03/09/11 Pasta and ChickPea Soup with Clams

"Scopa nuova scopa bene." (A new broom sweeps clean.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Roasted Balsamic Radicchio
  -Pasta and ChickPea Soup with Clams
  -Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Green Pea Sauce

"Buona sera!" Everyone on the farm is looking forward to the approaching spring season and getting ready to work the land. Lots of stuff to do. Hope your spring plans are coming along fine too! Enjoy this week's recipes in good health and happiness.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Roasted Balsamic Radicchio

Roasted Balsamic Radicchio
Radicchio Arrosto al Balsamico


2 large heads of radicchio (about 1 pound total), halved through core end, each half cut into 3 wedges with some core still attached
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)


Preheat oven to 450F.

Rinse radicchio wedges in cold water; gently shake off excess water (do not dry completely).

Place radicchio in large bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.

Arrange radicchio wedges, 1 cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet.

Roast until wilted, about 12 minutes.

Turn over and roast until tender, about 8 minutes longer.

Arrange radicchio on platter, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pasta and Chick Pea Soup with Clams

Pasta and Chick Pea Soup with Clams
Pasta e Ceci con Le Vongole


1 cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas; about 7 ounces)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1 6-inch-long fresh rosemary sprig
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 and 3/4 pounds small clams (such as Manila)
1 cup ditalini or other short hollow pasta (about 5 ounces)


Place garbanzo beans in medium bowl.

Pour enough cold water over to cover; let soak at room temperature overnight.


Place garbanzo beans in large saucepan; add enough fresh water to cover.

Boil 15 minutes.


Return garbanzo beans to pan; add 4 cups water, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, rosemary sprig, and crushed red pepper.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beans are tender, adding more water as needed by 1/2 cupfuls, about 2 hours.

Discard rosemary sprig.

Transfer 1 cup garbanzo bean mixture to processor and puree until smooth; return to mixture in saucepan.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add remaining garlic clove; saute until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add clams and 1/4 cup water; cover and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes (discard garlic and any clams that do not open).

Cool clams slightly; reserve pan juices.

Working over bowl to catch juices, remove clams from shells; discard shells.

Strain pan juices and clam juice from bowl into garbanzo bean mixture, then add 3 and 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.

Add pasta and cook until pasta is 'al dente', adding more water if soup is too thick and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Stir in clams.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Green Pea Sauce

Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Green Pea Sauce
Ravioli di Asparagi e Ricotta con Salsa di Piselli


1 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 lb slender asparagus
3/4 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese (6 ounces)
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
1 large egg

Fresh Egg Pasta

Extra-virgin olive oil


Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in small saucepan.

Cook uncovered until peas are just tender, about 3 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Transfer mixture to blender; puree until smooth (sauce will be thin).

Season with salt and pepper.

Cut top 3 inches off asparagus; cut into 1/2-inch lengths.

Cook in saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes.

Drain; place in bowl of ice water.

Drain; pat dry.

Mix cheese and mint in medium bowl.

Stir in asparagus.

Season with salt and pepper; mix in egg.

Follow directions for making and rolling Fresh Egg Pasta dough into sheets.

Starting 1 inch from 1 short side of 1 pasta sheet, drop ricotta filling by rounded teaspoonfuls down center of sheet, spacing mounds 2 inches apart.

Brush pasta edges and between mounds of filling lightly with water.

Cover with second pasta sheet, pressing down around filling to eliminate air pockets and to seal.

Using fluted pastry wheel, cut pasta between filling, trimming sides to form 2 to 2 and 1/4-inch ravioli.

Repeat with more pasta and remaining filling, making about 36.

Place ravioli on floured baking sheet; let dry 30 minutes.

Working in 2 batches, cook ravioli in very large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring gently, about 3 minutes.

Drain ravioli.

Divide hot pea sauce among 6 plates.

Top with ravioli.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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:

Three Napoli Sisters Ran Camorra Mafia Clan

Naples - October 20, 2010 - Three sisters were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of running one of the strongest clans in the Neapolitan Camorra mafia.

Lena, Giuseppina, and Patrizia Aprea allegedly kept the purse strings and ran drug rackets for the Aprea family whose head, their brother Vincenzo, is serving a lengthy prison term. The three women were among 16 arrested on charges ranging from mafia association to drug pushing and murder.

Women have been known to have prominent roles in Naples crime families before but this is the first time that "three sisters have been arrested at the head of one of the city's most powerful families," said flying squad chief Vittorio Pisani.

Lena, 33, acted as the clan's "official" spokesman with other crime families, he said, while Giuseppina, 41, had a "firm" hand on cashflow and Mafiosi paychecks and Patrizia, 47, "scrupulously" kept the family's books.

As is customary with many mafia arrests, especially in Naples, the three were applauded by friends and family as they were taken from Naples' central courthouse to join their brother in jail. A group of relatives including small children had been waiting since seven o'clock in the morning.

"Porca trota", how lovely! Ladies, you must understand that guys prefer Italian women who keep their feminine side somewhat together and keep the mystery alive. Try to be a little more ladylike. We don't want to hear mafia association, drug pushing, and murder. How are we supposed to react?

"Minchia, can't wait to race home and get her in bed!"

Unfortunately, these are Italian women who have grown up on the playground of hard knocks. Naples is a very industrial area with a huge unemployment population and a lot of poverty. So, we're not talking white-collar crime. We're talking about women who have only seen crime as a way of life. Ah, those poor husbands. Pavlov’s dogs weren't hassled as much as they were.

See? That's why another visit to that Naples is nowhere in our immediate future...unless Haley's Comet returns...and crashes into the Vesuvius volcano...and causes it to erupt.

"As is customary with many mafia arrests, especially in Naples, the three were applauded by friends and family as they were taken from Naples' central courthouse to join their brother in jail." Ah, we're supposed to understand the Naples community. That’s the problem with the police and sane people who don't live there like you and us. They don't understand the community. They don't understand that when criminals are applauded by friends and family...they're just paying their respects.

The cops have to load their guns and fire recklessly at these applauding Napolitani. Take these people and push their faces into the radiator fan while the police cars are running. Let’s all have a chance to applaud.

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