02/11/09 Eggplant-Polenta Stacks with Tomato Sauce from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Una buona mamma vale cento maestre." (A good mother is worth a hundred teachers..) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Minestrone With Pancetta
  -Eggplant-Polenta Stacks with Tomato Sauce
  -Veal with Prosciutto and Sage

We sincerely hope all our subscribers and their families enjoy their recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Minestrone With Pancetta

Minestrone With Pancetta
Zuppa di Minestrone con Pancetta


2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
7 oz (200 grams) pancetta, cut into thin strips
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 courgette, finely diced
1/4 of a savoy cabbage, finely sliced
One 400 gram can borlotti, cannellini or mixed beans, drained
One 400 gram can chopped tomatoes
1 tbs tomato puree
4 and 1/4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock
6 tbs good quality green pesto
Parmigiano shavings to serve


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, strips of pancetta, crushed garlic, diced carrot and thinly sliced celery.

Cook gently for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are softened but not colored.

Add the diced courgette, sliced cabbage, canned beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chicken stock and bring to simmering point.

Cook for 15 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve in individual bowls and finish by putting a spoonful of green pesto in the center of each one before shaving over some Parmigiano cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Eggplant-Polenta Stacks with Tomato Sauce

Eggplant-Polenta Stacks with Tomato Sauce
Melanzana-Polenta con Pomodoro


One 14 and 1/2-ounce can chopped seeded peeled tomatoes with juices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 large eggplant, cut crosswise into four 1/2-inch-thick slices
Coarse salt

1 large zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Additional extra virgin olive oil

4 large fresh basil leaves
Four 1/4-inch-thick slices mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Puree tomatoes in blender.

Strain into heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium; simmer tomatoes until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Combine 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil.

Gradually whisk in cornmeal.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add Parmigiano cheese and butter and stir until melted.

Mix in cayenne pepper.

Spread polenta in 9-inch-square pan.

Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. (Sauce and polenta can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt.

Let stand 30 minutes. Pat dry.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler.

Brush eggplant and zucchini with olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil until tender, about 2 minutes per side.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Lightly oil large baking sheet.

Using eggplant as template, cut polenta into 4 rounds.

Place rounds on prepared baking sheet.

Top each with eggplant, 2 zucchini slices, basil leaf and mozzarella slice.

Bake eggplant stacks until cheese melts and begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to plates. Rewarm sauce. Spoon around eggplant stacks.

Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Veal with Prosciutto and Sage

Veal with Prosciutto and Sage
Vitello con Prosciutto e Salvia


1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
12 fresh whole sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried, rubbed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef stock or broth
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup whipping cream

Eight 4-ounce boneless veal rib chops
All purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 paper-thin prosciutto slices


Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add chopped shallots, sage, thyme and bay leaf and saute 2 minutes.

Add dry white wine and both stocks and boil until mixture is reduced to a cup, about 20 minutes.

Add whipping cream and boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Pound each veal chop between sheets of waxed paper to 1/2-inch thickness.

Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper.

Dredge veal in flour; shake off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, add veal to skillet and saute until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Wrap 1 prosciutto slice around center of each piece of veal.

Arrange 2 veal pieces on each plate.

Strain sauce, if desired. Bring sauce to simmer.

Pour around veal and serve immediately. Makes 4 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:

Mighty Bang Ignites Vesuvius Scare

Naples - October 8, 2008 - Citizens of Naples rushed to the phones Wednesday after hearing a mighty bang over the city that lies in the shadow of Vesuvius. Switchboards were jammed at the city's eruption hotline until it said the sleeping giant had nothing to do with the noise.

The bang, which was heard across the Naples area and out to sea, was caused by two Italian fighter jets racing to intercept an unidentified intruder. The sonic boom came as the F16s broke the sound barrier to draw level with the plane and check its credentials. As the city drew a huge breath of relief, the now-cleared Austrian plane continued its flight home from an aid mission in Chad.

Naples occasionally goes through scares about its famous volcano.

The last major fright came in August 2007 after US magazine National Geographic claimed that current evacuation plans wouldn't get people out in time if "the world's most dangerous volcano" blew its stack like it did in 79 AD, burying Pompeii.

Entitled Vesuvius, Asleep for Now, the report claimed that evacuation plans were not sufficiently up-to-date. The city's anxiety levels fell after Vesuvius watchers issued a comprehensive denial.

In recent years, Naples officials have repeatedly played down reports that Vesuvius might be set to blow. Top vulcanologist Franco Barberi recently said that even in the worst-case scenario, Naples' evacuation plan would enable the threatened populace to be smoothly evacuated.

Italy has created simulations of all possible kinds of eruptions, Barberi said.

Recent eruption forecasts have varied, saying the dormant volcano could slumber on for decades or centuries. Around a million people currently live and work around Vesuvius and at the current rate of expansion this could swell by a further 200,000 by 2016.

In 2003 authorities in Naples started offering people living on the volcano's slopes hefty cash incentives to move away. So far there have been few takers.

Vesuvius has erupted about three dozen times since it buried the Ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing about 2,000 people. The most serious blast killed some 4,000 people in 1631.

"Porca di quella vacca", my wallet is gone, my scooter is gone, my TV is gone, my watch is gone, my daughter is gone...and so is my wife! Oh, wait...what was that bang? Vesuvius or my head exploding?!

"Holy cazzo", How can you have the nerve to panic and call a city hotline over that sweet little volcano? It's the tamest thing in that city.

Has anyone ever been to Naples? It's not even part of Italy anymore.
It's wild. Every man for himself. It's the "Matrix" with pickpockets and scooters.

Meanwhile, you're living in a city where people say, "Ah, excuse me, bella. I'm going out to get the mail...cover me!

Naples is far more menacing than other large Italian cities; certainly in a league of its own crime-wise and it has a disturbingly third world feel to it with kids riding scooters, shotgun style.

Should we mention the lovely Napolitani? A tenderhearted race of people with women yelling constantly with food in their mouths and men scampering around with their shirts half-buttoned.

"The bang, which was heard across the Naples area and out to sea, was caused by two Italian fighter jets racing to intercept an unidentified intruder." The Napolitanos should have hoped they were flying in to wipe out a few "Camorra" hideouts.

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