02/24/10 Pappardelle with Shredded Beef Brisket

"Cambiano i suonatori ma la musica sempre quella." (The melody's changed but the song remains the same.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
  -Pappardelle with Shredded Beef Brisket
  -Chocolate Salami

Best wishes to you in whatever you want to try today!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Castellane con il Mascarpone e Pomodori Arrosto


2 pints grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 lb Castellane pasta or medium (regular) shells
1 and 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese (from a 1-lb container)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 cup)
1/4 cup minced fresh chives


Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400F.

Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and butter foil.

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in pan and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Roast until slightly plumped, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook pasta in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water , stirring occasionally, until 'al dente', about 12 minutes.

Reserve 1 and 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

Add mascarpone and stir until melted.

Add reserved cooking water, tomatoes, half of Parmigiano cheese, 3 tablespoons chives, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and toss well, then cool to warm.

Butter a 3-quart (13 by 9-inch) gratin or other shallow baking dish.

Toss pasta mixture again, then spoon into gratin dish.

Sprinkle remaining Parmigiano cheese over top.

Bake pasta until golden and bubbly, 18 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon chives. Makes 6 main-course servings

Note: Pasta can be prepared, but not baked, 3 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pappardelle with Shredded Beef Brisket

Pappardelle with Shredded Beef Brisket
Pappardelle con Stracotto


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) lean beef, cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) carrots, coarsely chopped
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Pasta:
1 (2-lb) piece beef brisket
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots
2 medium celery ribs
2 large red onions (1 lb total)
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 (14- to 15-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
8 garlic cloves
1 lb dried pappardelle or fettuccine pasta


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to the boil, bearing in mind that slow cooking and gentle simmering are essential for successful stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the onion, carrots, leeks and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl, leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and discard.

Prepare the Pasta:
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325F.

Pat brisket dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add brisket and brown on both sides, about 12 minutes total.

Cut carrots, celery, and onions into 1-inch pieces, then pulse in 2 batches in a food processor until finely chopped.

Transfer brisket to a platter.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped vegetables to pot, then saute over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, and 7 whole garlic cloves and bring to a boil.

Return brisket with any juices on platter to pot and cover, then transfer to oven.

Braise brisket, turning over once per hour, until tender enough to shred with a fork, about 3 hours.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch chunks, then shred with 2 forks.

Discard bay leaves from sauce and puree sauce in 2 batches in food processor or a blender.

Mince remaining garlic clove.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in cleaned pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute garlic, stirring, 1 minute.

Add meat and saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stir in sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Cook pappardelle in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain, then return to pot and add meat sauce. Makes 6 main-course servings

Note: Meat sauce can be made 2 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat before serving.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami
Salame al Cioccolato


2 oz (50 grams) split blanched almonds
20 petit beurre biscuits
8 oz (225 grams) dark chocolate (70% solids)
6 oz 175g (175 grams) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45 ml) brandy
1 oz (25 grams) ground almonds
1 tablespoon (15 ml) cocoa powder for dusting


Spread the blanched almonds evenly in a grill pan and grill for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until golden.

Put the nuts in a food processor and finely grind.

Transfer to a bowl.

Put the biscuits in the food processor and blend until roughly crushed.

Set aside 1 tablespoon (15 ml) and put the rest in a bowl.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a small saucepan.

Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the chocolate with the brandy and heat gently until melted.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of crushed biscuits, add the nuts and mix well together.

Leave in the fridge for about 2 hours until the mixture is solid.

Sprinkle the reserved biscuit crumbs onto a piece of baking parchment and turn the chocolate mixture onto it.

With a palette knife and your hands, shape into a sausage about 9 inch (23 cm) long and roll in the biscuit crumbs.

Wrap in the baking parchment and leave in the fridge for about 3 hours until the mixture is solid.

Unwrap, slice into rounds to serve and dust with cocoa powder. Serves 6-8.

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:

Italian Aristocrat Cousins Fight Over Non Existent Throne

Rome - February 16, 2010 - The family of Italy's last king are locked in a bitter court feud over who has the right to lay claim to the country's defunct throne more than 60 years after the monarchy was abolished.

The battle pitches Prince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Umberto II, against his third cousin, Duke Amadeo of Aosta, both of whom are descended from the 19th century king of Italy, Umberto I.

The dispute has reached court after four years of public bickering which divided the country's small but ardent band of monarchists.

It began when the duke declared he, rather than his cousin, was the real head of the House of Savoy, the name of the Italian royals until the monarchy was abolished by referendum at the end of the Second World War.

The duke, 66, argued that his cousin was no longer eligible to call himself Prince of Savoy because he had failed to secure the legally-required permission of his father, king-in-exile Umberto II, to marry a Swiss biscuit manufacturer heiress and champion water skier, Marina Doria, in 1971.

The duke also argued that the prince forfeited his right to the dynastic title because in order to be allowed to return to Italy from exile in 2002, Victor Emmanuel had to formally recognize the Italian republic as the country's legitimate government.

The feud even erupted into violence when Victor Emmanuel was accused of punching the duke twice in the face following a dinner held by King Juan Carlos I of Spain in honor of the wedding of his son.

But now a court in Tuscany has finally ruled the 73-year-old prince is the true heir to the dynasty, which has its roots in the north-east of Italy and ruled the whole country after it was unified in 1861.

It ruled the Savoy royal title can now only be used by Prince Victor Emmanuel and his son, Prince Emmanuel Filiberto, who is best known to Italians as the recent winner of a reality television show, Dancing with the Stars.

It also ordered the Duke of Aosta to pay his cousin 49,000 Euros in compensation as well as the costs of the trial.

The court pointed out that the "dynastic squabbles underlying this affair" had no legal relevance to the modern Italian state because the monarchy had been abolished more than 60 years ago.

It also highlighted the fact the prince was descended from the last king of Italy while the duke came from only a "junior branch" of the royal family.

The court ruled that the duke's use of the Savoy name had been "unmerited" and ordered him to bring his "harmful conduct" to an immediate end.

Prince Emmanuel, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals including an incident in which he fatally shot a German tourist who climbed aboard his yacht off Corsica in 1978 and, more recently, charges of recruiting prostitutes for clients at a Swiss casino, praised the court's decision.

"The judge understood the vile and harmful action that Duke Amadeo had construed against me, my son and the Royal House of Savoy, an action which has been rightly punished," he said.

But a furious Duke Amadeo vowed to fight on. "I respect the judgment but naturally I don't agree with it and I'm going to appeal," he said.

It was not just the claim to a long defunct royal line that was at stake. The Savoy name also confers the control of various charitable institutions and entitles the holder to call himself prince of Venice and Piedmont - although the positions are purely titular.

"Porca di quella vacca", isn't it entertaining to see two people with nothing fight over nothing?

Here are some more fun filled facts about the Prince of Pepperoni:

- Vittorio Emanuele and his family hold no official titles, nor do they have royal or governmental duties because Italy is now and has been a republic since 1946. (In other words, he has plenty of free time on his hands. Therefore, he should put on a cowboy hat, get on a jackass and ride out of town. He should go play "bocce" in Naples somewhere seeing that he is also known as the Prince of Naples.)

- His full birth name is Vittorio Emanuele Alberto Carlo Teodoro Umberto Bonifacio Amedeo Damiano Bernardino Gennaro Maria di Savoia. (Each and every one of those people can kiss my ass.)

- Vittorio Emanuele has worked as a banker and an aircraft salesman, and then an arms dealer. (He would have made a bad mailman.)

- He is also a claimant to the title of King of Jerusalem. (Move over King David and make way for the new King of the Jews.)

- Vittorio Emanuele unilaterally declared himself King of Italy on 15 December 1969. (Hard to believe he was able to do so that morning without the need of getting out of bed.)

- In 1978 he was tried in France on a murder charge, of which he was cleared of unlawful killing but convicted of a firearms offence. Vittorio Emanuele discovered his yacht's rubber dinghy had been taken and attached to another nearby yacht. Arming himself with a rifle, he attempted to board the yacht. He shot at a passenger he had awakened; the shot missed the passenger but mortally wounded and killed a passenger sleeping on the deck of another adjacent yacht. (How do you get through to someone who is limited in his capacity? The dinghy had more brains.)

- Vittorio Emanuele also said in recent years that the anti-Semitic laws passed under Mussolini's regime were "not that terrible". ("Cazzo", there goes the King of Jerusalem title.)

- In May 2004, following a dinner held by King Juan Carlos I of Spain on the eve of the wedding of his son Felipe, Vittorio Emanuele punched his cousin Amadeo of Savoy twice in the face. (Hmmm...First punch for giving a more expensive wedding present? The second for the wives wearing matching evening gowns?)

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