02/20/13 Polenta with Mascarpone and Parmigiano

"A nemico che fugge, ponti d'oro." (Build a golden bridge for the fleeing enemy.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Potato and Swiss Chard Salad
  -Polenta with Mascarpone and Parmigiano
  -Hazelnut Biscotti

"Buon weekend!" Thanks for everything you're doing and we will continue to find more Italian recipes for your kitchen. Please share this newsletter, if you found it useful.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Potato and Swiss Chard Salad

Potato and Swiss Chard Salad
Insalata di Patate e Bietole


4 large yellow potatoes
1 small bunch of Swiss chard
1/2 cup white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
3/8 cup white wine vinegar
3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


Wash and cut the skinned potatoes into 2 to 3-inch chunks.

Add them to a large pot of boiling, salted water (enough to cover the potatoes) and cook until tender, but still firm.

Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.

Wash and tear the Swiss chard (including stem) into large pieces.

Blanche the Swiss chard for about 3-4 minutes.


In a large bowl, combine the onion, potatoes and Swiss chard.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the garlic, vinegar and olive oil, and red pepper flakes.

Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and gently toss.

Add salt to taste.

Refrigerate until chilled, and serve.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta with Mascarpone and Parmigiano

Polenta with Mascarpone and Parmigiano
Polenta con Mascarpone e Parmigiano


1 (16 to 18-ounce) ready-made plain polenta roll
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 and 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3/4 cup)
Extra virgin olive oil for greasing dish


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450F.

Oil a 13 by 9-inch or other 2 to 3-quart shallow baking dish.

Pat polenta roll dry, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices and arrange in baking dish, overlapping slices slightly to cover bottom completely.

Stir mascarpone in a small bowl to loosen, then spread over polenta, holding slices down with your hand.

Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese evenly over top.

Bake until bubbling and golden, 15 to 18 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes to firm up, then season with pepper. Makes 6 (side dish) or 4 (main dish) servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Hazelnut Biscotti

Hazelnut Biscotti
Biscotti alla Nocciola


1 and 1/2 cups hazelnuts (7 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups self-rising cake flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until lightly colored and skins are blistered, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute.

Rub off any loose skins in towel while nuts are still warm.

Cool nuts completely, then very coarsely chop.

Pulse together sugar and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground.

Transfer to bowl of mixer along with flour and beat at medium speed until combined well.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat just until a dough forms.

Reduce speed to low, then add remaining chopped hazelnuts and mix until incorporated.

Turn off mixer and knead in any loose hazelnuts with your hands.

Halve dough and, with dampened hands, form each half into a roughly 10 by 2 by 1-inch log on lined baking sheet, arranging logs 3 inches apart.

Bake until golden and set but still soft to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.

Transfer logs to a cutting board, discarding parchment, and cut logs with a serrated knife on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on unlined baking sheet.

Bake slices, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Cool biscotti completely on sheet on rack, about 30 minutes. Makes about 32 cookies.

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:

Gas Prices At the Italian Pump Up 20%, 3rd Most Expensive On the Planet

Rome - May 14, 2012 - Gasoline is over 20% more expensive in Italy than it was a year ago, ISTAT said on Monday when releasing figures that look set to feed public anger about fuel prices.

The national statistics agency said gas prices were 20.9% higher in April with respect to the same month in 2011, the biggest year-on-year increase since May 1983.

Consumer groups have accused oil companies and distributors of unfairly jacking up prices over the last year, with prices approaching two euros ($2.50 USD) a liter.

Several companies cut their prices by up to two euro cents last week after the government made a "firm" call for them to bring their prices into line with the European average.

1) Norway $9.69 a gallon
2) Denmark $9.37
3) Italy $9.35

We thank everyone for the congratulations. So close to grabbing that silver medal. Give us a couple of days...

Face it, driving in Italy is not for the intimidated, it’s often delirious and vivacious with vehicles squeezed onto streets designed as alleys for livestock. You need to be on alert at all times, have a thick skin and keep a close eye on the gas gauge.

Here are our essential Italy driving tips for saving gas:

1) Gas attendants in most southern regions: Get out of your car, do not smile nor greet the attendant, clearly state your request in 3 words in an unfriendly manner (ex. "25 euro verde" OR "25 euro diesel"). Make sure the pump is reading zero before the attendant begins to fill your tank or the "figlio di una battona" may make you pay double.

2) We all tailgate because it reduces aerodynamic drag...and because we're irresponsible jackasses behind the wheel. So, get used to it and don't take it personally. By the way, we also never use our rear view mirrors, so you should do the same. Pay attention to who you're tailgating in front of you and leave your rear to the others.

3) As soon as the light turns green we WILL honk at you. So, move it! We can't waste gas sitting idle at a light while you're busy gazing at the scenery.

4) You're not going to find parking in our cities. Period! Don't waste gas by circling the streets looking for a spot. Most of our sidewalks serve as parking spaces so make sure you master the art of parallel sidewalk parking.

5) Naples is an irrational world in itself. (I think we've mentioned this before.) The godforsaken drivers are barbaric and more aggressive than anywhere else on the continent. Before entering the complex city maze, make sure you have a full tank of gas and that you've watched the entire 'Mad Max' film series twice.

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