04/03/13 Mushroom Crepes

"Avere le mani bucate." (Having holes in one's hands. A person who easily spends a lot without being aware of it.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Leek Sauce
  -Mushroom Crepes
  -Linguine with Green Vegetables and Herbs

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 Recipe: Leek Sauce

Leek Sauce
Salsa Ai Porri


For the Chicken Stock:
1 chicken or boiling poultry, skinned and trimmed of visible fat
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick

For the Leek Sauce:
2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 oz (25 grams) plain flour
18 fl oz (500 ml) chicken stock
1 oz (25 grams) butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
3 and 1/2 oz (100 ml) double cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
White pepper


Prepare the Chicken Stock:
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large saucepan and add a pinch of salt and water to cover.

Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for at least 2 hours, occasionally removing any unwanted residue that may rise to the surface.

Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl, leave to cool, and then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface, remove and throw it away.

Prepare the Leek Sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Add the leeks and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened but not browned.

Sprinkle in the flour and gradually stir in the boiling chicken stock.

Cook for another 10-12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and push the leek mixture through a sieve into a clean saucepan.

Reheat the sauce gently.

Stir in the lemon juice, double cream and chopped parsley.

Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushroom Crepes

Mushroom Crepes
Crepes Ai Funghi


For the Crepe Batter:
2 eggs
8 fl oz (250 ml) milk
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) plain flour
1 oz (25 grams) butter
Extra virgin oil, for brushing

For the Bechamel Sauce:
2 oz (50 grams) oz butter
2 oz (50 grams) plain flour
18 fl oz (500 ml) whole milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper

For the Crepe Filling:
2 oz (50 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 fl oz (50 ml) brandy
3 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Crepe Batter:
Sift the flour into a bowl.

Add the eggs and 3-4 tablespoons of the milk and mix well.

Gradually stir in the remaining milk to make a runny batter.

Melt the butter in a double boiler in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, leave to cool completely, then add to the batter.

Season with salt, beat again for another few minutes with a small whisk, then leave to stand for about an hour.

Brush the base of a crepe pan with olive oil and heat.

Pour in 2 tablespoons of the batter.

Turn and tilt the pan so that the batter covers the base evenly.

Cook for 3-4 minutes until the underside is set and golden brown.

Flip over with a spatula and cook the other side for about 2 minutes until golden.

Slide the crepe out of the pan on to a plate.

Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Whisk in the flour.

Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil.

Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes (Bechamel sauce should not taste like flour).

Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with pepper and/or nutmeg.

If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk.

If too runny, return to the heat and add 2 slices of butter mixed with an equal quantity of plain flour.

Note: For a richer bechamel sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of double cream; for a lighter bechamel sauce, add half milk and half water.

Prepare the Crepe Filling:
Preheat the oven to 400?F (200?C) Gas Mark 6.

Grease an oven-proof dish with butter.

Melt half the butter in a frying pan.

Add the mushrooms and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add the parsley.

Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with the brandy and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Spread 1 tablespoon of the bechamel sauce on each crepe.

Top with 1 tablespoon of the mushrooms and roll up.

Arrange in a single layer in the prepared dish.

Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over them.

Sprinkle with the Parmigiano cheese and dot with the remaining butter.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Makes 12.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Linguine with Green Vegetables and Herbs

Linguine with Green Vegetables and Herbs
Linguine con Le Verdure ed Erbe


1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 and 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 and 1/2 ounces feta, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound linguine
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cook asparagus in a 6 to 8 quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large heatproof bowl.

Add peas to boiling water and cook 2 minutes.

Transfer peas with slotted spoon to bowl with asparagus.

Add linguine to boiling water and cook until 'al dente'.

While linguine cooks, pulse basil, mint, olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup feta in a food processor until chopped.

Add to vegetables.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water.

Drain pasta in a colander.

Stir reserved cooking water into vegetables.

Add pasta, parsley, scallions, and remaining 1/2 cup feta and toss. Makes 4 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:

Convicted Sicilian Mobster Freed Thanks To His Allergies To Vegetables

Rome - March 23, 2012 - A convicted Mafia mobster has been freed early from his 15 year jail term thanks to his allergies to the vegetables on the prison menu.

Millionaire Michele Aiello, 56, told the judge at a special appeal hearing he was intolerant to beans, peas, spinach and all other types of greens offered to inmates serving time in prison.

Lawyers acting for the businessman provided medical certificates as evidence in their argument for Aiello to be released after serving little more than a year of his original sentence.

He was arrested in Palermo in Sicily in 2010 and charged with being the financial genius behind a Mafia money laundering operation.

It saw him lending his name and that of relatives to dozens of companies and properties so cash from criminal activity could be recycled and laundered.

Police said Aiello laundered more than 800 million Euros (+1 billion USD) for jailed Mafia Godfather Bernardo Provenzano, who was caught in 2006 after almost 40 years on the run. The two were said to be 'close associates' with the mobster investing personally in the businessman's numerous activities.

Aiello had been serving his sentence in a maximum security jail at Sulmona in central Italy where a spokesman admitted the menu was 'mainly vegetable based'. Dishes included 'pasta with beans, rice with peas, cuttlefish with peas and minestrone soup.'

His lawyer Sergio Monaco said: 'The menu that was being offered to my client was completely incompatible with his medical condition. There were far too many vegetables being served and he is intolerant to them and it affects his health.'

In her ruling judge Laura Longo said: 'The prison food offered does not permit a diet adequate for the inmate and according to article nine of the Italian penal code prison food must be adequate, healthy, sufficient for the age, gender, state of health, work season and climate.

'In this case continuing with the prison diet raised the possibility of the inmate have a hemolytic reaction and that is absolutely not permissible.

'There is a serious and concrete risk to his health if he remains in prison and eats the menu offered and he therefore cannot remain inside.'

She then ruled that he should be given house arrest in his home town of Palermo.

Today there was amazement in Italian newspapers and in TV and radio reports carrying the story calling judge Longo's decision 'astonishing' and 'incredible'.

One outraged reader posted on a popular news website: 'I'd be very happy to have that menu every day! Can't they just take the vegetables out and serve him plain pasta and rice?

'There are thousands of people who would love to eat as well as this convicted Mafia mobster does.'

Last year it emerged that one Godfather was able to enjoy champagne and lobster dinners while serving his time in a Palermo jail.

"Porca di quella"...hold on folks (news staff looking out the window, sheep looking back at staff).

We had to go look outside the window for a moment.
We were almost sure Italy was crumbling around us!

"'Fanculo", come on, it's 2012! We can't afford to have these heinous and shameless incidents continuing!

Look, we're not safe anywhere, Judge Laura! On any given day you bend over to help someone, somebody else stabs you, steals your groceries, violates your wife and steps on your hat! Have a good day!

We need metal detectors at the entrance of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
We need cops waiting in the monumental fountains with skin diving outfits!
We need snipers ready to take out 90% of the vendors at the open Napolitani markets.

We could go out in the main piazzas and try to get some solidarity and empathy from our wise elders...but we wouldn't want to ruin the concentration of their blank stares.

We could go down to the schools to let our future generations know there is no future in organized crime...but they'll get a hold of this story and insist again that vegetables are bad for you.

"There is a serious and concrete risk to his health if he remains in prison and eats the menu offered and he therefore cannot remain inside." "Minchia", so true. We should apologize for being so inhuman. Why don't we get braces for his fellow jail mates with crooked teeth? Let?s improve their smiles.

"Vaffanculo", throw Michele in the electric chair, put a lasagne in his lap and cook it up while he?s frying so the electricity doesn't go to waste.
Make it a vegetable lasagne to make it even more disrespectful.

And Judge Laura should quit and hand over her robes to Zorro. Have a good day.

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