01/30/13 Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta

"Chi non sa niente, non dubita de niente." (He who knows nothing, doubts of nothing.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tartlets with Zucchini and Tomato Filling
  -Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta
  -Nutella Truffles

"Salve a tutti!" Thanks for everything you're doing and we'll continue to find recipes to help your kitchen come alive with flavors and aromas. Give the "Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta" a try. The recipe may seem overwhelming but if you follow it step by step, you'll have yourself a pie that will make mouths water...just by the smell of it! Ok?

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Tartlets with Zucchini and Tomato Filling

Tartlets with Zucchini and Tomato Filling
Tartellette con Zucchine e Pomodoro


1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry,
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup slow-roasted tomato halves
4 tsp whipped cream cheese
14 thin slices of zucchini
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Defrost the puff pastry according to the package directions.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Remove defrosted puff pastry from its wrapping.

Dust the countertop with some of the flour (a tablespoon or two).

Unfold one sheet of pastry.

With a rolling pin, roll the pastry just slightly thinner than it comes in.

Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, pastry cutter, or drinking glass, cut out 6-7 pastry circles and place on the baking sheet.

Repeat with the second sheet of pastry.

Do not re-roll the scraps. Discard them.

With a fork, prick lots of holes in the pastry rounds, making sure to keep a 1/2-inch border unpricked all the way around.

In a blender, combine the slow-roasted tomato halves and cream cheese, and process into a smooth paste.

Spread the mixture in the center of each pastry round.

Top each round with a slice of zucchini, a few leaves of thyme, a sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese, a bit of black pepper and a drop or two of olive oil.

Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and lightly golden.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 12-14 tartlets.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta
Torta di Salsiccia e Broccoli Rabe


For the Crespelle:
2 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
3/4 pound broccoli rabe
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

For the Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/2 cup)

For the Assembly:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 pound chilled Italian Fontina cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/2 cup)

An 8-inch (20-cm) round springform pan


Prepare the Crespelle:
Blend together eggs, milk, flour, and salt in a blender until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl.

Lightly brush a 10-inch nonstick skillet with melted butter and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.

Ladle about 1/4 cup batter into skillet, tilting and rotating skillet to coat bottom.

Pour excess batter back into bowl.

Cook until just set and underside is lightly browned, about 30 seconds.

Invert crespella onto a clean kitchen towel to cool completely.

Make 5 more crespelle with remaining batter in same manner, brushing skillet with melted butter as needed.

Prepare the Filling:
Cut off and discard 1 inch from stem ends of broccoli rabe, then coarsely chop remainder.

Cook broccoli rabe in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking.

Drain well in a colander and pat dry.

Cook garlic with red-pepper flakes in olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes.

Add sausage and cook, breaking up sausage with back of a wooden spoon, until no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes.

Stir in broccoli rabe and cook, tossing to coat with sausage, until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Prepare the Sauce:
Heat butter in a 2 to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat until foam subsides.

Add flour and cook, whisking, 3 minutes.

Add milk in a slow stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking.

Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stir in salt, pepper, and cheese, then remove from heat.

Assemble the Torta:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425F.

Invert bottom of springform pan, then lock.

Wrap outside of entire bottom of springform pan with a double layer of foil.

Generously brush inside bottom and side of pan with butter.

Sprinkle bottom with bread crumbs.

Stir together Fontina and Parmigiano cheeses in a bowl.

Put 1 crespella in bottom of springform pan.

Sprinkle with one sixth of filling and drizzle with 1/3 cup sauce.

Make 5 more layers each of crespella, filling, and sauce (end with a layer of sauce).

Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over top.

Bake, uncovered, until top is bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes.

Remove side of pan and carefully slide torta off bottom of pan onto a plate.

Cut torta into wedges. Makes 4 to 6 (main course) servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Nutella Truffles

Nutella Truffles
Tartufi di Nutella


One (13-ounce) jar of Nutella
8-ounces finely chopped dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Hazelnut Praline


Place the jar of Nutella in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (and ideally overnight).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Set aside.

Remove the Nutella from the refrigerator and use a 1 and 1/4-inch cookie scoop, to shape about 1 and 1/2 dozen truffles, placing them on one of the parchment-covered baking sheets as you go.

Place the shaped truffles in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

While the shaped truffles are in the freezer, melt the chocolate either in a double boiler, or in the microwave. (If you melt the chocolate in the microwave, do it in 30 second increments.)

Pour the melted chocolate in a small deep bowl.

Remove the shaped truffles from the freezer and use a fork, to carefully dip each truffle into the melted chocolate to coat it evenly, and place them on the other parchment-lined baking sheet. You can use a small knife to help you remove the covered truffle from the fork.

After about every two truffles, sprinkle them with the hazelnut praline. Makes about 1 and1/2 dozen.

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:

Missing City Council Worker Found Fixing Car Engines

Frosinone - March 30, 2012 - A man who clocked in as a city council worker every day only to go to a secret job as a mechanic has been cited for aggravated fraud and may face up to five years in jail, police said Friday.

The man was caught by police who trailed him from his official job near the city south of Rome every day to the garage he ran under the cover of relatives.



How to find a Italian city employee.

1) "Buon Giorno" and have a great day!

2) If you're looking to find a city employee, you should at least know what department the employee works in. If not, there might be phone numbers available for assistance and guidance.

Please have patience if you cannot comprehend the person you are speaking with. Chances are they are not enthusiastic, or fluent in your language...or they are marble-mouthed because they are munching on food. If you listen carefully, you can hear tiny chunks of food flying out of his/her mouth and into the little holes of the receiver.

3) Keep in mind that most Italian city officials keep their employee list confidential. They're not going to readily expose it due to the fact that some of these employees are relatives, friends, lovers or whores. However, with a few phone calls and networking with the sixth or seventh employee down on the food chain, you might have some luck in tracking down the office where the city employee could be located.

4) When you present yourself at the office, do not be disappointed if the city employee is not available. Previous engagements, people skills, or adaptability could be one of the many factors for his/her absence. What is important is you tried your best, you found the office and that you did not disturb the dust in there...that fine coating.

5) Try again next week. "Ciao!"

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