02/05/14 Baked Cannelloni

"Ingoiare il rospo / Sputare il rospo." (Swallowing the toad: Accept something even if you don't want to. Spitting the toad: Confess.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice
  -Baked Cannelloni
  -Chicken Involtini

"Salve!" Thank you for checking out your new Italian recipes. I look forward to connecting further in the coming days with some more dishes.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice
Pomodori Ripieni di Riso


8 firm, ripe medium tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian risotto rice
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Position oven rack in top third of oven.

Preheat oven to 400?F.

Pull stems off tomato tops.

Trim about 3/4 inches from bottom of each one and set ends aside.

Working over a medium bowl, use a small spoon to carefully scoop out inner pulp without puncturing the walls of the tomatoes.

Arrange scooped-out tomatoes in a medium baking dish, and set aside.

Pass tomato pulp through a food mill or pulse in the bowl of a food processor to a chunky puree.

Transfer back into bowl.

Add rice, parsley, basil, garlic, and olive oil.

Liberally season with salt and pepper.

Mix well.

Spoon filling into prepared tomatoes.

Place a reserved tomato end on top of each stuffed tomato.

Drizzle a little olive oil over tomatoes, and bake until rice is swollen and tender and tomatoes are soft and well browned, about 45-50 minutes.

Remove from oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Serves 4-8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Baked Cannelloni

Baked Cannelloni
Cannelloni al Forno


For the Tomato Sauce:
One 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
4 tbsp butter
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Filling:
6 oz boneless, skinless chicken thigh, chopped
6 oz ground veal
6 oz ground pork
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 chicken liver, chopped (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

For The Balsamella:
12 sheets fresh pasta, 4" x 5" each
4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup flour
2 cups hot milk
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
Freshly ground white pepper


Prepare the Tomato Sauce:
Put tomatoes, onions, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard onions.

Prepare the Filling:
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken livers (optional) and mash to a paste with the back of the spoon.

Add chicken, veal, pork, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook, stirring often, until meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer meat to a cutting board and chop until texture is very fine and meat begins to hold together.

Transfer meat to a medium bowl.

Stir in nutmeg, and set aside.

For the Balsamella:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add flour and whisk for 1 and 1/2 minutes.

Gradually add milk, whisking constantly.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir constantly until sauce is as thick as heavy cream, about 15 minutes.

Add cheese.

Add 1/2 cup of the sauce to the meat filling and set remaining sauce aside.

Preheat oven to 375?F.

Add a generous pinch of salt to a large pot of boiling water over high heat.

Cook pasta several sheets at a time until tender, about 30 seconds.

Dip briefly in a large bowl of cold water.

Lay sheets out, not touching, on clean, damp kitchen towels and cover with another damp towel.

Working with one sheet of pasta at a time, spread 2-3 tbsp meat filling along wide edge.

Roll up, jelly-roll style.

Repeat with remaining pasta and filling.

Spread a thin layer, about 1 cup, tomato sauce over bottom of a large baking dish.

Lay cannelloni, seam side down, in a single layer on top of tomato sauce.

Spread another thin layer of tomato sauce over cannelloni.

Spoon remaining balsamella over tomato sauce.

Sprinkle with cheese, and dot with butter.

Bake until sauce is bubbling, 15-20 minutes.

Brown under broiler for 3-4 minutes. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken Involtini

Chicken Involtini
Pollo Involtini


Four 6-8 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch thickness
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges


Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Brush with olive oil.

Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on prepared sheet and brush all over with olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle chicken with mozzarella, oregano, garlic, and lemon zest, dividing evenly and keeping filling away from edges.

Beginning at the narrower end of 1 chicken breast, roll up, enclosing filling as you would a jelly roll.

Tie with kitchen twine at 1" intervals to secure.

Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Preheat oven to 450?F.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken involtini and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer chicken involtini to a small roasting pan and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of rolls registers 160?F, 5-7 minutes.

Add wine, broth, and lemon juice to skillet.

Bring to a boil and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.

Cut strings from roulades and place on plates.

Spoon pan juices over.

Serve lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over. Serves 4.

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:

Pope Very Disappointed: "Why Are Nuns Without Joy? SMILE!"

Assisi - October 4, 2013 - During a visit to a cloistered convent in the central Italian city of Assisi, Pope Francis berated nuns whose fixed smiles betray "a lack of joy that comes from within".

"I am so disappointed when I meet nuns who are joyless, who may smile with the smile of a flight attendant but not with the smile of joy that comes from within", the pontiff told nuns at the Santa Chiara cloistered convent.

Living in an enclosed order must not be "purgatory", Francis told the nuns.

"Nuns must not be too spiritual, and must endeavor to be experts in humanity in order that convent life is not purgatory," he said.

He urged the nuns to embrace communal living and to live together like members of a happy, loving family.

"Know how to forgive, how to tolerate each other because the devil takes every opportunity to divide us. Nurture friendships with each other and family life. And don't brag!" he told the nuns.

He was accompanied to Assisi by eight cardinals, with whom he has spent the past three days discussing a radical program of reform for the scandal-tainted Vatican government beginning with the drafting of a new constitution.

Francis He wants to see an overhaul of the Church, bringing it closer to ordinary people.

AH, SEE? Here come the flashbacks again from those Catholic School years...along with the cold sweat, anger and the question that crossed our minds over and over, "Porca Eva, now what did I do?"

Pope: "I am so disappointed when I meet nuns who are joyless..." Eh, joyless?! That's puzzling to us because back in the good ol' days these delightful ladies seemed to be bursting with joy when it came down to giving violent recommendations:

"And what will YOU be giving up for Lent?"
AH, the trick questions that brought sure and quick violence. Didn't you miss them?
What habit or vice did they expect 8-year-olds to give up?
"Porca vacca", those representatives of Christ all knew the standard answer was always TV and candy!
And they all knew we spent every Easter vacation watching cartoons and eating chocolate bunnies!

Pope: "...who may smile with the smile of a flight attendant but not with the smile of joy that comes from within." "Cacchio", this is a given. We would have been more than happy to have gone to First Communion and Confirmation classes with flight attendants. The phony smiles, juice, extra pillow, blanket...and our choice of chicken or beef on "no-meat Fridays" during Lent could have only helped strengthen our faith.

Pope: "Nuns must not be too spiritual, and must endeavor to be experts in humanity..." Does he mean like the ones that ditched the habits, dressed "normally" and went undercover at the playgrounds and malls?
The sisters passing as ordinary folk...forcing the children to go back on red alert?

Pope: "...live together like members of a happy, loving family." No, there was no happiness and love in class...especially for the boys. Look, nobody in class was safe but we'll never understand why the ratio of physical rage against boys vs that of girls was about five to one. Thanks for the holy discrimination. "Grazie." Much appreciated.

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