02/22/12 Pappardelle with Mushroom Sauce

"Chi ha tegoli di vetro, non tiri sassi al vicino." (People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Barley, Potatoes and String Bean Soup
  -Pappardelle with Mushroom Sauce

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Barley, Potatoes and String Bean Soup

Barley, Potatoes and String Bean Soup
Zuppa di Orzo, Patate e Fagiolini


2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely minced yellow onion
1/2 cup finely minced carrot
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 thick slice (1/4 pound) pancetta, finely minced or chopped
1 cup (about 1/2 pound) husked, polished pearl barley, washed in several changes of cold water
2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 and 1/2 quarts prepared meat broth or canned beef broth
1/4 pound string beans, ends removed, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add onion, carrot and parsley and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add pancetta and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until it is light golden.

Add barley and potatoes, stir 1 to 2 minutes, then add broth.

Season with salt.

As soon as broth comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and partially cover pot.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Add beans and cook until beans, barley and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Taste, adjust seasoning and turn heat off under pot.

Let soup rest about 10 minutes or so before serving with Parmigiano cheese. Serves 10.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pappardelle with Mushroom Sauce

Pappardelle with Mushroom Sauce
Pappardelle con i Funghi


1 and 1/2 pounds small white mushrooms
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh Pappardelle pasta


Wash and dry mushrooms thoroughly and slice thin.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.

Add garlic and sauté over medium heat about 1 minute.

When garlic begins to color, add sliced mushrooms.

Sauté mushrooms over high heat until lightly colored.

Add wine.

Cook until wine is reduced by half, stirring constantly.

Add parsley and cook 1 minute longer.

Season with salt and pepper.

Fill a very large saucepan two-thirds full with salted water.

Bring water to a boil.

Add pasta.

Bring water back to a boil and cook pasta uncovered until 'al dente'.

Drain pasta and place in skillet with sauce; add butter.

Toss pasta, sauce and butter over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, 20 to 30 seconds.

Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cannoli



2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar plus additional for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp candied orange peel, finely chopped, or 2 tbsp grated fresh orange peel
4 tbsp mini chocolate chips
12 small cannoli shells (about 2 to 3 inches long)
1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped


Place ricotta in a colander in the sink and let it drain for 30 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta and powdered sugar.

Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Stir in vanilla, orange peel, and chocolate chips.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Using a pastry bag or a small spoon or knife, fill a cannoli shell with ricotta mixture. Start by filling from one end of the shell and then finish from the other end, being careful not to break shell.

Repeat with remaining shells and filling.

Sprinkle ends of cannoli with pistachios, and using a small sifter, sprinkle powdered sugar over each cannoli. Serve immediately.

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:

Red Light Camera Scandal Goes to Trial In Italy

Rome - September 28, 2010 - Italy's financial police force, Guardia di Finanza, announced that ten individuals would go to trial and another 300 public officials, police officers and corporate employees face indictment for fraud, forgery and public corruption involving the use of red light camera and speed camera equipment.

Salerno prosecutor Amato Barile kicked off the investigation known as "Operation Devius" in June 2009 with a series of dramatic raids in 120 cities that used the services of the private firm 'Garda Segnale' between 2007 and 2009.

The raids uncovered evidence that 'Velomatic 512' and 'Traffiphot III SR' photo radar units bearing the same individual serial number were being used by different municipalities located hundreds of miles apart. Under Italian regulations, each camera used for issuing citations must be properly calibrated and approved. The "cloned" serial numbers helped the firm avoid the cost of testing individual units, along with helping hide the fact that several of its camera units were configured in such a way as to read speeds between 10 and 30 km/h (6 to 19 MPH) faster, generating additional citations.

Prosecutors also believe that some of these the cameras were used in locations not authorized by ordinance, and their operators were not properly trained. Municipalities ignored ministerial directives by entering into per-ticket compensation schemes for the cameras.

Police gathered fifty speed cameras as evidence as well as computers, software, banking records and other documents used to establish a chain of illegal business practices. A total of 100,000 tickets worth 13 million euros ($18 million USD) were issued by the programs under investigation.

The Salerno prosecutor alleges that the mastermind behind the operation set up a chain of interconnected companies to compete for the photo enforcement contracts with Italy municipalities. Although it would appear that five or six companies were involved in a bidding war for the municipal business, each one was part of the same organization.

"Mi scusi Giudice", a 140 Euro fine for speeding with a 1977 FIAT tractor? I'll trade you a goat for the sum of the fine."

It's no surprise local authorities around the world generate a significant percentage of their revenue from fines collected for infractions of various non-penal laws, especially driving regulations. This happens nowhere more than our lovely country where many people and companies pay less income, sales and other taxes than they should...so local towns and governments are forced to find other sources of revenue.

Mayor Minchione: "Buon giorno, I'm interested in purchasing ten 'Velomatic 512' cameras for my one horse town. With a name like 'Velomatic', does your company also produce vacuum cleaners?"

Let's look at a typical city: According to figures recently released by Florence city officials, every 40 seconds, a motorist in Florence receives a damn traffic violation. The traffic police "bastardi" issue approximately 90 tickets every minute, 1,253 tickets a day. Again, "bastardi!"

The fines on these tickets average out to about 140 Euros ($193 USD) per year, per motorist. They haul in about 52 million Euros ($72 million USD) to city hall each year, making it one of Italy's most heavily fined cities. Local officials note that the amount of money that enters the municipal budget through traffic fines has tripled in the last 10 years.

Mind you, these municipalities go through that budget money like our fat cousin, Massimo, goes through a bowl of 'Penne with sardines'.

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