"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!
This week's Italian recipes:
There are many variations of the popular dessert, Zuppa Inglese, which is served in many Italian restaurants throughout Italy. Loosely translated it means English soup, but in fact it is a rich cream trifle. Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".
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Antipasto di Verona
Line individual salad bowls with radicchio leaves.
Add equal portions of prosciutto and celery roots.
Top with wedges of Parmigiano cheese. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and virgin olive oil. Serves 6.
Spaghetti con Rancetto
Dice the onion and the pancetta and put them in a casserole or fry pan together with the olive oil. Saute them for a minute then add the tomatoes and the salt.
Cook for about 30 minutes over a low flame. Add the marjoram or oregano.
Serve this sauce over the spaghetti, which should be cooked 'al dente' in the meantime.
Garnish with the Pecorino cheese.
For the creme Anglaise:
For the topping:
Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C)
Brush an 8 inch (20 cm) springform cake tin thoroughly with a little melted butter.
Beat together the eggs and sugar for 10-15 minutes until thick and creamy.
Sift the flour and baking powder together then, using a metal spoon, fold into the egg mixture.
Put the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cake is golden and has shrunk away from the sides of the tin.
When cool, remove from the tin and place the cake in a large, heatproof serving bowl or individual serving dishes. Pour over the Marsala, break up the cake a little and set aside.
Prepare the creme Anglaise: In a saucepan, bring the milk to just below boiling point and keep it hot.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy.
Pour in the hot milk, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Return the mixture to a clean pan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest and pour over the cake. Leave until cold.
When cold, whip the cream until it holds its shape, then use to cover the creme Anglaise.
Scatter over the almonds to decorate. Serves 8.
"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:
Decrepit and Ragged Senators Surprisingly Hold Key to Italy's Future
February 23 - As Italy on Friday struggled to put together its 62nd government since the second world war, the spotlight fell on seven elderly senators who hold the nation’s political future in their hands.
The "magnificent seven" rode to the rescue of Romano Prodi, the center-left leader, in May when their votes enabled his government to win a confidence motion and stay in office.
It was a different story on Wednesday, when one of the seven voted against the government and two abstained, contributing to Mr. Prodi's defeat on a foreign policy motion and triggering his fall.
Exactly why the trio acted as they did or whether they even knew what they were doing has rapidly become a national talking point.
The importance of the "magnificent seven" stems from the fact that Mr. Prodi's center-left forces command 158 seats in the Senate, parliament's upper house, only one more than the center-right opposition's 157 seats.
The balance of power rests with seven other so-called "senators for life", of whom three are former heads of state, two ex-prime ministers, one an industrialist and one a scientist.
Last May, all seven voted to keep Mr. Prodi's government in power. In December, five supported the government in a vote tied to Italy's 2007 budget. Had they not done so, Mr. Prodi would have fallen.
On Wednesday, it all went hideously wrong. For a start, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, 88, a former head of state sympathetic to the center-left, was in bed with flu and missed the vital foreign policy vote.
Three senators did support Mr. Prodi. They were Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 86, another former head of state; Emilio Colombo, 86, a former prime minister; and Rita Levi Montalcini, 97, a Nobel prize-winner for medicine.
Francesco Cossiga, who at 78 is the youngest of the "magnificent seven", voted against the government. This came as no surprise. He had previously complained that the center-left's foreign policy was "basically anti-American, anti-British and anti-Israeli".
The real shocks were the abstentions of Giulio Andreotti, 88, who served as premier seven times, and Sergio Pininfarina, 80, honored for his lifetime achievements in the car industry.
Mr. Prodi's government might have fallen, anyway, because of the hostility of leftwing dissidents to his foreign policy, especially his willingness to permit the expansion of a US military base in Italy and to keep Italian troops in Afghanistan.
But Mr. Andreotti and Mr. Pininfarina made a difference because, in a Senate vote like that on Wednesday, abstentions count as No votes. The government lost its motion by two votes.
Mr. Pininfarina was not known as a critic of the government, but he had not attended a Senate vote since May. There is much debate over whether he really wanted to abstain, or just made a mistake.
In the case of Mr. Andreotti, a master of Italian political intrigue since 1948, some center-left politicians are furious.
They suspect Mr. Andreotti, who is close to the Roman Catholic church, refused to support the government in order to punish it for having recently approved more legal rights for unwed couples, including gays. The church has loudly condemned this measure.
Mr. Andreotti has said nothing to confirm these suspicions. But for the next Italian government the lesson is clear; keep on the right side of the "magnificent seven".
"Again, Porca Puttana!" The magnificent seven? They should have their own super hero comic book and cartoon. Their powers include trying to walk up a flight of stairs without losing their breath.
How can the magnificent hold the key to Italy's future? What future would you like to see when you're in your late eighties? Christo, they mutter and mutter incoherently and the only break you get from them is when they have to go backstage in the parliament to where the oxygen tanks are.
"The Magnificent Seven"
1.) Giulio Andreotti, 88: served as a magnificent prime minister seven times. No one has been able to understand why. He has been accused and convicted of having magnificent Mafia contacts, although he avoided formal conviction due to magnificent statutory limitations. He has sat in Parliament without interruption for 61 very long years. In November 2002 he was convicted of ordering the magnificent 1979 murder of Mino Pecorelli, a journalist who had published allegations that he had ties to the Mafia. He was sentenced to twenty-four-years imprisonment.
Magnificent Quote: "You sin in thinking bad about people - but, often, you guess right." If so, then it will be best if Italy starts lining up for Church penitence.
2.) Sergio Pininfarina, 81: a magnificent automobile designer whose company has been employed by Ferrari, Maserati, Cadillac, Peugeot, Jaguar, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. In October 2005 he was named Senator for Life of the magnificent Italian Republic. Why? It takes a magnificent designing genius to know what color leather goes perfect in your magnificent yellow Ferrari.
3.) Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 86: From April 1993 to May 1994, he flew in as Italian Prime Minister overseeing a magnificent "technical government" (a technical government is a non-party circus-like government made up of unelected, magnificent-but-clueless people such as civil servants, magistrates or bankers from outside the political circle instead of members of the country's magnificent legislature. They are constantly formed when it is impossible for a government to be formed until new elections are held in order to ensure magnificent administrative functions are carried out).
He magnificently chose the Italian design for the 1-Euro coin. He is not considered to be close to the magnificent positions of the Vatican and the Catholic church.
4.) Emilio Colombo, 86: In November 2003, shortly after receiving the honor of Senator for Life, he magnificently celebrated by admitting to being a regular cocaine user but for magnificent "therapeutic purposes".
Magnificent Quote: "I have not been a (cocaine) user for long - not more than a year, year-and-a-half." This vague but magnificent admission does not make him liable to magnificent prosecution because consumption of drugs in Italy is not a criminal offence.
5.) Rita Levi-Montalcini, 97: Italian neurologist who received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the magnificent discovery of growth factors. Today she is the oldest living Nobel laureate. A truly magnificent scientist and lovely lady who, unfortunately, has not been able to explain the lacking growth factors of brain cells of her parliament peers.
6.) Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, 88: was known as an austere and incorruptible politician, as well as a devout and magnificent Catholic attending Mass every day. This holy image indeed explains his election to the presidency, as the principal and clearly impossible task at hand was to return Italian public and political life to a more moral course.
7.) Francesco Cossiga, 79: was in charge of the Ministry for Internal Affairs during the kidnapping and murdering of Aldo Moro by Red Brigades. He magnificently resigned when Moro was found dead in 1978. His presidency was unremarkable, lifeless and quite boring for its first five years. However, in his last two years as a President, he woke up and began to express magnificent opinions, at times virulent, against the Italian political system. Some even suggested he was somewhat mentally unstable. He declared he was just "taking magnificent pleasure in removing some sand from my shoes".
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