10/16/13 Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza

"Mica pizza e fichi." (It's not pizza and figs. When something proves to be particularly hard or difficult, you respond with this saying.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Crostini with Ricotta Cheese and Soppressata
  -Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza
  -Roasted Hazelnuts with Thyme

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Crostini with Ricotta Cheese and Soppressata

Crostini with Ricotta Cheese and Soppressata
Crostini con Ricotta e Soppressata


1 to 1 and 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, room temperature
16-24 thin slices of soppressata (Italian dry salami)
1 loaf of ciabatta or another peasant-style bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
Spring leaves (for garnish)


Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire in a grill or set gas grill to medium-high heat.

Cut bread into 8 to 12 1/2-inch thick crosswise slices.

Drizzle the bread with olive oil.

Grill bread slices until both sides have grill marks and slightly charred crusts, 4-5 minutes.

While hot, rub bread with garlic.

Spread 1 tbsp of the ricotta on top of each toasted slice.

Top ricotta with 3-4 thin slices of soppressata.

Garnish with spring leaves. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza

Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza
Pizza con Funghi e Taleggio


1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
3/4 pound cold Taleggio or Italian Fontina
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)


Remove the rinds from the cheese and slice.

Put a large heavy baking sheet (17 by 14 inches) on the lowest rack of oven.

Preheat oven to 500?F (260?C).

Stretch out dough on a lightly floured surface, pulling on corners to form a roughly 16 by 13-inch rectangle.

Transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper.

Lightly prick dough all over with a fork.

Slide dough (still on parchment) onto hot baking sheet.

Bake until top is puffed and pale golden in patches, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven.

Prick any large bubbles with a fork and flatten.

Scatter mushrooms over crust.

Season with salt and pepper and lay cheese on top.

Bake pizza until edge of crust is deep golden and cheese is bubbling and golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drizzle with truffle oil (optional) and season with pepper.

Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Roasted Hazelnuts with Thyme

Roasted Hazelnuts with Thyme
Nocciole Tostate con Timo


2 cups hazelnuts (10 ounces)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt


Preheat oven to 450?F with rack in middle.

Roast nuts in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan in oven until nuts have a toasted aroma and skins are very dark, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand 30 minutes.

Rub the nuts with a kitchen towel to remove any loose skins.

Heat nuts with thyme in olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet, just until hot.

Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Makes about 2 cups.

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 Sets Up Criminal Investigative Crack Team To Stop Vatican Leaks

Vatican City - March 18, 2012 - The Pope has taken the unusual step of setting up an internal, criminal investigation to identify the source of damaging leaks of compromising Vatican documents.

The inquiry will seek to punish the insiders who leaked the papers, whom the Vatican hierarchy regard as "disloyal and cowardly".

Pope Benedict XVI had been hurt by the leaks, said Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican's deputy secretary of state and third most powerful Vatican figure.

Documents leaked to the Italian press over the last few weeks have shed light on dark power struggles between senior cardinals, alleged corruption and nepotism in the running of the Vatican administration, and a mysterious prediction that the 84-year-old pontiff would die within a year, possibly as a result of an assassination attempt.

Msgr Becciu described whistle-blowers as "cowardly" and "deeply disloyal" and warned that they would face the full force of the law from Vatican prosecutors. They had abused the trust placed in them by leaking the documents, he said.

The investigation will be conducted by a tribunal and will probe all departments in the Vatican administration.

Msgr Becciu also defended the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, saying it was wrong to depict it as a hotbed of "plots and careerism".

The investigation will draw on an inquiry already opened by the Vatican's own police force, the Gendarmerie, into how the leaks happened.

The Pope also decided to launch a special commission into the affair, composed of cardinals whom he had chosen personally, in order to re-establish "trust" within the Holy See.

"TOP SECRET" For Pope's eyes only:

1. There could be life on other planets:
In 2006, Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican's observatory, states that the Vatican acknowledges that life on other planets is theoretically possible. (However, whatever the life forms would be, the Vatican feels that they would be one of God's creations...vulnerable to spiritual blackmail and bribery, especially if they are Communist aliens running for office or Supreme Leader.)

2. Vatican Post Office is remarkably efficient, fast and profitable:
Beyond the many tourist souvenirs, the postage stamps contribute to the largest export of the Vatican serving as one of the primary sources of internal revenue. (Romans and tourists also find that the Vatican mail system is faster and more efficient than the typical Italian postal office...where they're used to dealing with postal workers who have spent more time together than the 12 Apostles but still have trouble remembering each other's name and the cost of mailing a postcard to Chicago.)

3. Vatican Radio waves covers the world twice over:
Located in a tower inside the Vatican Gardens, the Vatican has a radio station that broadcasts in 45 different languages across the world. In 2010 a court-ordered study has found that electromagnetic waves beamed by Vatican Radio leave residents living near the station?s giant antenna towers at a higher risk of cancer. (The radio?s director, Federico Lombardi, disputed the report, saying: "Vatican Radio is astonished to hear the news on the results of the study." And so was Tom Hanks with "Wilson" on that deserted island. "Am I going crazy or am I picking up the Third Sermon of Lent on a volleyball?")

4. Turn water to wine, taxes to donations:
Instead of paying their taxes to the Italian government, Italians are allowed to donate 8% of their yearly taxes to the Vatican. (Makes you want to pour your marinara sauce over your head, doesn't it?)

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