04/21/10 Panelle Sandwiches

"La lingua non ha osso ma rompe l'osso." (The tongue has no bone but it breaks bone.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Panelle Sandwiches
  -Tuscan Vegetable Soup with White Beans and Parmigiano
  -Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live. Enjoy your recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Panelle Sandwiches

Panelle Sandwiches
Panini con le Panelle


2 cups water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for frying)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces chickpea flour
3 soft medium buns


Oil or spray a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet, set aside.

Heat water, olive oil, and salt in a heavy 1 quart sauce pan over medium heat.

Slowly whisk in chickpea flour as combination heats, breaking up lumps.

Stir continuously for 7-10 minutes, while a pudding-like consistency is achieved (do not boil).

Pour immediately into the baking sheet and spread smoothly. Work quickly as the batter will set rapidly.

Set aside 2 hours to cool.

Refrigerate overnight.

Cut the cooled panelle sheet into strips, about 1-inch wide by 2 and 1/2-inches long, a bit smaller than a business card.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottom pan.

Fry the panelle strips until golden brown and season with salt and pepper.

Eat hot or at room temperature on the soft buns. Makes 3 sandwiches.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tuscan Vegetable Soup with White Beans and Parmigiano

Tuscan Vegetable Soup with White Beans and Parmigiano
Zuppa Toscana di Verdure Con Fagioli e Parmigiano


One 1 lb package dried cannellini (white kidney beans)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 head of green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 cups (or more) vegetable stock or vegetable broth
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 head of red cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Six 3/4-inch thick slices grain bread, toasted
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese (about 3 ounces)
Additional olive oil


Place beans in heavy large pot. Pour in enough water to cover beans by 3 inches.

Soak overnight. Drain beans.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in very large pot over medium heat.

Add onion, thyme, and garlic; saute 5 minutes.

Add green cabbage, tomatoes, celery, and carrots; saute 10 minutes.

Add beans, 10 cups stock, potatoes, and basil.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour.

Add red cabbage and zucchini.

Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Uncover.

Add toasted bread slices to soup and remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

Stir in cheese.

Divide soup among bowls.

Top each serving with ground pepper and additional olive oil and serve. Makes 12 first-course or 6 main-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce
Panna Cotta Al Limone con Salsa di Mora


For the Panna Cotta:
Vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup creme fraiche*
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

For the Sauce:
3 cups frozen blackberries (about 12 ounces), thawed, drained, juices reserved
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
3 tablespoons creme de cassis (black-currant-flavored liqueur; optional)


Prepare the Panna Cotta:
Lightly oil six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups.

Mix milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan.

Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean.

Bring to simmer.

Remove from heat.

Cover; let steep 30 minutes.

Remove vanilla bean.

Pour lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over.

Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.

Stir sugar and gelatin mixture into milk mixture.

Stir over low heat just until sugar and gelatin dissolve, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Whisk in creme fraiche and lemon peel.

Divide among ramekins.

Cover; chill until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Prepare the Sauce:
Puree 2/3 of blackberries and all reserved juices, brown sugar, and creme de cassis, if desired, in blender.

Strain mixture into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Discard solids in strainer.

Stir remaining blackberries into sauce. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Run small knife around each panna cotta.

Place bottoms of ramekins, 1 at a time, in bowl of hot water 45 seconds.

Place plate atop ramekin.

Hold plate and ramekin together; invert, shaking gently, to turn out panna cotta.

Serve with sauce. Makes 6 servings

*Note: Available at some supermarkets.

If unavailable, heat 1 cup whipping cream to lukewarm (85F).

Remove from heat; mix in 2 tablespoons buttermilk.

Cover; let stand in warm draft-free area until slightly thickened, 24 to 48 hours, depending on temperature of room.

Chill until ready to use.

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:

Berlusconi's Incredibly Competent Dental Hygienist In Italy Election

Rome - February 19, 2010 - The glamorous dental hygienist who helped Silvio Berlusconi flash his toothy grin again has been enlisted to contest regional Italian elections.

Nicole Minetti, 25, treated the prime minister after he was attacked in Milan late last year with a miniature marble statue of the city's cathedral. The former TV showgirl qualified as a dental hygienist in November just a month before Mr Berlusconi, 73, visited her practice for treatment on two broken teeth.

Miss Minetti has no experience in the political field, but she has worked at one of the channels owned by the billionaire politician. She appeared on a program called Colorado Cafe as a dancer and another show called Scorie, which is an Italian version of Candid Camera.

Italy will hold regional elections at the end of March and the prime minister said they were an "important test for the government, which could have a significant impact on the national level". But Miss Minetti joins other candidates who appear to have been selected by Mr Berlusconi for their good looks.

Last year the Italian leader's long-suffering wife Veronica Lario, 53, announced she was divorcing him after revelations he was planning to run several attractive women as prospective MEPs.

Ms Lario called the idea "shameless trash" that was created "just to please the emperor". In the end the idea was ditched by Mr Berlusconi who said his wife had misinterpreted the plan due to "leftist propaganda".

Besides Miss Minetti, the prime minister has also selected four women as prospective regional governors. Contrary to reports earlier this year, none of them are from the showbiz world. But other high-profile people fighting for votes include Giorgio Puricelli, the physiotherapist of Mr Berlusconi's football club AC Milan, as well as his trusted architect Francesco Magnano.

Of the 13 regions headed to the polls in March, only Veneto and Mr Berlusconi's home region of Lombardy are governed by his center-right coalition, with the remainder in the hands of the center-left.

The problem here is not dealing with Berlusconi's latest "cazzata" which would be the equivalence of changing a diaper underwater, but the fact that Miss Dental Hygiene 2007 is setting back the 'Women's Movement' 74 years with her delusions of adequacy.

We don't know anymore. How did we get to this point in time? Are Italian women that dangerous that we can get duped into performing hillbilly acts...or is it the shoe polish in our hair follicles that has started to seep into the brains of some of us?

Miss Minetti, 25: "I am not worried though. I am ready and I have done all my homework and I feel that I am qualified and up to the job. I know that I am young and I still have lots to learn but I don't like all this judgment of me without seeing what I have to offer."

-> "Mamma mia", how adorable! Hey Silvio, ever watch a nature film when they show a coyote eat his own leg off to escape a trap? Start chewing...

She also spoke of her past as a TV showgirl: "I would ask newspapers to stop publishing photographs of me when I was on the television."

-> Incredible. She, like most women in Italy live better than Cleopatra. In fact, most women from underdeveloped countries would give up their left breast to live like Miss Minetti does in Italy.

Well, we certainly wish her all the luck in her political venture. Remember, if at first you don't succeed, give up, and start looking into the profession of lawn mowing.

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