01/05/11 Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms

"Al bisogno si conosce l'amico." (A friend in need is a friend indeed.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Mushroom Bechamel
  -Creamy Fennel Soup with Smoked Salmon
  -Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms (For Large Gatherings)

"Buon giorno!" Forget the last year. Let it go and let's thank God we have a new year of happiness, peace, and good health to hope for. Enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Mushroom Bechamel

Mushroom Bechamel
Besciamella Ai Funghi


For the Bechamel Sauce:
2 oz (50 grams) oz butter
2 oz (50 grams) plain flour
18 fl oz (500 ml) milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper

For the Rest of the Sauce:
1 oz (25 grams) butter
5 oz (150 grams) fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons double cream
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Whisk in the flour.

Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until the sauce starts to boil.

Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring every now and then, for at about 20 minutes.

Remove the sauce pan from the heat.

Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with pepper and or nutmeg.

If the sauce is too thick, add just a bit more milk.

If the sauce is too runny, return it to the heat and add a small quantity of butter mixed in with an equal quantity of flour.

Prepare the Rest of the Sauce:
Melt the butter in a sauce pan.

Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms release all their natural liquid.

Remove the lid, increase the heat and boil off the rest of the liquid.

Season with salt.

Heat the bechamel sauce and stir in the mushrooms.

Season with pepper to taste and gently add in the cream.

For short pasta and veal scallops. Serves 4.

Note: For a thicker bechamel sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of double cream; for a thinner bechamel sauce, add half milk and half water.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Creamy Fennel Soup with Smoked Salmon

Creamy Fennel Soup with Smoked Salmon
Zuppa Cremosa Di Finocchi con Salmone Affumicato


3 oz (80 grams) smoked salmon, chopped
3 fennel bulbs, sliced
1 tablespoon double cream
1 oz (25 grams) butter
Pinch of dill
Salt and pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Add the fennel and 5 tablespoons water and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes.

Stir in another 5 tablespoons water.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process to a puree.

Pour into a soup bowl, stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chopped salmon and dill and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms (For Large Gatherings)

Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms (For Large Gatherings)
Rigatoni al Forno con Salsiccia e Funghi


4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups hot water

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large onions, finely chopped
5 lbs hot Italian sausages, casings removed
4 lbs button mushrooms, sliced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups dry white wine
4 bay leaves
28 ounces beef broth
4 cups half and half

4 lbs rigatoni
6 cups freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

Additional grated Parmigiano cheese
Fresh rosemary sprigs (for garnish)


Rinse porcini mushrooms.

Place in medium bowl.

Add 4 cups hot water, cover, and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes.

Drain, reserving soaking liquid.

Chop porcini mushrooms.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in each of 2 heavy large pots over medium heat.

Divide onions between pots; saute until tender, about 10 minutes.

Divide sausage between pots.

Increase heat to high and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces with back of fork, about 12 minutes.

Divide button mushrooms and chopped rosemary between pots and stir until mushrooms begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

Divide porcini, wine, and bay leaves between pots and boil until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes.

Divide porcini soaking liquid between pots, leaving sediment behind.

Divide beef broth between pots.

Boil until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Divide half and half between pots; boil until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.)

Brush four 3 and 1/2-quart glass or porcelain baking dishes with olive oil.

Cook pasta in 2 large pots of boiling salted water until 'al dente', stirring occasionally.


Divide pasta between sauce in pots; stir to coat.

Mix 3 cups cheese into each pot.

Season pasta with salt and pepper.

Divide among prepared baking dishes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cover dishes with foil.

Bake pasta just until hot but not bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with additional cheese.

Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve with additional cheese. Makes 25 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, a sample of today's edition:

Urban Trash Warfare Breaks Out In Naples

Naples - October 19, 2010 - Clashes in Naples' latest rubbish crisis have escalated to "urban warfare", city police chief Santi Giuffre' said after another night of violence in which five people were arrested and three police officers hurt.

"We can't talk about skirmishes anymore, it's guerrilla warfare," Giuffre' said.

"There's an organization that is orchestrating the military phase of the attacks on the police," he claimed.

Asked about the prospect of tensions easing after an order to disperse waste in dumps rather than putting them in one that locals claim is toxic, Giuffe' said the situation was "not rosy" but the outlook was brighter for the first time in a month.

As well as raining stones on police and torching trucks, demonstrators on Tuesday stormed a mayor's office and climbed onto the roof of a town hall.

About 850 tons of uncollected refuse is lining the streets of Naples and the city's mayor, Rosa Russo Iervolino, has appealed to the government for help.

Those poor Napolitani. When they wake up each day, it must feel like the Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day". They relive the same garbage crisis over and over...and the Napolitani never change.

But the only reason why the outlook in Naples was brighter for the first time in a month is because the people are running out of bullets and Molotov cocktails, and beginning to storm public buildings like swat teams "alla Napoletana".

How is it possible that Naples cannot resolve it's garbage problem? Well, for starters, what do you expect from a typical Napolitano who flushes everything except the cat down the toilet and considers home recycling a cursed myth?

If you're a brave adventurer who is looking for the ultimate rush, sign up for the so-called "organization that is orchestrating the military phase of the attacks on the police" in Naples. Don't forget the mosquito net over your head and get the hell out of Naples as soon as 'Tarzan' gives the retreat signal:

"Minchia, me no help! Naples no safe!"
"Me scared, Africa lion safer!"

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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