dyed red)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from 3 medium oranges)

Directions:

Arrange oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter 9-inch-diameter round metal pan and line bottom with waxed paper. Butter paper, then dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.

Using food processor, pulse pistachios until finely ground, about 40 seconds. (Do not overprocess, or mixture will become paste.) Add flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt and pulse briefly to combine.

In small bowl, combine milk and vanilla.

In large bowl using electric mixer at moderate speed, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add pistachio and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with pistachio mixture and beating after each addition just until combined. Add orange zest and beat just until combined.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes, then run knife around cake to loosen and invert onto rack.

Remove paper and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

Grandma Finds Bomb In Her Potatoes

Naples - February 28 - A 74-year-old Italian grandmother who bought a sack of potatoes at the her local market found a live grenade among the spuds.

"I found a bomb in the potatoes," Olga Mauriello said in a telephone interview with reporters.

"I went to the market to buy some potatoes and that's where the bomb was. But this bomb was covered in dirt, and I put it in water and got all dirt off. And then I realized 'It's a bomb'!"

Police said the pine cone-shaped grenade, which had no pin and was still active, was the same type used by U.S. soldiers in Europe in World War Two. Authorities believe the mix-up happened at a farm in France, where the grenade was plucked from the ground along with potatoes.

To the woman's relief, police and explosives experts in the small town of San Giorgio a Cremano, near Naples, recovered the grenade and safely detonated it on Wednesday.

But Mauriello was still shaking off her close brush with death. It didn't look like a potato and it was heavier than one. But what if she had cooked it?

"If I hadn't felt its weight, I wouldn't even have realized that it was a bomb," she said.

"Non sembra una patata..."

"If I hadn't felt its weight, I wouldn't even have realized that it was a bomb," Unfortunately, anyone who has ever had an Italian grandmother knows very well her complaints will not end here! Nonna Olga is going to drag this on and on...

This article could be a great idea for a small Broadway show:

"Figlio di puttana, I found a bomb in the potatoes," she told the police in her overly melodious and annoying tone.

"Mamma mia, I went to the market to buy some potatoes and that's where the bomb was," she quietly told her untrustworthy friends at church while making a good impression by attending Mass because otherwise, people could talk behind her back.

"Cristo Santo, but this bomb was covered in dirt, and I put it in water and got all dirt off. And then I realized 'It's a bomb'!" she complained as she prepared lasagna and tiramisu to her over-30 children who still live at home.

"Oh, porca puttana, if I hadn't felt its weight, I wouldn't even have realized that it was a bomb," she explained to reporters in a sing-song intonation while flailing around her hands.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe today and you'll discover why the last improvements to Italy were made by Julius Caesar and why it's been downhill ever since!  Click Here to Subscribe!



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