12/24/13 Potato Au Gratin Sicilian-Style

"Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca." (Having a full barrel and a drunk wife. Usually told to someone who wants two things that can't occur together.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Potato Au Gratin Sicilian-Style
  -Lemon Gnocchi with Peas and Spinach
  -Turkey Cutlets In Anchovy Butter Sauce

"Ciao a tutti" Just a quick note of many thanks for being a part of our growing Italian community. We're over 10,100 members now. Remember, you started it. Enjoy today's recipes for there are more on the way in just a couple of days.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Potato Au Gratin Sicilian-Style

Potato Au Gratin Sicilian-Style
Patate Gratinate al Siciliano


2 and 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, sliced very thinly
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chicken broth
1 garlic clove, halved
8 tablespoons (packed) grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
3 tablespoons drained capers
Olive oil for brushing plus 4 tablespoons, divided
Coarse kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350?F.

Rub 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with cut side of garlic clove.

Brush dish with olive oil.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions, sprinkle with coarse salt, and saute until soft and beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 12-15 minutes.

Arrange 1/3 of potatoes in even layer in prepared dish.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Scatter half of onions over.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese and 1 tablespoon capers.

Repeat layering with half of remaining potatoes, coarse salt and pepper, remaining onions, 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, and 1 tablespoon capers.

Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Arrange remaining potato slices over.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon capers.

Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Pour chicken broth over.

Press down firmly on potatoes to compact gratin.

Cover gratin tightly with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 4 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese.

Bake gratin uncovered until cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Let gratin stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lemon Gnocchi with Peas and Spinach

Lemon Gnocchi with Peas and Spinach
Limone Gnocchi con Piselli e Spinaci


1 pound dried gnocchi
3 cups packed baby spinach (3 ounces)
1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese


Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5-6 minutes.

Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.

Cook gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.

Drain gnocchi.

Add gnocchi to sauce with cheese and some of the reserved cooking water and stir to coat.

Thin with additional cooking water if necessary. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Turkey Cutlets In Anchovy Butter Sauce

Turkey Cutlets In Anchovy Butter Sauce
Cotolette di Tacchino In Salsa d'Acciuga e Burro


1 and 1/2 pounds turkey cutlets
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine


Stir together the flour and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper on a plate.

Pat cutlets dry.

Dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.

Saute the turkey in 2 batches, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Brown the shallot in the fat remaining in the skillet, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.

Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Whisk in anchovy paste, butter, and chives until they are all incorporated.

Return the cutlets to skillet with any juices from the plate and turn to coat. Makes 4 servings.

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:

Concordia Officers Were Playing On Playstation When Ship Crashed

Grosseto - October 7, 2013 - The first mate of the Costa Concordia cruise ship told a Tuscan court that he and the cartographer were resting in their cabins "playing on their Playstations" when the giant liner smashed into a rock formation on Giglio Island off the Tuscan coast on January 13, 2012.

Fifty-year-old Giovanni Iaccarino was the first of 1,040 witnesses listed to be heard in the trial against the ship's ex-captain, Francesco Schettino. Schettino is accused of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty for his role in the shipwreck that killed 32, forced the evacuation of thousands onboard, and caused massive economic damage to Costa Cruises and to Giglio Island, a popular Tuscan tourist destination where the massive ship crashed.

In live testimony, Iaccarino recalled that at the moment of impact, he and Canessa were resting in their cabin.

"We were playing on Playstation when we became aware of the ship hitting on the left, then on the right. Materials fell down. The sensation was like hitting aground or a collision. This was the impression I had at that moment," Iaccarino said of the moment of impact.

Iaccarino was the first person to go check and find out that the engine room and bilge pumps were flooded - 11 minutes after impact - and to communicate the irreparable damage to the control room.

Iaccarino also testified that Schettino ordered the ship to sail a half-mile from the shore of Giglio Island instead of the route's usual five-mile distance in the centre of the Argentario Canal.

Iaccarino said there was a blackout on the bridge. He reported radioing the second-in-command, Bosio, to say, "The water is continuing to rise". In the videotaped testimony Iaccarino also remembered that he heard an announcement saying things were under control at 22:04.

Iaccarino recalled returning to the control room after the impact and saw that the instruments indicated that the ship "had gone from 16 knots to nine". "I looked at the panel and it was full of red lights. Then Captain Schettino put his hands in his hair and said, 'I messed up'," Iaccarino said.

Hmmm...not only do violent video games lead to real life violence, they lead to real life shipwrecks.

One could say that this was an accident, and another could say it was negligence and irresponsibility. So many theories and explanations flying around and we're still at the beginning. "Porca di quella vacca," it's like listening to the French rewrite World War II.

However, we think two facts must be considered certain from this tragedy that will not be brought up during the trial:

1) At its inauguration, the stupid champagne bottle didn't smash across her bow during the christening (click here).
Even if all the Italian grandmothers in the world would have dressed up in black and teamed up through a Skype video conference to ward off this curse, it would have been useless. (Something to do with one of their lunatic theories we've heard over and over, "once cursed, always cursed, blah-blah-blah...".)

2) It's getting more and more difficult to get through to Italians.
We need an authoritative and wise figure who can get through to them on another level. Unfortunately, the only person that comes to mind is a ventriloquist and his puppet.

Peppe the puppet: "Let's start off easy: right shoe on right foot..."
Captain Schettino: "Peppe, look at that e=mc2. Who did he think he was?"
Peppe the puppet: "You're going off topic again. Just stay 5 miles away from the island. 1-2-3-4-5. It's ok, you can count on your fingers."

"Iaccarino was the first person to go check and find out that the engine room and bilge pumps were flooded - 11 minutes after impact - and to communicate the irreparable damage to the control room."

11 minutes?! "Vaffanculo!" It took 11 minutes to warn the control room because "Moe" and "Larry" had to FIRST make it to some checkpoint on their Playstation game and save it. Then, after checking the flooded engine rooms, they radioed "Curly", who was busy staring at a panel with red lights, to say the water was still rising.

"Iaccarino...heard an announcement saying things were under control at 22:04."
And that must have come from the jackass who "messed up" (against the puppet's wishes, of course).

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