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 01/15/14 Orecchiette with Broccoli and Pancetta

"O mangi questa minestra o salti dalla finestra." (Eat this soup or jump out the window. It describes a situation where there are no alternatives.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Braised Artichokes with Pecorino Cheese
  -Scallion and Asparagus Salad
  -Orecchiette with Broccoli and Pancetta

"Buongiorno!" Hope you enjoy these succulent Italian dishes. We have more great recipes on the way. And remember, life is a bit sweeter when you're laughing at home with the right company.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Braised Artichokes with Pecorino Cheese

Braised Artichokes with Pecorino Cheese
Carciofi al Tegame Con Pecorino

Ingredients:

2 pounds small artichokes
1 lemon for acidulated water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 cup shredded Pecorino cheese (6 to 8 months old)

Directions:

Trim the artichokes, slice very thinly, and soak the slices in acidulated water.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy skillet.

Set it over medium heat.

Scatter the garlic and onion in the pan.

Cook for 4-5 minutes or so, stirring and tossing occasionally.

Season with the salt and peperoncino.

When the vegetables are sizzling and wilting, lift the artichoke slices from the acidulated water, drain briefly, and drop them into the skillet.

Stir well, cover the pan tightly, and let everything cook slowly, giving the pan a shake now and then.

After 10 minutes, the artichoke slices should be softening. If they're hard and the pan is dry, add a couple spoonfuls of acidulated water and continue cooking, covered.

Braise for 15 to 20 minutes total, until the artichokes are tender and lightly colored.

Cook uncovered for more caramelization if you like.

Turn off the heat, and spread the artichokes out in the skillet bottom.

Scatter the shredded cheese evenly on top, and cover the pan.

Let it melt into the vegetables for several minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Scallion and Asparagus Salad

Scallion and Asparagus Salad
Insalata di Scalogno e Asparagi

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
3/4 pound scallions
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
3 and 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or more if needed
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare the Vegetables:
With a vegetable peeler, shave off the skin from the bottom 3 inches or so of each asparagus stalk, so they cook evenly.

Snap off the hard stubs at the bottom of the asparagus stalks.

Trim the root end of each scallion and the wilted ends of the green leaves.

Peel off the loose layers at the white end too, so the scallions are all tight, trim, and about 6 inches long.

In a wide deep skillet, bring 1 quart of water to a boil.

Add the asparagus and scallions.

Adjust the heat to maintain a bubbling boil.

Poach the asparagus and scallions, uncovered, for about 5-6 minutes or more, until they are tender but not falling apart, and cooked through.

As soon as they are done, lift out the vegetables with tongs and lay them in a colander (any fat asparagus spears may take a little longer, so leave them in a few minutes more).

Hold the colander under cold running water to stop the cooking.

Drain briefly, then spread on kitchen towels, pat dry, and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt over them.

Prepare the Salad:
Slice the asparagus and the scallions into 1-inch lengths.

Pile them loosely in a mixing bowl.

Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over them.

Sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Toss well, but don't break up the vegetables.

Quarter the eggs into wedges.

Slice each wedge into two or three pieces.

Salt lightly and scatter the eggs into the bowl.

Fold in with the vegetables.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Chill the salad briefly, then arrange it on a serving platter or on salad plates. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Orecchiette with Broccoli and Pancetta

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Pancetta
Orecchiette con Broccoli e Pancetta

Ingredients:

5 scallions, thinly sliced
10 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained, and patted dry
3/4 pounds Orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Heat butter and olive oil with garlic in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle.

Add nuts and cook, stirring, until golden pale.

Discard garlic and stir in pancetta and scallions.

Cook 1-2 minutes.

Stir in broccoli and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, 4-5 minutes.

Cook Orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water.

Drain pasta and stir into broccoli mixture.

Add some of the reserved water to moisten if needed. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & 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:

Leave the Gun...and Even the Cannoli

Venice - October 1, 2013 - A proud Italian who was so irritated with what he saw displayed in a window shop in Venice decided to take a photo and send it to the Palermo edition of Italy's largest-circulation daily newspaper; a fake Sicilian cannoli advertised as the real thing.

"It represents a damage to the entire Sicilian pastry tradition and an insult to tourists who think they are tasting one of the best products of that tradition," he wrote to the paper.

The cannoli on display in the Venice store are made with puff pastry and filled with whipped cream. A real Sicilian cannolo is made with crispy dough and filled with sweet and creamy ricotta cheese.

Cannoli are so important in the culinary tradition that they have been included in the list of "Italian traditional food products" by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies of the Italian Government.

"Disgraziati", no shame. If you're expecting a rant against those Venetians, forget it. Not in today's issue. (Give us a chance to finish dusting the office.)

"Si", we realize it's insulting to us Sicilians, but if you suggest to a Venetian that he/she shouldn't burn their bridges the typical arrogant response you'll get is, "Oh, minchia, that's ok! I have a boat right outside. Next topic!"

Those Venetians are who they are. But, "mamma mia", our Italian compatriots who emigrated to the United States are another story.

The cannoli versions with which Americans are most familiar tend to involve variations on the original concept of the Sicilian dessert. This is definitely due to the adaptations made by bored Italians who emigrated to the USA in the early 1900s...and jokingly claimed the limited availability of important ingredients.

Cannoli (warning: can only be found on the black market):
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
Cheesecloth
and crispy tube-shaped shells

"Oh, no, no, noooo...it's not the same. Per favore, please, don't insist. It's not the same."
The bull crap sounds familiar, doesn't it?
And what's insulting is they'll say it with a straight face.

Pete (American baker): "How about a custard of sugar, milk, and cornstarch?"
Gaetano (emigrant comic): "Hmmm...si. It could work. Try the corn."
Pete: "Still doesn't taste right. We can flavor it with vanilla or orange flower water."
Gaetano: "Ah, ah, ok. Water with the flower."
Pete: "By the way, my wife had a great uncle from Salerno who came over on the boat after the war."
Gaetano: "If she says so..."

Note: If we may defend Italians for a quick moment. Italians don't lie. They just say things that, one generation later, turn out to be untrue.

"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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 Baked Polenta with Garlic
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 Couscous with Vegetables
 Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
 Marbled Ring Cake
 Orecchiette with Red-Wine Veal Sauce
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