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 01/09/08 Olive, Rosemary and Onion Focaccia from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Se non vero, ben trovato." (If it's not true, it's a good story.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Focaccia d'Oliva, Rosmarino e Cipolla
  -Penne con Gorgonzola e Pomodoro
  -Arrosto di Agnello

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

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Focaccia d'Oliva, Rosmarino e Cipolla

Focaccia d'Oliva, Rosmarino e Cipolla
Olive, Rosemary and Onion Focaccia

Ingredients:

A 1/4-ounce package (2 and 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 and 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus whole rosemary leaves
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 lb Kalamata, Nicoise, or green Greek olives or a combination, pitted and cut into slivers (about 1 cup)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste

Directions:

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook stir together the yeast, the sugar, and 1 and 3/4 cups lukewarm water and proof the yeast mixture for 5 minutes, or until it is foamy.

Stir in 4 and 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and knead the dough, scraping down the dough hook occasionally and adding as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary to form a soft, slightly sticky dough, for 3 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn it to coat it with the olive oil, and let it rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is double in bulk.

Knead in the chopped rosemary, press the dough with lightly oiled hands into a well-oiled 15 and 1/2 by 10 and 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan, and let it rise, covered loosely, for 30 minutes. The dough may be made 8 hours in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Dimple the dough with your fingertips, making 1/4-inch-deep indentations, brush it with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and top it with the onion, the olives, the salt, and the whole rosemary leaves.

Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of a preheated 400 F. oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is golden and cooked through.

Transfer the focaccia to a rack, let it cool for 10 minutes, and serve it, cut into squares, warm or at room temperature.

That's it!


 Recipe: Penne con Gorgonzola e Pomodoro

Penne con Gorgonzola e Pomodoro
Penne with Gorgonzola Cheese and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
One 14 and 1/2-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1 lb Penne pasta
1 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmigiano cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add chopped onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Stir in chopped tomatoes and basil. Cook until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, using spoon, beat butter with Gorgonzola cheese until blended.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Return pasta to pot.

Whisk Gorgonzola cheese mixture into tomato sauce.

Add sauce to pasta and stir to coat.

Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!


 Recipe: Arrosto di Agnello

Arrosto di Agnello
Roast Baby Lamb

Ingredients:

5-lb baby lamb shoulder with bone, cut into 2" cubes
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups beef stock

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients except the beef stock until well blended. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours, tossing occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Transfer the contents of the refrigerated bowl to a roasting pan large enough to accommodate a single layer of vegetables covered by a single layer of meat. Add the stock and roast, basting and turning the lamb frequently, until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside.

Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the pan liquids.

Place the pan over high heat and boil until the liquids reduce to about 1 and 1/4 cups. Transfer the meat to a smaller roasting pan and strain the reduced sauce over it.

Place the meat in the oven and roast, turning meat every 10 minutes, until extremely tender, brown, and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes.

Strain the juices from the pan and, if necessary, reduce further over moderately high heat; there should be 1/2 cup of finished sauce.

Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and spoon the sauce over it. Makes 6 servings.

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:

Sicily's Governor Resigns After Convicted of Aiding and Abetting Mafia

Palermo - January 26, 2008 - Sicily's governor resigned on Saturday, a week after he was convicted of providing information that helped a Mafia boss.

Salvatore Cuffaro, who had initially refused to step down pending the appeals process, told the island's regional assembly that his decision to leave office was "irrevocable."

A court in Palermo sentenced Cuffaro on January 18 to five years in prison after convicting him of "aiding and abetting" by helping a mob boss. Prosecutors said the politician learned from a former police officer in 2001 that the home of a convicted Palermo Mafia boss had been bugged by investigators, and told a doctor who knew the boss about the hidden microphones. The doctor informed the mobster, a revelation that ruined the police investigation, prosecutors said.

The governor has insisted he never did anything to help the Mafia.

Since Italy's judicial system allows for two appeals, Cuffaro had announced that he would stay in office until the end of the appeals process, which could take years.

He was criticized for initially refusing to leave office. Many, including some politicians from allied parties, were angry that he celebrated not being convicted of a more serious accusation: helping the Mafia as an organization. A widely published photo of him offering his aides a tray of cannoli pastries to celebrate fueled the outrage.

The head of Italy's politically influential industrial lobby, Confindustria, lamented Friday that Cuffaro remained in office while Sicilian businessmen were defying the Mafia by increasingly refusing to pay systematic "protection" money (pizzo).

Two years ago, while the trial was underway, Cuffaro was re-elected as governor, defeating the sister of slain anti-Mafia prosecutor, Borsellino.

Cuffaro's brother, Silvio, who is mayor of a small Sicilian town, said the governor was "very serene" after quitting and now would have more time to dedicate to his family, Italian news agencies reported. "Now would really be the time to celebrate with cannoli," Silvio Cuffaro was quoted as saying.

"Arrivederci e Vaffanculo!"

"The governor has insisted he never did anything to help the Mafia." Hmmm... It could be possible he's lying. Instead of his nose growing, his stomach grew. It's like Pinocchio gone haywire.

The Adventures of Toto "Vasa Vasa" Cuffaro

- Toto was blessed with the nickname "Vasa Vasa" [Kiss Kiss] for his disgusting and peculiar tendency to kiss anything that moves. He claims he has kissed a quarter of all the people on the Sicilian island.

- A graduate in medicine and surgery at the University of Palermo, with a specialization in radiology, he joined the "Christian Democrat" (DC) political party as a probable result of overdosing on ultrasounds and MRIs.

- He first crash landed on the news scene in September 1991, when he defiantly defended his political pimp Mannino, accused of being a witness at a Mafia wedding.

- In keeping with Sicilian wedding traditions, in 2000 Cuffaro and the brilliant ex Italian Minister of Justice, Clemente Mastella were involved in a scandal when it was discovered that they had been best men of Francesco Campanella, a former member of the Mafia.

- In June 26, 2003, he was awarded with his first investigation for Mafia-related crimes.

- On October 15, 2007, prosecutors requested eight years' imprisonment for charges of aiding and abetting the Sicilian Mafia.

- On January 18, 2008, he was found guilty and given a five-year sentence. The day after, in a scene that resembled the Sicilian version of the "Twilight Zone", he handed out 'cannoli' pastries as if he was celebrating the sentence that his demented mind considered positive because he was not convicted for "genuine" ties to the Mafia or formally accused of being in cahoots with Cosa Nostra.

- On January 26, 2008, the chuckle-faced hump swallowed his last cannoli, took a deep breath, resigned as governor and rode off into the Sicilian sunset promising all he will return.

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