12/31/08 Thyme Pesto from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Fra il dire e il fare c'e' di mezzo il mare." (An ocean lies between what is said and what is done. Easier said than done.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Bruschetta with Caponata
  -Thyme Pesto
  -Lemon Broccoli Risotto

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to all our subscribers and their families. Enjoy your recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Bruschetta with Caponata

Bruschetta with Caponata


For the Caponata:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 and 1/2 cups 1/4-inch dice unpeeled eggplant (about 1 and 1/4 lbs)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
3 tablespoons chopped drained bottled capers
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly
3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley leaves

For the Bruschetta:
8 to 12 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices of country-style Italian bread
Flat-leafed parsley sprigs for garnish


Prepare the Caponata:
In a heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat until it hot but not smoking, in it cook the eggplant, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is tender, and transfer it to a bowl.

To the skillet add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and in it cook the onion and the celery over moderate heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Add the olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts, and the tomatoes and cook the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is cooked through and the celery is tender, and transfer it to the bowl.

Stir in the parsley, let the caponata cool, and chill it, covered, overnight.

Season the caponata with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Bruschetta:
Grill the bread on an oiled rack set about 4 inches over glowing coals for 1 minute on each side, brush the toasts on one side with the olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt to taste.

Top each toast generously with some of the caponata, arrange 2 or 3 toasts on each of 4 plates, and garnish each serving with the parsley sprigs. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Thyme Pesto

Thyme Pesto
Pesto al Timo


1 and 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled, plus 1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Finely chop first 5 ingredients in processor.

With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil.

Continue processing until pesto is almost smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Pesto can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.) Makes about 1 cup.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lemon Broccoli Risotto

Lemon Broccoli Risotto
Risotto al Limone e Broccoli


4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 lb broccoli, cut into flowerets, quartered if large, and stems cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups rice (short, medium, or long grain)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


In a large saucepan bring the broth and the water to a boil and in the broth simmer the broccoli flowerets for 3 minutes, or until they are just tender.

Transfer the flowerets with a skimmer to a bowl and reserve them.

To the simmering broth add the broccoli stems, the zest, and the lemon juice and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.

While the stems are cooking, in a large heavy saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened and stir in the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with the olive oil.

Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth, stems included, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed.

Continue adding the broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each portion be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still 'al dente'. (The rice should take about 20 minutes to become al dente.)

Stir in the reserved broccoli flowerets and simmer the risotto, stirring, until the flowerets are heated through.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"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 Grandmothers Knit Gigantic Toy Rabbit

Turin - October 15, 2008 - The 200-foot-long toy rabbit lies on the side of the 5,000 foot high Colletto Fava mountain in northern Italy's Piedmont region.

The pink rabbit was knitted by Gelitin, the Viennese art collective, as an outdoor sculpture for people to climb on, sleep on, and generally play with. It is made of soft, waterproof, materials and is stuffed with straw.

Gelatin say it was "knitted by dozens of grannies out of pink wool".

Wolfgang Gantner, a group member said: "It's supposed to make you feel small, like Gulliver. You walk around it and you can't help but smile."

He explained that the bunny is not just for walking around and they expect hikers to climb its 20 foot sides and relax on its belly.

The bunny attracts many visitors each year and can now be seen via satellite on the Internet. It is expected to remain on the mountain side until 2025

A spokesperson from Gelatine said: "Now even Google Maps is spotting the rabbit from outer-space."

The idea of giant art installations is not new. In June this year, artist Giancarlo Neri unveiled his giant writing desk and chair on Hampstead Heath.

(Sigh...) Such a shame. Gone are the days when...

Nonna was the strong one in the family, but as an Italian wife, she had to make Nonno feel like he was the strong one.

Nonna's kitchen was the place where the family sat around or listened to the reprimands, each relative taking turns berating the Italian crap out of you. "We hope it's not getting serious between you and that baldracca..."

Nonna's basement where the endless rhythms of the laundry and the endless tasks of cooking somehow mixed together. On a wood and coal-burning stove, she simmered spaghetti sauce and boiled the laundry in a huge kettle, stirring it with a long wooden stick. "Hey Nonna, did you know washing machines are the rage in Africa? Who would have thought?"

Nonna armed with cooking utensils that could easily have doubled as lethal weapons, from the "bastone" (a huge, clublike polenta paddle) to the "mezzaluna" (an extremely sharp, crescent-shaped blade with handles on both ends) speaking to you in an overly melodious, annoying tone. "Come closer...I won't hurt you."

Nonna wouldn't reveal the secrets of her signature dishes with ungrateful daughter-in-laws with questionable family backgrounds.

Nonna would slip the leftover cinders between the sheets to heat the family beds, then reserving the ashes for washing clothes. "Hey Nonna, declaring this house a fire hazard would be the understatement of the century."

Nonna sweltering in the kitchen, building entire cuisines on leftover bread and trying to come up with new and improved ways to serve hard-boiled eggs. "Meatloaf prepared with hardboiled eggs and no meat...pure genius, Nonna."

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