"Val pił la pratica della grammatica." (Experience is more important than theory.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!
This week's Italian recipes:
Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".
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Zuppa Cremosa di Aglio Arrostite
Roast 8 heads of garlic: slice the tips off the garlic and arrange them in a small casserole pan. Douse liberally with extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup). Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 350° F. for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool, then squeeze the garlic from the skins either with your hands or with the back end of a chef's knife. Put in a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Set aside.
Meanwhile boil the 3 small red or white potatoes and the one medium russet potato. Cook until medium soft, but not mushy. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes when cool.
Prepare the 2 cups of the bechamel sauce as described on the package instructions.
Place the bechamel and the potatoes into the same bowl as the roasted garlic. Blend until smooth with a hand blender or food processor.
Add the chicken broth and blend again.
At this point the blended ingredients should be fairly thick. You may leave it this way and reheat it to serve or add 1/2 cup of water and blend again for 20-30 seconds before heating. Either way a thick soup will be attained, but the one without the water will be very thick. The consistency is up to you.
Serve hot garnished with chopped fresh sage leaves and chopped scallions, spring onion tops, or toasted bread or croutons. Salt and freshly ground pepper may be added as desired. Serves 3-4.
Carne di Maiale, Radicchio e Pancetta
Slice the tenderloin into 15 pieces. Each piece will be a bit larger if sliced on the bias. Salt and pepper them to taste and set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a slow boil, and immerse the radicchio leaves in for 1 minute. Remove from the hot water with tongs and lay our on absorbent paper. Turn them leaves over and dry the other side. Keep the leaves as flat as possible during this step.
Lay a radicchio leaf on a flat surface. Place a tenderloin slice on the leaf. Wrap the tenderloin in the leaf. Do this by rolling the meat in the leaf, and tucking in the sides as you go along.
Lay two pieces of pancetta on a flat surface. The pieces should cross in the center of each pieces at right angles, forming a cross.
Place a radicchio wrapped piece of pork loin at the intersection of the pancetta.
Place a couple of slices of garlic on each piece of meat.
Bring the ends of the topmost piece (the one touching the radicchio) of pancetta over the meat. Do the same with the second of pancetta. Depending upon the width of the pancetta, most of the radicchio wrapped piece of meat should be encased in the pancetta. If the pancetta slices are too long to use, i.e. the ends overlap by more than an inch once they have encased the meat, cut off the excess and put aside.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet. Add the excess pancetta - if you have no excess - use a small additional piece. When the olive oil is hot but not smoking, turn the heat to medium, and carefully place the enwrapped roulades in the hot olive oil. Cook on one side for 7 minutes. Turn each over and cook on the other side for an additional 7 minutes.
While the tenderloins are cooking, saute the mushrooms in another skillet. This should be done over medium high heat. As soon as the mushrooms release their water, turn the heat to high. When almost all of the moisture has evaporated, add the balsamic vinegar, stir and cook for an additional minute. Move to the back of the stove.
As soon as the roulades are cooked, heap a portion of the sauteed mushrooms on a plate. Place 2 roulades on top of the mushrooms. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.
Merluzzo con Pomodori e Aglio
Cut the codfish into two pieces along the horizontal axis. Each piece should be about 2-3 inches across and the width of the fillet.
Marinate in enough white wine, lemon juice, chopped onion, thyme to cover the fish while preparing the sauce. If desired, the fish can be marinated for 2-3 hours prior to using.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 1 quart pot or saucier.
Add the garlic and allow to cook until it begins to turn slightly brown.
Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook vigorously, while stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer and reduce while preparing the fish. This should take about 20 minutes. Should the sauce become too thick while preparing the rest of the dish, add another 1/2 cup of stock.
Remove the codfish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
Add the flour and salt and pepper to a one quart plastic bag. Set aside while adding the remaining tablespoon and a half of olive oil to a fry pan just large enough to hold the fish. Turn the heat onto medium.
Immediately put the fish into the bag, shake to cover all of the sides of the fish. Pick each piece up with a fork, and gently shake off excess flour.
Cook each piece in the olive oil over medium high heat, turning once so that each side is browned. The fish should be cooked 3-4 minutes on each side, or until a fork inserted into the thickest part comes out warm.
Place 3 tablespoons of the sauce in the center of a warmed plate and form a circle of sauce about twice the size of each piece of fish. Put each piece of fish onto the sauce. Spoon another two or three tablespoons of the sauce over the fish. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:
Italian Mafia Murders Are Down By Over 30%, Prosecutor Says
Jan. 16 - Mob-related murders in Italy fell by a third in 2005 as the Sicilian Mafia moved to lower its profile in an attempt to ease business and political relations, the country's anti-Mafia prosecutor said today.
Mafia homicides fell to 143 in 2005 from 212 a year earlier, representing a quarter of all murders in Italy, according to a study by Ansa news agency and Eures research institute published today.
"The decline of homicides by Cosa Nostra was part of a precise strategy," anti-Mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso said in Rome, commenting on the data. "Fewer homicides don't mean that the mob is weaker. It means that there are fewer internal disputes."
Crime syndicates drained $45 billion from Italy's economy in 2005, and that excludes income from drug and arms trafficking, according to SOS Impresa, a Rome-based group that fights corruption. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi promised before last year's election to make the fight against the Mafia an "absolute priority" in order to cultivate growth in southern Italy, known as the Mezzogiorno.
Mob-related murders continued to decline in 2006, Grasso said, without giving the exact number. The data exclude what are called "bloodless" murders, where mobsters disappear and are never heard from again. The number of those each year is unknown, Grasso said.
Camorra, Cosa Nostra
Half of all mob murders in 2005 were committed by the Camorra, or the Mafia located in and around Naples, which is driven by rivalries between more than 40 different clans. Cosa Nostra, which has a unified, vertical command structure, was responsible for only 12 percent of the murders in 2005.
Sicilian mob boss Bernardo Provenzano was still a fugitive in 2005 and was the undisputed leader of Cosa Nostra, Europe's most powerful crime syndicate. He was captured in April of 2006.
Almost 92 percent of mob-related homicides go unsolved during the year that they are committed, according to the report. Ninety five percent of Mafia murders are executed with a firearm. The homicides are committed mostly in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight, with the victims gunned down either as they walk in a populated city center, or as they drive their cars.
The report also indicated that the murder rate in the U.S. is five times higher than Italy's. Murders as a result of domestic disputes, totaling 174, outpaced mob-related homicides in 2005, the report said.
"Meno Male!" It's comforting to know there are now fewer "internal disputes". Italians were starting to get worried.
"Crime syndicates drained $45 billion from Italy's economy in 2005, and that excludes income from drug and arms trafficking." And that income happens to be a modest $55 billion.
"Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi promised before last year's election to make the fight against the Mafia an "absolute priority" in order to cultivate growth in southern Italy, known as the Mezzogiorno." Our beloved and befuddled Prime Minister is not in touch with Italian reality. You can't believe what he says because he's lying. Instead of his nose growing, though, his stomach grew. It's like Pinocchio gone haywire.
"Mob-related murders continued to decline in 2006, Grasso said, without giving the exact number. The data exclude what are called "bloodless" murders, where mobsters disappear and are never heard from again." There's no such thing as a "bloodless" murder. Have you ever heard of a painless headache? There's a lot blood. It just happens to be somewhere else where you won't see it.
"Almost 92 percent of mob-related homicides go unsolved during the year that they are committed." Hmmm... Who would commit mob-related homicides? It can't be the mobsters themselves thanks to the fewer internal disputes. The 8 percent that are solved are from prosecutors or cops who accidentally bump into them around street corners or bars.
"Ninety five percent of Mafia murders are executed with a firearm." They did a study for $3 million that showed that 98% of the victims were mad at their killers at the time of the murders.
"The homicides are committed mostly in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight..." Of course. The day is meant for espresso, reading the newspapers, collecting "insurance" payments, picking up the little mobsters from school, 2 hour lunch break and the hour nap.
"Murders as a result of domestic disputes, totaling 174, outpaced mob-related homicides in 2005." They forgot to calculate in the homicides due to mob-related domestic disputes.
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Read Past Issues
Antipasto di Verona
Bucatini in Salsa Bianca
Gnocchi di Ricotta
Linguine ai Ricci di Mare
Mousse di Cioccolato
Risotto con le Cozze
Trippa alla Romana
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