08/06/14 Minestrone of Summer Vegetables

"A tavola non si invecchia." (One does not age when they're at a table with good friends and family.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Stewed Potatoes With Tomato
  -Polenta With Anchovies
  -Minestrone of Summer Vegetables

"Salve, ragazzi!" Thanks again for being part of the newsletter, our farm family and our larger community. If ever I've missed sending you a reply and you want to be sure you're seen, just hit reply to this or write me Angela@OreganoFromItaly.com. I never mean to miss your messages. We get buried sometimes up at the farm, and it takes a bit of effort. But you're worth it.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Stewed Potatoes With Tomato

Stewed Potatoes With Tomato
Patate Stufate Al Pomodoro


1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) potatoes, diced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons dry white wine
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil in a pan.

Add the garlic and shallot and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Add the potatoes and cook over a high heat, stirring frequently, for a few more minutes.

Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated.

Lower the heat and add the tomatoes.

Sprinkle with the oregano.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add 1/4 pint (150 ml) water.

Cover and cook over a low heat until the potatoes are falling apart.

Transfer to a warm serving dish. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta With Anchovies

Polenta With Anchovies
Polenta Pasticciata Con Le Acciughe


11 oz (300 grams) coarse polenta flour
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) salted anchovies
18 fl oz (500 ml) dry white wine
1 garlic clove
7 fl oz (200 ml) double cream
3 oz (80 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
1 oz (25 grams) Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper


Prepare a fairly stiff polenta by bringing 18 fl oz (500 ml) of salted water and the wine to a boil (keep another pan of water boiling if necessary).

Sprinkle the polenta flour into the pan while stirring constantly.

As soon as the polenta thickens, soften it with a drop of the reserved boiling water.

When it is ready, pour it on to a work surface or tray and leave to cool and set.

Cut into slices.

Fillet the anchovies, cut off the head and tails, and press along the backbones with your thumb.

Soak in cold water for 10 minutes and then drain.

Preheat the oven to 180?C (350?F) Gas Mark 4.

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Melt 2 oz (50 grams) of the butter in a saucepan.

Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.

Lower the heat.

Add the anchovies and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon until they have almost been completely absorbed.

Remove the garlic.

Pour in the cream.

Season with pepper and cook for a few minutes more.

Make alternate layers of polenta and anchovy sauce in the prepared dish, ending with a layer of polenta.

Sprinkle with the Parmigiano cheese.

Dot with the remaining butter and bake until golden brown. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Minestrone of Summer Vegetables

Minestrone of Summer Vegetables
Minestrone di Verdure Estive


For the Vegetable Broth:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 medium fresh fennel bulb, sliced
1 medium celery root (celeriac), peeled, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, crushed (with peel)
6 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
16 cups water

For the Croutons:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups 1/2-inch cubes baguette or rustic country-style bread

For the Vegetable Soup:
1 cup dried cranberry beans or cannellini (white kidney beans)
4 small carrots, peeled, sliced
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup fresh edamame beans or frozen, thawed
1 cup sliced trimmed Italian pole beans or green beans (about 5 ounces)
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled celery root (celeriac)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 lacinato (black) kale leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
2 and 1/2-pints red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly shaved Parmigiano cheese, or Asiago cheese


Prepare the Vegetable Broth:
Heat olive oil in very large pot over medium-high heat.

Add carrots and next 7 ingredients.

Saute until vegetables are golden and begin to soften, about 12-15 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste.

Stir to blend.

Add 16 cups water and bring to boil.

Reduce heat.

Cover and simmer 2 and 1/2 hours.

Strain vegetable mixture, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Discard solids in strainer.

Measure 13 cups broth and pour into large bowl (reserve remaining broth for another use).

Season broth with salt.

Prepare the Croutons:
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add garlic.

Stir 30 seconds.

Add bread cubes.

Stir until crisp and golden, about 7-8 minutes.

Remove from heat.


Prepare the Vegetable Soup:
Place cranberry beans in medium bowl.

Add enough cold water to cover beans by 2 inches.

Let stand at room temperature overnight.


Place beans in large saucepan.

Add enough cold water to cover beans by 3 inches.

Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Drain beans.

Set aside.

Bring 13 cups vegetable broth to simmer in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add carrots and next 7 ingredients to broth.

Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Add cranberry beans and kale and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in cherry tomatoes and parsley.

Simmer just until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Season soup with salt and pepper.

Ladle vegetable soup into bowls.

Garnish with garlic croutons and shaved cheese and serve. Makes 8 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:

Pope to Priests: "Those Lectures Are Putting Everyone To Sleep"

Assisi - October 4, 2013 - Too many priests deliver homilies that are boring, interminable and incomprehensible, Pope Francis said.

In improvised remarks during a visit to Assisi, the pope warned his clergy to think carefully about the content of their sermons.

"Enough of these kinds of homilies - endless, tedious, in which you do not understand anything," Francis said at a meeting with clergy in Assisi's Cathedral of San Rufino.

(We're not looking forward to the repeat holy criticism we're going to get after this one...and the next article)

"Grazie, Papa Francesco." It's about time...

The Pope knows. It's no surprise Catholicism has been on a downward trend for years. We're having a problem...and some of us in this room and the characters in the piazza right outside the office are trying to be constructive about it for the good of the Church.

Why can't they put more effort into the speeches and edicts? "Maria Santa," they might as well give it in Latin! Don't they realize no one knows what's going on anymore? And we have old family members and relatives battling the rain and snow to get to the sermons.

We would love to grab our local priests and take them on a faith-based trip to some of these Protestant services where they're doing healings, and people are running up and down the aisles and passing out. See? You don't see these people pacing themselves like slugs on Sunday mornings. Lord have mercy, it's supposed to be a celebration!

It all comes down to content, fellow faithful ones. Content! For example, did you know you could fast from a variety of options other than food? (I don't see why we can't discuss this next Sunday, "Padre Nino".):


1) Escapist fantasies: any material activity you rely on in order to escape from reality, like TV, movies and video games.
(As many of you living in Italian households are aware, there is a constant need to escape from the reality that is your family and intruding relatives. You could give up the TV and movies...and escape to your friend's house for a few days of fasting and bonding. Two birds, one stone...or as we say, two pigeons, one fava bean.)

2) Vices and sins: alcohol abuse, smoking, sexual activity outside of marriage, etc. Other vices include less obvious behaviors like gossiping, swearing, impatience, laziness or stubbornness. (Hold on, you can't technically consider drinking your home made wine as alcohol abuse. After all, an old family recipe created with love and by your own hands is not a sin. But you can avoid all of your swearing and impatience...by simply ignoring your family's gossiping and stubbornness. Again, escaping to that friend's house can help.)

3) Leisure Time: spiritually beneficial activities to your schedule. Commit yourself to spending more time with your family or to performing new acts of kindness for your friends. Any activity you add to your day should be selfless and should replace time you might otherwise waste. You could stop wasting time at home (God knows you've done enough of that) and perform an act of kindness at that friend's house. You can't be more selfless than baking a 6 layer sausage lasagne for him and the other friends who'll escape and come over later on in the evening for dinner and a card game of "scopa". Ah, don't forget the home made wine.)

See you at Sunday Mass.

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