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 01/31/06 Clams Oreganata from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Clams Oreganata
  -Insalata Caprese
  -Trippa alla Romana

Try the popular and classical "Clams Oreganata" dish. It's quite simple and very tasty. Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Clams Oreganata

Clams Oreganata

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 canned whole plum tomatoes, drained, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
3 lb very small (1-inch) hard-shelled clams such as Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed well
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

Directions:

Cook garlic in oil in a deep 4 to 6 quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

Add clams, stirring well to coat, then cover pot tightly and increase heat to moderately high. Cook, stirring once, until clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. (Discard any clams that have not opened after 7 minutes.)

While clams are cooking, toss together bread crumbs, zest, and remaining tablespoon oregano. Divide clams and pan juices among 8 shallow bowls, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Note: Larger hard-shelled clams such as littlenecks (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter) can be used, but cooking time will increase to 8 to 10 minutes.

That's it!


 Recipe: Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are important.

Ingredients:

2 lbs vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled, if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.

That's it!


 Recipe: Trippa alla Romana

Trippa alla Romana
Tripe alla Romana

Ingredients:

3 lb raw beef honeycomb tripe (not partially cooked)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 (32-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, with juice reserved
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garnish: Pecorino Romano cheese and chopped mint

Directions:

Trim any fat from tripe, then rinse tripe under cold water. Soak tripe in a large bowl of fresh cold water 1 hour, then rinse again.

Put tripe in an 8-quart pot of cold water and bring to a boil, then drain and rinse. Bring tripe to a boil again in pot filled with fresh cold water, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, turning tripe occasionally and adding more hot water to pot if necessary to keep tripe covered, until very tender, about 4 hours (tripe will have a strong aroma while simmering). Drain in a colander and cool completely.

While tripe is cooking, heat olive oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and wine and boil, stirring, 1 minute. Pour juice from tomatoes into sauce, then chop tomatoes and add to sauce with the 2 cups cold water and mint. Simmer sauce, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Trim any remaining fat from tripe and cut tripe into 2- by 1/2-inch strips. Add to sauce and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tripe is a little bit more tender but still slightly chewy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve tripe sprinkled with finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese and additional chopped fresh mint. Serves 4 main-course servings.

Notes: Tripe in sauce can be cooked 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat before serving. Tripe is excellent served over pasta.

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:

Outcry as Italy Starts to Sell Off its Heritage.

The Guardian UK - Peter Popham - May 1 - Italy's great asset-strip has begun. Desperate for revenue, Silvio Berlusconi's government has already made billions of euros out of amnesties to illegal builders and tax evaders. Now it plans to sell off the family silver, starting today.

The Italian state, says the Minister of Culture, Giuliano Urbani, owns far too much: thousands and thousands of buildings and plots of land, some of immense value, such as the Colosseum or Trevi Fountain, others of no real value. Many were properties bought as part of the practice of lottizzazione, by which the state forked out taxpayers' money to its friends and favorites for their often semi-useless buildings.

"First in the Fascist period and then in the [post-war] republic ... the public sphere became greatly over-extended," the minister said. "We are not talking about selling the Colosseum, but for the first time we will establish what can be sold and what cannot."

What makes the sale possible is an elaborate regulatory code for cultural assets that comes into force today, laying down in detail how Italy's patrimony must be treated. Now state-owned buildings and land deemed of no real value can be listed for sale. If the cultural curators responsible for them do not object within 120 days, they can be sold.

Mr Urbani said: "We have a demesne which is the product of a form of socialism that functioned like royalty. We don't have the money to conserve the works of art: we possess crumbling barracks, tumbledown historical palaces, uncultivated land, property of no interest. All this must go."

As a result, some extraordinary properties are going to come on the market. It may not be immediately obvious what one can do with a well- preserved 2,000-year-old nymphaeum (shrine of the nymphs) in central Rome or the Auditorium of Mecenate, which was once the property of the Emperor Tiberius. But these, along with a former convent and an ex-monastery, various disused barracks and some thundering 19th-century public buildings, are among the first 21 assets to be put on the list.

Heritage and environmental organizations have pounced angrily on the ministry's initiative. A group of professors and curators published an open letter, warning of "the grave danger to which our cultural patrimony is exposed".

Few believe that invaluable masterpieces such as Bernini's Trevi Fountain - famously "sold" to a tourist by the comic actor Toto - will ever end up on the block. But criticism has been focused on the "silent assent" mechanism.

Dr Marco Magnifico, director general of Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano, a conservation society, said: "The great problem with the code is that it does not take into account the desperate situation of the Italian curators, for whom it supposes an enormous role which it will be impossible for them to fulfill." The offices of the curators, according to Dr Magnifico, are chronically short both of money and qualified staff - the people on whose informed decisions the success of the initiative depends.

"It's like inviting 1,000 people to lunch but there are only 20 people in the kitchen. The table settings may look fantastic but there's no one in the kitchen so there will be nothing to eat."

The eminent art historian and curator Arturo Carlo Quintavalle fears the new code will bring about the destruction of a century of conservation work. "Four generations of curators have given their lives protecting objects and environments," he commented. "Now we are to assist in the dissolution of that whole cultural system."

"Gesu Cristo!" See what Italy is being reduced to? These Italian politicians remind us of Nero who played the fiddle while Rome burned.

With corruption that has run rampant over many years, the Italian government has no choice but to sell off its property to recuperate money that has been stolen or badly managed.

Imagine Bill Gates purchasing the "Piazza di Spagna". I wonder if he would put his stupid logo on the steps?

Or how about a Polish company buying the leaning tower of Pisa? It would be fun to watch them trying to straighten it out, wouldn't it?

Let's just hope Italian legislature, senators, and their assistants will stop humping each other long enough to listen to the sane and intelligent advice of art historians who are against these acts of stupidity.

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