04/02/14 Halibut with Asparagus and Fennel Salad

"Chi va a letto senza cena tutta la notte si dimena." (He who goes to bed without eating, will regret it throughout the night..) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Risotto with Sausage and Spring Vegetables
  -Braised Lamb Shanks with Swiss Chard
  -Halibut with Asparagus and Fennel Salad

"Ciao! Come stai?" All of us up at the farm are thankful for your participation with us through this newsletter. We have more great Italian recipes on the way. Remember, life is a bit sweeter when you're laughing at home with the right company. Enjoy the upcoming Easter Holiday Season.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Risotto with Sausage and Spring Vegetables

Risotto with Sausage and Spring Vegetables
Risotto con Salsiccia e Verdure di Primavera


6 ounces mild Italian sausage (about 1 and 1/2 links), casings removed
1 bunch dandelion greens, Swiss chard, or mustard greens (12 ounces),
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice (13 to 14 ounces)
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmigiano cheese plus additional for serving


Remove the tough bottom stems of the vegetables and cut the leaves into 3/4-inch pieces.

Cook the vegetables in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute.

Drain and cool.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic.

Saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add sausage.

Saute until brown, breaking up with spoon, about 3-5 minutes.

Add rice and stir 1 minute.

Add wine.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer until wine is almost absorbed.

Add 1 cup broth.

Stir until broth is almost absorbed.

Add remaining 4 cups broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more.

Mix in vegetables after 10 minutes.

Cook until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, 20-25 minutes total.

Mix in cheese and remaining 3 tablespoons butter.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve risotto, passing additional Parmigiano cheese. Makes 6 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Lamb Shanks with Swiss Chard

Braised Lamb Shanks with Swiss Chard
Stinco d'Agnello Brasato con Bietola


Six 1 to 1 and 1/4-pound lamb shanks
12 green onions, chopped, divided
1 to 1 and 1/4 pounds Swiss chard (about 2 bunches)
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 and 3/4 cups (14 ounces) beef broth
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 and 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
Large pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Two 5.25-ounce packages bulgur (about 2 cups), prepared according to package directions


Preheat oven to 325?F.

Whisk flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in pie dish to blend.

Working with 1 lamb shank at a time, coat shanks in seasoned flour.

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

Add 3 lamb shanks.

Saute until brown, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer lamb to large roasting pan.

Repeat with remaining 3 lamb shanks.

Add half of green onions to same skillet.

Reduce heat to low.

Stir 2 minutes.

Add garlic.

Stir 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes with juice, broth, raisins, tomato paste, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, saffron, and cloves.

Increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.

Pour broth mixture over lamb.

Cover roasting pan with foil and place in oven.

Braise lamb until tender, turning every 30 minutes, about 2 and 1/2 hours.

Transfer lamb to large rimmed baking sheet.

Set pan aside.

Cut center rib (including stem portion) from each chard leaf.

Cut chard ribs crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces.

Stack several leaf halves at a time and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

Tilt roasting pan and spoon off all fat from top of sauce that pools at lower end.

Set roasting pan over 2 burners.

Add chard ribs and remaining green onions and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Return lamb to roasting pan.

Cover and return to oven.

Braise until chard ribs are tender, about 20 minutes.

Uncover and mix chard leaves into pan juices.

Return pan to oven and roast uncovered until chard softens, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.

Transfer lamb to rimmed platter.

Season chard mixture in pan to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon chard mixture over lamb.

Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with bulgur. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Halibut with Asparagus and Fennel Salad

Halibut with Asparagus and Fennel Salad
Halibut con Insalata d'Asparagi e Finocchi


For the Salad:
3/4 pound asparagus spears (about 1 bunch), trimmed
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
4 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped

For the Fish:
Six 6-ounce halibut fillets
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 and 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
Nonstick vegetable oil spray


Prepare the Salad:
Whisk lemon juice and mustard in small bowl.

Gradually whisk in olive oil, then add capers.

Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 1 asparagus spear flat on work surface.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave asparagus into long thin strips.

Place asparagus strips in medium bowl with shaved fennel.

Prepare the Fish:
Coat rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, and lemon peel in another medium bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Drizzle melted butter over.

Using fork, toss to incorporate evenly.

Place halibut fillets on prepared baking sheet, spacing apart.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Divide breadcrumbs among fillets to cover top (about 1/3 cup each), pressing to adhere.

Preheat oven to 300?F.

Bake halibut until opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

Turn on broiler.

Broil halibut just until breadcrumbs start to brown, about 1-2 minutes.

Place 1 halibut fillet on each of 6 plates.

Pour dressing over asparagus and fennel mixture.

Toss to coat.

Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide salad among plates 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:

Pope: Yes, I'm A Sinner...But So Are My Cardinals

Vatican City - October 2, 2013 - From cardinals to popes, the Catholic Church is filled with people who sin, Pope Francis said Wednesday. The Church itself is holy, but it is "made up of sinners" because it is made of humans, Francis said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

More than 45,000 people crowded into the square to hear the pope ask how the Church can be good when "its path through the centuries has been full of difficulties, problems, dark moments...how can it be a holy Church made of sinful men, sinful women, sinful priests, nuns, bishops, cardinals, popes?"

The answer, Francis concluded, is that because God created the Church, it was made holy. "The Church is holy because it proceeds from a God who is faithful and never abandoned (humans)...to the power of evil".

It's hard to argue with this updated version of the Pope (and believe us, we would love to). The reasoning, love, modesty and humbleness are all there and out in the open.

So, one should wait until Pope Francis turns around, then grab the nearest cardinal by the ear, and explain to him that without honest and transparent examination of the root causes, and a basic change in the moral structure of that Vatican, any claims that "all of that is in the past" will go in one ear and out the other.

The Church is "made up of sinners"...fine. Got it! So, it's only right its members are also accompanied to a dark box to speak to someone who is blurred from their vision about sins.

"Puttana della miseria", what indignity! Oh, if we could only go back in time to the Catholic days of our "first confessions".

"Uh, Father, I'll be brief because my family is right outside filming this Broadway show and the restaurant reservations for celebrating my acquittal are for 1:30."

"Forgive me Father for I have sinned...I really have nothing to confess because I'm 8 years old. Besides, I have obese relatives over to my house on a daily basis who have nothing else better to do other than to pass judgement on me (no sins there, of course). Regardless, I'm very sorry again for being convinced I'm morally on par with God Himself."

"I'm very sorry! I don't know what sin is worth confessing other than speaking with my mouth full of food! And I still don't understand how I got into this! I've explained this situation to the nuns back in the rectory on numerous occasions but it always ends on a negative note."

"Oh, by the way, I'm curious: Which commandment does tax fraud fall under? I've been hearing this discussion a lot lately amongst some family friends...along with the continuous reference to JESUS CHRIST!"

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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