09/11/13 Tuscan Seafood Stew

"Come un cavolo a merenda." (Like a cabbage for a snack. Something that is said that is completely out of context.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Potato Puree with Truffle Oil and Mascarpone
  -Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza
  -Tuscan Seafood Stew

"Ciao!" All of us at the farm are thankful for your participation with us through this newsletter. We have more great Italian recipes on the way. Remember, don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Potato Puree with Truffle Oil and Mascarpone

Potato Puree with Truffle Oil and Mascarpone
Pure di Patate con Olio al Tartufo e Mascarpone


3 and 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Whole milk
2 teaspoons black truffle sauce or truffle oil


Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Drain, cool slightly, and peel potatoes.

Return warm potatoes to same pot.

Add butter and mascarpone cheese.

Mash until smooth.

Mix in enough milk to thin to desired consistency.

Mix in truffle sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to bowl.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza

Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza
Pizza Noci e Zucchini


For the Pizza Dough:
2 tbsp sugar (7/8 oz)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more (1/2 oz)
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
5 and 1/2 cups "00" flour (1 lb 12 oz)
2 tbsp kosher salt (3/4 oz)

For the Pizza Topping:
1 and 1/2 cups walnut halves
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more
1/3 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 lb smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
16 fresh basil leaves
Fine semolina, for dusting


Prepare the Pizza Dough:
Combine sugar, olive oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Let sit until foamy, about 8-10 minutes.

Mix flour and salt in a bowl.

With motor running, slowly add flour mixture.

Mix until a smooth dough forms, about 8-10 minutes.

Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Divide dough into 4 balls.

Transfer to a greased 9 inch by 13 inch dish.

Brush tops with olive oil.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for 48 hours. Makes four 12 oz balls.

Prepare the Pizza Topping:
Puree the walnuts, Parmigiano cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, cream, and salt in a food processor until smooth.

Heat remaining olive oil, plus chile flakes in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.

Add zucchini and salt.

Cook until golden, 8-10 minutes.

Place a pizza stone under the broiler.

Heat for 30 minutes.

Working in 4 batches, dust 1 ball dough with semolina.

Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick, leaving a 1-inch crust around the edges.

Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips circling crust, slide fingers around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about 1/3-inch thick.

Transfer to a semolina-dusted pizza peel.

Spread 1/2 cup walnut sauce over dough and distribute a quarter each of the zucchini, cheese and basil leaves.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Slide pizza onto stone.

Bake until cheese melts and crust is puffed and charred in spots, 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot. Makes four 10-inch pizzas.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tuscan Seafood Stew

Tuscan Seafood Stew


12 oz calamari, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 oz baby octopus, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (1-lb) monkfish filet, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (1-lb) red snapper filet, cut into 2-inch pieces
12 oz large shell-on shrimp
12 oz mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
One (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes with juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fish stock
Eight (1 inch-thick) slices country-style white bread


Heat olive oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium heat.

Add parsley, sage, chile flakes, and 4 cloves garlic, minced, and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add calamari and octopus, and cook, stirring occasionally, until an opaque color, about 4-5 minutes.

Add tomato paste, stir well, and cook until paste has darkened slightly, about 1 minute.

Add wine, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes along with their juice, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until seafood is tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in stock, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add monkfish, and cook, covered, until just firm, about 5 minutes.

Add snapper and shrimp to the pot and scatter mussels over top.

Cook, covered, without stirring (so as not to break up the seafood), until the snapper is just cooked through and the mussels have just opened, about 10 minutes.

Toast bread, and rub liberally with remaining garlic clove.

Ladle stew between bowls, over bread or with bread on the side. Serves 6-8.

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:

Embryos Lost At Fertility Clinic Thanks To Incompetence

Rome - April 02, 2012 - A blackout last week at the Rome hospital San Filippo Neri caused 94 embryos, 130 eggs and five sperm samples to be lost due to a refrigeration failure in the facility's fertility clinic.

Investigators examining the incident Monday said that criminal charges, including neglect, incompetence, as well as involuntary manslaughter in the case of the destroyed embryos, are being discussed.

Temperatures in the refrigeration unit shot up from -196 degrees centigrade to +20 degrees on the morning of March 27, said investigators.

On a serious note, this is such a shame because Italy is not the kindest place in Europe for people who need help having a child.

For example, we forbid single women and lesbian couples, whether they are attractive or not, from using artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to conceive. And Italy also bans all egg and sperm donations for IVF.

Italians also have a strong historic tie to that Vatican, which forbids IVF, primarily because the procedure may involve the destruction of embryos. And, Holy Maria, we've been trying to cut that umbilical cord for decades but to no avail.

We're not done...

They are also against artificial insemination because it believes procreation should only be by a husband and wife through the natural act of sex. It's at this point that everything flies out the window.

- Should the natural act of sex between husband and wife include pointing at each other and laughing?
- What should a wife do if her husband is a very quiet guy, doesn't utter a sound and "almost" changes the expression on his face during that natural act?

And then there's the dreadful low sperm count...which has to be indirectly caused by lack of sex, ugly Italian women and cold water. Our Uncle Alfredo went to a fertility clinic for a consultation and to deposit samples after he noticed he was making less of a mess during that natural act. Just to be on the safe side.

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