01/02/08 Traditional Manicotti from OreganoFromItaly.com

"L'occhio del padrone ingrassa il cavallo." (The eye of the owner fattens the horse. Nobody takes care of one's business as does its owner.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Bruschette con Pomodoro e Finocchio
  -Risotto alla Milanese
  -Manicotti Tradizionale

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Bruschette con Pomodoro e Finocchio

Bruschette con Pomodoro e Finocchio
Tomato and Fennel Bruschette


1/2 lb plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh fennel
12 tablespoon minced fennel tops
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 slices 4x6 sourdough or French bread
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill or toast bread. Brush with olive oil.

Season generously with pepper.

Top with tomato mixture.

Cut each slice into 4 pieces and serve immediately. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese


5-6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 or more cups stock
1 teaspoon salt
Grated Parmigiano cheese


Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet. When it is bubbling, add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes; do not allow the onion to brown.

Add the rice and stir it well with a spatula; do not allow it to color. Be certain that the onion and rice are well coated with the butter.

Add the wine and let it almost cook away.

Start to add stock, a cup at a time. Let each cup of stock cook away before adding more.

As the rice becomes tender, stir it with a fork to keep it from sticking to the pan. Add salt and a touch of saffron.

When the rice is done, stir in the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of butter and a little grated Parmigiano cheese. Serve at once. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Manicotti Tradizionale

Manicotti Tradizionale
Traditional Manicotti


For the marinara sauce:
2 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
5 fresh basil leaves, cut julienne
1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 and 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 lb prosciutto, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

16 Manicotti Crepes
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 x 1/4 x 3-inch strips

5 fresh basil leaves
Additional freshly grated Romano cheese

3 eggs
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Extra virgin olive oil


For the sauce:
Chop tomatoes in processor.

Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft (do not brown), about 1 and 1/2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, then tomatoes, basil and salt. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

For the filling:
Beat ricotta in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Mix in 1 cup Romano cheese, eggs, prosciutto and minced fresh parsley.

For the crepes:
Mix eggs and water in blender. Add flour and blend batter until smooth. Let stand 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Heat crepe pan or heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Brush pan lightly with olive oil. Remove pan from heat. Stir batter and ladle 2 tablespoons into corner of pan, tilting so batter just coats bottom. Return excess batter to bowl. Cook crepe until bottom is set (do not brown), about 5 seconds.

Loosen edges with knife. Turn crepe and cook until second side is set (do not brown), about 5 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter, stirring occasionally. (Can be prepared ahead. Layer crepes between sheets of waxed paper and cool completely. Wrap tightly and refrigerate 3 days or freeze 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using.)

For the assembly:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Spoon 2 and 1/2 tablespoons filling down center of crepe.

Place 1 mozzarella strip atop filling.

Fold both sides of crepe over filling.

Arrange seam side down in large baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and crepes. (Can be prepared ahead. Cover crepes and sauce separately and refrigerate 1 day or freeze up to 2 weeks. Bring crepes to room temperature before baking. Rewarm sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally.)

Stir whole basil leaves into sauce. Pour sauce over crepes.

Sprinkle lightly with additional Romano cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through, about 35 minutes. Serves 8.

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:

Venice Waterbus Service Off Limits To Tourists

Venice - January 21, 2008 - A new waterbus service reserved for Venetians only started plying up and down the Grand Canal on Monday, allowing residents to avoid bustling groups of tourists.

The number 3 'vaporetto' line, from the main station to St Mark's Square, has been introduced a week ahead of the Venice carnival, when thousands of tourists are expected to pour into the lagoon city. One of the first passengers on the No.3 was Mayor Massimo Cacciari, who said the initiative would help eliminate the riotous stampedes of tourists and residents during rush hour on the Grand Canal.

There were a few protests earlier this month when it was announced that Venetians were to get their own waterbuses, run for them by crews sporting a distinctive blue rosette on their uniforms.

One local consumers' association compared the 'residents only' rule to the apartheid of "1960s Alabama". Critics also said that launching an untested system just before Carnival, when the entire transport network was under maximum strain, was "incomprehensible".

But generally, residents seemed happy at the innovation, which will put an extra seven boats on Venice's main waterway.

Francesco Trevis, head of a St Mark's Square residents' association, said: "For us workers and residents, not having to stand in queues with tourists for half an hour is certainly positive. They have time to waste. For us it means getting to work every day".

Alabama? Oh, "porca di quella troja", how did the notion of apartheid seep into a lagoon city?

It appears that tourists who spend thousands of hard earned currencies and walk around ankle-deep in water did not read the fine print on their Venice tour guide books where it states that Mayor Massimo Jefferson Davis had declared the city an independent lagoon confederacy:

"In the name of the greatest Italians that ever floated down these canals, I draw the line in the water and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and I say: Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation for ever."

What if Rosa Parks were alive today to visit the sinking city? Would she have been arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a Venetian? Would she have been told to "go to the back of the vaporetto"?

Italy desperately needs an Italian Martin Luther King Jr to march in support of civil rights for Venice tourists. What a great dream it would be to eat a gelato while riding a fully integrated water bus.

"We are on the move now ... and no wave of racism or a lagoon can stop us."

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