04/04/12 Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches

"La pecora che bela perde il boccone." (Every time a sheep whines it loses a mouthful.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches
  -Potato and Spinach Cakes with Tomato Sauce
  -Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

"Buona sera!" How is your day coming along? Please don't change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the authentic you. Thanks again for finding the time to read your recipe newsletter! I look forward to connecting further in the coming days. Enjoy this week's recipes!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches

Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches
Panini di Provolone e Broccoli Rabe


1/2 lb broccoli rabe, tough ends discarded
2 flat anchovies, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8 to 9-inch) sliced (1/4 inch thick) fine-quality round Italian loaf
1/3 lb sliced provolone


Cook broccoli rabe in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, until tender, about 3 minutes.

Drain well in a colander, then chop.

Cook anchovies and garlic in 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 minute.

Add broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Heat a panini or sandwich press according to manufacturer's instructions until hot (or heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat).

Brush 4 center slices of bread on 1 side with remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.

Put slices, oiled sides down, on a work surface, then divide half of cheese between 2 slices.

Top with all of broccoli rabe mixture, remaining cheese, and remaining 2 bread slices, oiled sides up.

Put sandwiches on press, then pull down top onto sandwiches and cook until sandwiches are browned and crisp, 4 to 8 minutes. (If using grill pan, put a heavy pan on top of sandwiches and cook, turning sandwiches over once.) Makes 2 sandwiches.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Potato and Spinach Cakes with Tomato Sauce

Potato and Spinach Cakes with Tomato Sauce
Tortini di Patate e Spinaci con Salsa al Pomodoro


2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound spinach, stems removed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup canola oil
Fresh mozzarella (optional)


Preheat oven to 400F.

Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and coat well with the olive oil.

Roast for 35 minutes, or until the skins blister.

Cool and puree; set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the butter, melt, then add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted.

Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.

Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop; place in a large bowl.

Add the egg and stir until well combined.

Add the mashed potatoes, Parmigiano cheese, and lemon zest, and season with more salt and pepper; stir until well combined.

Stir in the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture holds together.

Pat into 2-inch by 1/2-inch thick cakes.

Dredge in the flour, patting off any excess.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add the cakes and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Arrange the cakes over the roasted tomato sauce.

Top with mozzarella, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
Gnocchi di Patate Dolci con Burro e Salvia


Two 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced with fork all over
One 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 and 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish


Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side.

Cut in half and cool.

Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl.

Add ricotta cheese; blend well.

Add Parmigiano cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend.

Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces.

Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky.

Cut each rope into 20 pieces.

Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent.

Transfer to baking sheet.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil.

Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet.

Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 300F.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up).

Turn off heat.

Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat.

Add half of gnocchi.

Saute until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes.

Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.

Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls.

Garnish with sage leaves. Makes 10 to 12 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:

And Silvio Gets Away With It...Again

Rome - February 27, 2012 - An Italian court on Saturday dismissed a corruption case against Silvio Berlusconi, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired on charges that the Italian billionaire allegedly paid his lawyer to give false testimony in the 1990s to shield him from prosecution.

A panel of judges delivered a brief ruling, stating that the statute of limitations had expired without elaborating on the substance of the actual case. The judges are due to release their motivations within 90 days. Mr. Berlusconi's lawyers said they planned to file a motion seeking an acquittal for Mr. Berlusconi.

The ruling capped a long-running trial that began in early 2007 and was repeatedly interrupted by the billionaire's tenure as prime minister from 2008 to late 2011.

Mr. Berlusconi faces two other trials on charges of tax fraud, paying an underage woman for sex and abusing his office in an attempt to cover up the relationship. He has denied those charges, claiming he is the target of persecution by left-wing magistrates.

In November, Mr. Berlusconi was swept out of office by the euro-zone debt crisis, but he remains a major force in Italian politics. He is the founder of Italy's biggest political party, the conservative People of Freedom Party, and his support of Italy's new Prime Minister Mario Monti is vital to the survival of the Italian government.

Over his 18 years in politics, Mr. Berlusconi has survived dozens of criminal investigations and many trials. In some trials, he was acquitted while in other trials the statute of limitations expired.

Saturday's ruling is likely to embolden Mr. Berlusconi's allies who have long called for an overhaul of the Italian judiciary in order to speed up trials and demand more accountability from prosecutors.

"This shouldn't happen to anyone in Italy regardless of whether they're prime minister," said Maurizio Gasparri, a lieutenant in Mr. Berlusconi's party. "Even the most anonymous Italian should have the guarantee that a prosecutor will be unbiased."

A judge indicted Mr. Berlusconi in Oct. 2006 on a corruption charge for allegedly paying U.K. lawyer David Mills $600,000 between the end of 1999 and the early months of 2000. The payment, prosecutors alleged, served as compensation for misleading testimony that Mr. Mills allegedly gave to prosecutors who were investigating Mr. Berlusconi in the 1990s. Mr. Mills denied the charge, saying he received the payment from someone else.

Mr. Mills, who was tried separately from Mr. Berlusconi, was convicted of corruption in Feb. 2009 and sentenced to four years and six months in prison. In 2010, however, Italy's highest court struck down the sentence, ruling that the statute of limitations had run out.

On a (rare) serious note, many all over the planet ask what are the reactions of the Italians. What would you like for us to say? We knew it was coming...again.

It's just another chapter in the story of a man who suffers from the Napoleon or "little man" syndrome.

To save his mega empire and himself from jail, he entered politics and distorted and destroyed the Italian judicial system. In less than 10 years he had managed to have about 36 "ad-personam" laws passed in Parliament to make sure he would come out unscathed.

Because the statute of limitations in Italy does not begin until the case is heard in court -- rather than when a defendant is charged with the crime -- attorneys simply need to delay court dates until the statute of limitations expires. "Capisci"? "Si"?

The time between court dates can be many months. You meet up in court one day and then again maybe another day 4, 6, 27 months later and for only about 12-14 minutes, until the trial is over. That's why rat-bastard Italian lawyers always advise their clients to go to the bathroom at home, show up to court 2 hours early and make absolutely sure you're in that court room when your turn is called.

Judge: "Buongiorno to all. Case of 'Minchione vs Scassapalle' will now begin..."
Judge: "Eh, Signore attorney, where is your client?
Attorney: "He...he's here bending down, tying his shoelaces."

Berlusconi: "The Mills trial is just one of numerous invented proceedings against me. In total, more than 100 legal procedures, over 900 prosecutors have busied themselves with me and with my company. These persecutions against me are not just a world record but a record for the universe and the entire solar system."

"Porco Giuda", you see? How can one comment?
We don't comment on how many real hairs he has left on his head.
We try to act as if he's got natural hair and we get on with our daily lives.

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