01/07/09 Parmigiano Polenta with Prosciutto from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Nelle botti piccine ci sta il vino buono." (In the small barrels you find the good wine. Good things come in small packages.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Parmigiano Polenta with Prosciutto
  -Spinach Risotto
  -Tortellini with Chicken and Pesto

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: Parmigiano Polenta with Prosciutto

Parmigiano Polenta with Prosciutto
Polenta Parmigiano con Prosciutto


3 cups milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup diced prosciutto
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
1 egg, beaten to blend


Combine milk, 5 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg in heavy large saucepan.

Bring to boil over medium heat.

Gradually whisked in cornmeal.

Stir until mixture is very thick and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Mix in prosciutto, 3/4 cup cheese and egg.

Transfer polenta to 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

Dot with 1 tablespoon butter.

Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Bake polenta uncovered until heated through and beginning to brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve. 4 main-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto
Risotto ai Spinaci


One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup long-grain rice
1/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 teaspoon Pernod (if desired)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Cook spinach according to package instructions and drain well.

Cool spinach completely and squeeze dry by handfuls.

In a saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

In a large saucepan cook onion in olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened.

Stir in rice, stirring until each grain is coated with olive oil.

Add wine or vermouth and cook, covered, over moderately high heat, stirring, until wine is absorbed.

Add about 3/4 cup simmering broth and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.

Continue adding broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, cooking, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until about half of broth has been added.

Reduce heat to moderate if necessary to keep risotto at a strong simmer.

Continue adding broth in the same manner until rice is tender and creamy looking but still 'al dente', about 18 minutes.

Stir spinach and Pernod into rice and add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese.

Serve risotto with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese. Serves 2.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tortellini with Chicken and Pesto

Tortellini with Chicken and Pesto
Tortellini con Pollo e Pesto


2 large bunches fresh basil (about 4 cups loosely packed leaves)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 lb fresh cheese tortellini

2 cups diced cooked chicken
Additional grated Parmigiano cheese


Puree first 5 ingredients in processor until almost smooth.

Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to small bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of pesto to seal. Cover; chill.)

Cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.

Combine tortellini, chicken and 1 cup pesto in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Toss until mixture is heated through, adding reserved cooking water and additional pesto by tablespoonfuls until sauce coats pasta.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to bowl. Pass additional Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4.

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:

Bank Clerk Becomes Bank Robber

Bergamo - October 10, 2008 - An Italian bank clerk became a bank robber after losing all his money on the stock market, police said Friday.

The 30-year-old man, identified as S.V., left his job in this northern Italian city last year and became a stick-up man after he lost some 70,000 euros on the Milan stock market. He was caught Thursday after kidnapping a bank employee and demanding a 70,000-euro ransom.

S.V. was arrested by a police officer who came to the pick-up dressed as the bank manager who was supposed to deliver the money.

The clerk-turned-robber confessed to four previous robberies which had not produced the results he expected. He had decided to make one last "throw of the dice" to make his money back, he said.

"It was supposed to be the last heist. I was banking on going to live in Africa".

"Oh, cornuto diavolo!" There goes my dream life in Somalia.

There's little probability S.V. is going to win the "Brightest Bank Teller" award.

Dominated by the government since the 1930s and long protected from almost any international competition, Italian banks became fat, lazy, and, in some cases, susceptible to pressure from politicians and organized crime. As a result, they have been left with the highest cost structure and lowest profitability in Europe.

With time, crafty and shifty Italian bank tellers obtain a certain "inside knowledge" on how Italy's banking system really operates. Had he heeded the old proverb, "chi va piano va sano e va lontano" (he who goes slowly goes far and surely), he could have utilized this knowledge to recuperate his market losses. (Hint-hint, jackass: dormant bank accounts)

"The clerk-turned-robber confessed to four previous robberies which had not produced the results he expected." FAIL: Robs four banks and still misses the mark.

"He was caught Thursday after kidnapping a bank employee and demanding a 70,000-euro ransom." FAIL: An Italian bank teller who thinks his fellow colleagues are worth 70,000 Euros.

You want sympathy from us, S.V.?
Your banks have been swindling Italians for decades!

Fact: Italian banks charge "much higher" fees for checking accounts than in the rest of Europe. The average annual cost for an account in Europe's fourth-largest economy is 182 euros, compared with 35 in the Netherlands, 65 in Belgium, 99 in France and 108 in Spain.

"Porca miseria!" For 182 Euros, we should get an espresso and a cornetto served by the bank manager every time we drop by.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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