03/18/14 Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with Pasta

"La cucina piccola fal la casa grande." (A small kitchen makes the house big..) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Vegetable Broth
  -Swiss Chard Lasagna with Mushrooms
  -Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with Pasta

"Ciao! Come stai?" Just a quick note of many thanks for being a part of our growing Italian community. We're over 10,200 members now. Remember, you started it. Enjoy this week's recipes.

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Vegetable Broth

Vegetable Broth
Brodo Vegetale


3 and 1/2 quarts water (14 cups)

2 whole large leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced (about 6 cups)
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium potatoes (10 to 11 ounces total), scrubbed, diced
2 large unpeeled onions (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total), cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large celery stalks, sliced
2 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup chopped fennel stalks and fronds (reserve bulb for another use)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley (with stems)
6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 fresh mint sprigs (optional)


Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very soft and broth is pale golden, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat if necessary to maintain low simmer, about 45 minutes.

Season to taste with more salt, if desired.

Strain broth through colander.

Discard vegetables.

Strain broth again through fine-mesh strainer. Makes 11 to 12 cups.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Swiss Chard Lasagna with Mushrooms

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Mushrooms
Lasagne con Bietola e Funghi


For the Bechamel Sauce:
2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (scant) ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves

For the Swiss Chard and Mushroom Layers:
1 pound Swiss chard, center rib and stem cut from each leaf
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 and 1/3 cups chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Coarse kosher salt
1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Lasagna:
Nine 7 x 3-inch lasagna noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil
One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese, divided
6 ounces Italian Fontina Cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups packed), divided
8 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano cheese, divided


Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Bring milk and bay leaf to simmer in medium saucepan.

Remove from heat.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add flour and whisk to blend.

Cook 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly (do not let roux brown).

Gradually whisk milk with bay leaf into roux.

Add 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, nutmeg, and cloves and bring to simmer.

Cook until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking often, about 3 minutes.

Remove bay leaf.

Prepare the Swiss Chard and Mushroom Layers:
Blanch chard in large pot of boiling salted water 1 minute.

Drain, pressing out all water, then chop coarsely.

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

Add onion, half of garlic, and crushed red pepper.

Saute until onion is tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Mix in chard and season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms and remaining garlic.

Saute until mushrooms are brown and tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

Mix in nutmeg and season with coarse salt and pepper.

Prepare the Lasagna:
Cook noodles in medium pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente', stirring occasionally.


Arrange noodles in single layer on sheet of plastic wrap.

Brush 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil to coat.

Spread 3 tablespoons bechamel sauce thinly over bottom of dish.

Arrange 3 noodles in dish to cover bottom (2 side by side lengthwise, then 1 crosswise).

Spread half of chard mixture over pasta, then half of mushrooms.

Drop half of ricotta over in dollops and spread in even layer.

Sprinkle with half of Fontina cheese, then 4 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese.

Spread 3/4 cup bechamel over.

Repeat layering with 3 noodles, remaining chard, mushrooms, ricotta cheese, Fontina and Parmigiano cheeses, and 3/4 cup bechamel.

Cover with 3 noodles and remaining bechamel.

Preheat oven to 400?F.

Bake lasagna covered 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake until heated through and top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes longer.

To test for doneness, insert the blade of a small knife deep into the center of the lasagna for 30 seconds. remove the knife and feel the blade. If it's hot, so is the lasagna.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with Pasta

Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with Pasta
Pollo Brasato in Salsa di Pomodoro Aromatico con Pasta


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups chopped red onions
6 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
One 28-ounce can whole Italian-style tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes chopped
1 cup water

2 tablespoons (or more) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Pinch of sugar

12 ounces perciatelli pasta or spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Heat olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add chicken in batches and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.

Place chicken on platter.

Add onions to Dutch oven.

Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add spices.

Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes and their juices and water.

Return chicken to Dutch oven.


Simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is very tender, about 35 minutes.

Transfer chicken to platter.

Tent with foil.

Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, tomato paste and sugar to Dutch oven.

Simmer until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired.

Remove from heat.

Cover to keep warm.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.


Transfer pasta to platter.

Top with chicken, sauce and cheese. Serves 4.

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:

Italian With ZERO Income Found Driving A Ferrari

Vercelli - October 4, 2013 - Italian police stopped a distinguished and educated businessman from Liguria who had not declared his income for years at the wheel of a Ferrari.

The man had not signed any car rental documents for the Ferrari F430 Scuderia super car, worth more than 120,000 Euros ($160,000 USD), police said.

Police also discovered that the owner of the car rental company was also completely unknown to Italian tax authorities.

In Italy this is who we call a discreet "testa di minchia". One who reminds us of Liberace saying, "I don't want anyone noticing my clothes".

Italy's tax evasion fun facts:

- An estimated 285 billion Euros ($385 billion USD) remained unpaid in 2012. That's 18% of GDP. Death may be certain in Italy...but taxes are another "minestrone".

- According to gov't stats, 1.6 million Italians work in bars, hotels and restaurants; one million are on the books while the other 600,000 are hidden. But no one knows where they're hiding; in tents in the restaurant parking lots, under the bar counter...

- 1 out of every four helicopters are owned by Italians who declare less than 20,000 Euros ($27,000 USD) a year.
These are the "figli di puttane" you'll often see landing on the rooftops of soup kitchens.

- The percentage of medical doctors in the province of Caserta that do not issue invoices or receipts is...100%.
They're unable to type them out...because they have no keyboards. That's why we call them "Doctors Without Keyboards". It's a well known humanitarian organization "del cazzo".

A category of professionals that deserve a standing ovation. Thank you, doctors.
And the kick in the "coglioni" is idiot candy stripers declare more in their taxes.

"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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