04/18/12 Eggplant Bruschette

"Confidenza toglie riverenza." (Familiarity breeds contempt.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Eggplant Bruschette
  -Vegetable and Egg Soup
  -Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

"Ciao ciao!" "GRAZIE!" THANK YOU for all that you do. It means the world to us! Don't change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you. Enjoy this week's recipes!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Eggplant Bruschette

Eggplant Bruschette
Melanzana Bruschette


1 baguette
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 garlic cloves, whole clove left unpeeled
1 small eggplant (1/2 lb)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon coarse gray sea salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut off and discard 1 end of baguette, then cut 12 (1/4-inch thick) crosswise slices from baguette (reserve remainder for another use).

Lightly brush 1 side of each slice with some olive oil (about 1 tablespoon total) and arrange, oiled sides up, on a baking sheet.

Toast until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

While toasts are still warm, rub oiled sides with cut side of garlic clove half, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Halve eggplant lengthwise and make shallow 1/2-inch long incisions all over cut sides with tip of a paring knife.

Arrange eggplant, cut sides up (without crowding), in a shallow baking dish and add unpeeled garlic clove.

Sprinkle thyme, rosemary, oregano, sea salt, and pepper over eggplant, then drizzle eggplant and garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake until garlic is very tender, 30 to 35 minutes, then transfer garlic to a cutting board and continue to bake eggplant until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes more.

When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze flesh from peel onto cutting board.

Transfer eggplant to cutting board and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.

Scrape out flesh with a spoon onto cutting board, discarding peel.

Finely chop eggplant and garlic together and transfer to a bowl.

Add parsley and remaining tablespoon olive oil, then stir until combined well.

Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Top toasts with eggplant mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 antipasto servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Vegetable and Egg Soup

Vegetable and Egg Soup
Zuppa di Verdure e Uova


6 oz plum tomatoes (2 or 3 medium)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for serving
1 small onion, chopped
1 large yellow-fleshed potato (1/2 lb)
2 medium zucchini (3/4 lb total), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 and 1/2 cups water
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 and 1/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus additional for serving


Cut a shallow "X" mark in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes in a 2 to 3-quart saucepan of boiling water 20 seconds.

Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel, beginning from scored end, with knife, then seed and chop.

Heat olive oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add onion and tomatoes, then reduce heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potato and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

Add potato to onion mixture along with zucchini and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Add water, herbs, sea salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, uncovered.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Whisk together egg and cheese in a bowl until combined well, then add to soup in a stream, stirring.

Divide among 4 bowls and serve with olive oil and cheese. Makes 4 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce
Ravioli di Ricotta con Salsa di Pomodoro


For the Pasta Dough:
3 large eggs
6 egg yolks
3 cups flour
A pinch of salt

For the Ravioli Filling:
1 (16-ounce) container fresh ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 egg yolks (set the whites aside)

Fresh tomato sauce


Prepare the Pasta Dough:
Combine the ingredients in a food processor.

Process until the dough mixture leaves the sides of the bowl.

Remove to a mixing bowl and knead by hand for a few minutes until smooth (if the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water).

Divide into 4 equal parts and shape them into discs.

Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.

Prepare the Ravioli Filling:
Put the two cheeses, salt, and pepper in a blender and pulse.

Add the egg yolks and pulse until incorporated.

Prepare the Ravioli:
Roll the discs of dough into thin sheets in a pasta machine.

Arrange tablespoon-size dollops of the filling 1 and 1/2 inches apart on one of the sheets.

Brush a little egg white around each dollop, then place another sheet directly on top.

Gently press around the filling to remove any air pockets and seal the sheets.

Using a ravioli cutter or a knife, cut out ravioli squares.

Sprinkle with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water until they float to the top, 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain well and toss with the fresh tomato sauce.

Garnish with the remaining chopped basil and serve immediately. Makes 8 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:

Italian Twitter Hoaxer Proves It's Easy To Sell Air To Each Other

Rome - March 30, 2012 - First it was the death of the pope tweeted to the world from a Twitter account that belonged to the Holy Father's number two. Later came tweets announcing the deaths of Fidel Castro and Pedro Almodóvar.

The tweets flew around the world of social media. All, however, were hoaxes, the work of Tommaso De Benedetti, one of the world's most creative and successful fake tweeters.

"Twitter works well for deaths," said De Benedetti, speaking for the first time about his desire to expose how unreliable social media can be as a news source.

A Rome schoolteacher, De Benedetti, 43, defines himself as a "normal person". But in the Twitter world he has recently played the parts of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, a Spanish minister and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

"Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world but the news media believes it because of its need for speed," he said. False tweeting is a growth industry, and despite Twitter's placing of a blue tick on the verified accounts of the famous, users continue to trip up. In January even Twitter was fooled into briefly verifying tweets claiming to be by Wendy Deng, Rupert Murdoch's wife, in which she flirted with comic Ricky Gervais.

De Benedetti has form dating back to his days fooling Italian newspapers into publishing his fake interviews with writers, often American, including John Grisham, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott and Philip Roth. His game was disrupted when a journalist asked Roth in 2010 about criticisms he had leveled at Barack Obama in the Italian newspaper Libero. The writer denied giving the interview.

De Benedetti denied he was a simple hoaxer fooling papers for money. "I wanted to see how weak the media was in Italy," he said, claiming he was only paid between 20 and 40 Euros for an interview. "The Italian press never checks anything, especially if it is close to their political line, which is why the right wing paper Libero liked Roth's attacks on Obama." Half the time, he added, he suspected editors knew he was peddling made-up interviews, but took them anyway.

After he was exposed, De Benedetti turned to the internet, writing an email to the International Herald Tribune criticizing the Libya war and signing it Umberto Eco. "I phoned the Tribune after they published it to let them know," he said.

Next he faked an email from Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo to the Italian bishops' conference newspaper Avvenire, in which he praised the pope. Avvenire splashed it on the front page.

His first Twitter venture was an account in the name of Swedish writer Henning Mankell. "Mankell denied it after Swedish papers started quoting it," De Benedetti said. A fake feed he set up for Italian prime minister Mario Monti was followed by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. De Benedetti's account for Hamid Karzai drew a denial from the Afghan leader, while his fake tweets from Assad denying the veracity of leaked emails were briefly picked up by an English newspaper.

A fake announcement of the pope's death by the Vatican's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was followed by reports in another false feed of the death of Pedro Almodóvar, prompting a tweet from a newspaper's world account saying that the rumor was being looked into. Through two accounts, De Benedetti announced the death of Fidel Castro.

De Benedetti has used a fake account for Cristóbal Montoro, Spain's hapless finance minister, as a vehicle for numerous announcements. "Montoro has repeated that the account is not real but 3,000 people still follow it," he said. "On Facebook you are limited by access to 'friends', but on Twitter you can be sure people will follow you and it is being used as a real-time source of information without checks."

And for the cherry on the cake, De Benedetti clicks on the fake Twitter account he has created for Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and slips in a photo of Indian politician Sonia Gandhi. "I can just change the profile with Gandhi's details and all the followers of my fake Jong-un feed become followers of my fake Gandhi feed," he said. "It's so easy."

Since we have had several thousand years of practice at recognizing BS artists, you'd think we'd get pretty good at spotting them. Take this example:

During a company conference and in a bid to boost motivation, Luca Luciani, a top manager of Telecom Italia Mobile services, told 300 managers in a colorful, aggressive language to take Napoleon as their role model, in particular his impressive performance at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

"Everybody thought Napoleon had had it, beaten by the supremacy of his adversaries. He had five great nations against him...but with strategy, clear ideas, determination and strength, Napoleon made Waterloo his masterpiece".

Luciani concluded by telling his managers: "Go ahead and score like Napoleon at Waterloo".
(Oh, "si-si", there's proof of this. Click here for the video.)

An incredibly inspirational video, wasn't it? You could almost swear it was Martin Luther King Jr preaching in Italian.

Now, we might not know a lot in this Italian world (most of us on the staff graduated from Pizza University with honors), but wasn't Napoleon definitively defeated at Waterloo and exiled to the island of St. Helena where he died in 1821?

AH, "cazzarola", we fell for it!

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