04/27/11 Mediterranean Chicken

"In bocca al lupo." (Into the mouth of a wolf. Break a leg! Used by students to wish each other good luck before exams, the response to which is "Crepi!" or may it die!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Peas
  -Mediterranean Chicken
  -Chocolate Amaretti Cakes

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Peas

Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Peas
Fettuccine con Salmone Affumicato e Piselli


1 and 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

12 ounces dried fettuccine pasta
8 ounces small sugar snap peas (about 2 cups), strings removed, or thawed frozen shelled peas

1 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 5)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips


Boil wine in medium saucepan until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 8 minutes.

Remove wine from heat and whisk in creme fraiche.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente', stirring occasionally.

Add sugar snap or shelled peas to same pot and cook until peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Drain pasta and peas, then return to pot.

Pour creme fraiche mixture over pasta and peas.

Add green onions, parsley, and thyme; toss to coat.

Add salmon; toss again.

Season pasta with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among plates and serve. Serves 4-6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean Chicken
Pollo Mediterraneo


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 and 1/2 lbs)

1 and 1/2 lbs assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini, and stemmed shiitake), sliced
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
3 plum tomatoes, seeded, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 tablespoon (1/4 stick) chilled butter
1 cup teardrop tomatoes (red and yellow)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 200F.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over high heat.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Working in 2 batches, add chicken to skillet.

Cook until brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to ovenproof plate and place in oven to keep warm.

Discard olive oil from skillet.

Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to same skillet over high heat.

Add mushrooms; saute until wilted and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.

Add broth; boil until almost all liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Add olives, plum tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and capers.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes.

Add butter; stir until melted.

Mix in teardrop tomatoes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken.

Sprinkle parsley and pine nuts over and serve. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chocolate Amaretti Cakes

Chocolate Amaretti Cakes
Torte di Cioccolato e Amaretti


For the Cakes:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Twelve 1 and 1/2-inch-diameter Amaretti cookies (Italian macaroons), about 2.6 ounces total
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs

For the Topping:
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 Amaretti cookies, crumbled


Prepare the Cakes:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F.

Butter four 3/4-cup custard cups or souffle dishes.

Dust with flour; tap out excess.

Line bottom of cups with parchment paper rounds.

Place on rimmed baking sheet.

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth.

Using on/off turns, blend almonds, amaretti, cinnamon, and salt in processor until finely ground.

Transfer to medium bowl.

Add butter, sugar, and eggs to processor; mix until blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes.

Add cookie mixture and melted chocolate.

Using on/off turns, process just until blended.

Divide batter among custard cups.

Bake until tops of cakes are dry and puffed and tester inserted into centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes.

Transfer cups to rack; cool 15 minutes.

Run small knife around edges of cups to release cakes.

Turn tortes out onto rack and turn right side up; cool.

Prepare the Topping:
Beat together cream, sugar, and almond extract in medium bowl until cream holds peaks.

Place 1 cake on each of 4 plates.

Top with dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle with crumbled amaretti, and serve. Makes 4.

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:

Marriage Annulled After Wife Thought About Having An Affair

Rome - November 8, 2010 - Italy's highest appeals court on Monday confirmed the annulment of a marriage on the grounds that the wife thought of having an affair but never in fact had one.

"We fully support the lower court's findings even though there was no evidence of the woman frequenting other men," the Cassation Court said in its ruling, which sets a precedent.

The woman, who was not named, was trying to have the ruling overturned to benefit from no-blame financial arrangements including alimony. After the high court's apparently draconian verdict she will be left to look out for herself.

According to judicial sources, both the husband and wife told judges that she had often "theorized" the freethinking idea that a marriage does not necessarily have to be based on sexual fidelity, but "never put the idea into practice".

Wife: "Ignazio, I want to try something different with the chicken for dinner. What do you suggest?"
Husband: "The chicken?! What do you mean something diff...you 'puttana'! Who is he?"

Another lesson in Italian life: Italians do not come together primarily for love. Well, not the kind of love that Americans would understand...that romantic kind; the kind that obliges you to pledge your undying love to that one and only, blah-blah-blah. For most this ideal is something to strive and desire, and you feel stupid and guilty when you fall short of the mark.

Him/her: "(sob, sniff) what did I do wrong?"
Him/her (respond): Oh, please! "Per favore!"

The expectations of Italians tend to be different, especially towards marriage.

A marriage to us is a vow, a contract, a commitment. A spouse is chosen because, all things considered, he or she would make a good partner for the 'family', rather than for personal, romantic, sentimental, or sexual reasons.

Do we cheat? "Minchia," sure!

70% of coupled men cheat, an indication of that fact Italian men have never been and continue not to be a faithful flock. BUT the statistic is almost matched by the Italian women with 64%.

Therefore, we feel this marriage should be annulled but on the grounds of imbecility. If a wife "theorizes" the idea of cheating, it can only mean her lover was too repulsive to jump in the sack with, and her taste in men might be questioned by her whoring friends.

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