04/22/09 Shiitake Frittata Squares with Prosciutto from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino." (So often goes the cat to the fat that she loses her paw. Curiosity killed the cat. The pitcher goes so often to the well that it gets broken at last.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Creamy Baked Polenta with Herbs and Green Onions
  -Shiitake Frittata Squares with Prosciutto
  -Braised Veal with Gremolata

We sincerely hope all our subscribers and their families enjoy their recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Creamy Baked Polenta with Herbs and Green Onions

Creamy Baked Polenta with Herbs and Green Onions
Polenta al Forno con Erbe Aromatiche e Cipolle Verde


6 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel


Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour 6 cups water into 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

Whisk polenta, salt, and pepper into water.

Bake uncovered 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.

Add green onions and saute 2 minutes.

Stir in parsley and thyme, then cream.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Stir polenta to blend.

Stir green onion mixture, cheese, and lemon peel into polenta.

Continue to bake uncovered until polenta is creamy and liquid is completely absorbed, about 10 minutes longer.

Let stand 5 minutes; serve. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Shiitake Frittata Squares with Prosciutto

Shiitake Frittata Squares with Prosciutto
Frittata con Funghi Shiitake e Prosciutto


2 teaspoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup water
1 and 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 whole large eggs
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 thin slices prosciutto
24 thin fresh chives


Melt butter in a 9 to 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, then cook mushrooms and shallots, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Add water and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender and golden, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tarragon.

While mushrooms are cooking, lightly beat together whole eggs, whites, parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.

Preheat broiler.

Add egg mixture to mushrooms, then cook over high heat, stirring briskly, until eggs are softly scrambled, 2 to 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and form frittata into a 6 and 1/2-inch square with a spatula.

Cook over low heat until bottom is set, about 2 minutes.

Place skillet under broiler (wrap nonmetal handles in foil), 5 to 6 inches from heat, and broil until eggs are just firm to the touch and barely golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer frittata to a cutting board and cool.

Trim edges of square, then cut frittata into 24 rectangles.

Cut each prosciutto slice lengthwise into 3 strips.

Wrap a prosciutto strip lengthwise around each egg rectangle, then tie a chive around crosswise. Serve at room temperature.

Note: Frittata squares can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered with a dampened paper towel, then with plastic wrap.
Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 24 hors d'oeuvres.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Veal with Gremolata

Braised Veal with Gremolata
Brasato di Vitello con Gremolata


For the Veal:
2 cups boiling water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 (4 and 1/2 to 5-lbs) boneless veal shoulder roast, rolled and tied by butcher
2 large garlic cloves, cut lengthwise into 20 thin slices
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon potato starch dissolved in 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cold water

For the Gremolata:
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced garlic


Pour boiling water over porcini in a bowl and let stand until softened, 10 to 20 minutes.

Lift out porcini, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, and rinse to remove any grit.

Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into another bowl.

Chop porcini and reserve for polenta (optional).

Pat veal dry and cut 20 (1 and 1/2-inch-deep) slits all over with a thin-bladed knife.

Stuff each slit with a slice of garlic, then season veal with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a 4 to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown veal on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add wine and deglaze pot by boiling over high heat (keep veal in pot), stirring and scraping up brown bits, until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Stir in porcini-soaking liquid and bring to a simmer.

Simmer gently, covered, turning veal every 30 minutes, until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer veal to a cutting board and cool completely.

Skim any fat and froth from surface of pan juices, then boil until reduced to about 2 cups.

Pour through a very fine sieve into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Stir dissolved potato starch, then whisk into pan juices.

Simmer sauce until slightly thickened.

Prepare the gremolata:
Stir together gremolata ingredients.

Stir half of gremolata into sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Chill remaining gremolata, covered.

Prepare the veal:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Remove strings from veal and cut meat across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Overlap slices in a 13 by 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish and pour sauce over meat.

Cover dish with foil and heat in middle of oven 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining gremolata. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: Veal (cooled on cutting board but not sliced) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Slice meat while still cold and reheat in sauce.
Sauce can be made 1 day ahead, then cooled completely before being chilled, covered.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

Another Funeral Scam Uncovered

Milan - October 16, 2008 - Milan police on Thursday arrested 40 people in a probe into a suspected funeral 'cartel' paying bribes to find out when corpses were ready for burial.

In the probe, codenamed Charon after the mythological ferryman of the dead, police said they found evidence of "a 1,000 euro kickback to nurses for every still-warm body on the slab".

"This criminal association formed a cartel to claim a stranglehold on the Milan funeral business," one investigator said.

The Codacons consumer protection association said such rackets were not confined to Milan.

"This illicit business generates an estimated turnover of 3.5 billion euros a year, pushing funeral costs up by a third".

It said "thousands" of funeral parlors across the country paid to beat their rivals to bodies.

"Cavolo", you have a thick head, nurse. I couldn't care less you have a cousin in the business.

So, how does death function in Italy? Obviously, you start with the sympathetic rat-whore nurse who's lucky she gets her shoes on the right feet to attend to your funeral arrangements.

The next step is the undignified plastering of funeral posters all over town as if they were election posters.

Then the stack of long boring telegrams arrive. "Sta pippa", hard to believe in this day and age the telegraph service in Italy is still used. Luckily, they're no longer delivered by mule or covered wagon. You may ask yourself the stupid question, "Haven't the Italians ever heard of Hallmark?" Unfortunately, the greeting card industry never took off in Italy for it couldn't rely on the incredibly supersonic services of the postal system.

After the celebration of the funeral mass which is just a regular Sunday Mass heard on a weekday, the coffin is carried back out to the hearse, while the family stands and receives condolences from the ungrateful and hypocritical friends and family the dearly departed couldn't have cared less about while he/she was alive.

"...police said they found evidence of a 1,000 euro kickback to nurses for every still-warm body on the slab." "Cazzo", don't give the 'cartel' satisfaction. Choose cremation and make sure your relatives scatter a part of your ashes in your nurse's hair.

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