04/30/08 Potato Gnocchi with Beef Ragu from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Fra il dire e il fare c'e' di mezzo il mare." (An ocean lies between what is said and what is done.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Crostini con Cipolla Rossa
  -Rigatoni con Ragu di Agnello Brasati
  -Gnocchi di Patate con Ragu di Carne

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Crostini con Cipolla Rossa

Crostini con Cipolla Rossa
Red Onion Crostini


3 tablespoons plus 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
3 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Six 5 x 3 x 1/2 inch slices country-style bread, toasted
Chopped fresh parsley


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

Add pancetta; saute 3 minutes.

Add onions, garlic, lemon juice and fennel seeds; saute until onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Drizzle each toast slice with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Divide onion mixture among toasts.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Rigatoni con Ragu di Agnello Brasati

Rigatoni con Ragu di Agnello Brasati
Rigatoni with Braised Lamb Ragu


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 lamb shanks (each about 3/4 lb)
2 cups chopped onions
1 lb small button mushrooms, halved
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups beef stock or beef broth
1 and 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in puree
1 and 1/4 lbs rigatoni pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Preheat oven to 325° F.

Heat olive oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over high heat.

Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper.

Add to pot and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes.

Transfer lamb shanks to platter.

Add onions, mushrooms, garlic, basil, rosemary and crushed red pepper to pot and saute until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Return lamb to pot.

Add wine and boil until liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes.

Add 3 cups beef stock and tomatoes to pot; return to boil.

Cover pot, transfer to oven and bake until lamb is tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Using tongs, transfer lamb to large bowl. Cool 10 minutes.

Cut meat off bones into generous 1/2-inch pieces (discard bones).

Return meat to sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

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

Drain well. Transfer pasta to large serving bowl.

Spoon sauce over pasta. Serve, passing Parmigiano cheese separately. Serves 6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Gnocchi di Patate con Ragu di Carne

Gnocchi di Patate con Ragu di Carne
Potato Gnocchi with Beef Ragu


For the Ragu:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 and 3/4 cups chopped onions
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
2 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 lbs ground chuck
4 cups beef stock or beef broth
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

For the Gnocchi:
4 small russet potatoes (22 to 24 ounces total), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 and 1/2 cups (about) all purpose flour


Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.

Add onions, pancetta, prosciutto, and garlic and saute until mixture begins to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add ground chuck and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with fork, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup stock, mushrooms, and sage. Simmer until liquid is almost absorbed, about 4 minutes.

Add remaining 3 cups stock, 1 cup at a time, simmering until liquid is almost absorbed before adding more.

Mix in tomato paste, then tomatoes with juices.

Simmer until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally and thinning with about 1 cup water every 30 minutes, about 1 and 1/2 hours (sauce will be medium-thick consistency). (Can be prepared up to 4 days ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover; keep refrigerated.)

Steam potatoes over boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes.

Working in batches, press warm potatoes through ricer into large bowl (or place warm potatoes in large bowl and mash finely with potato masher).

Cool until lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Add egg, cream, salt, and nutmeg and blend well. Add 1 and 1/2 cups flour and mix until soft and slightly sticky dough forms, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if too moist.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Divide into 6 equal portions.

Gently roll 1 dough portion between hands and work surface to 3/4-inch-thick rope about 20 inches long.

Cut into 3/4-inch-long pieces.

Roll each piece over wires of slender whisk or dinner fork to make grooves in gnocchi.

Arrange gnocchi in single layer on floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 5 dough portions.

Cook 1/3 of gnocchi in large pot of boiling generously salted water until gnocchi rise to top and are cooked through and tender, about 5 minutes (check at 4 minutes).

Using large strainer or slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to large baking pan; arrange gnocchi in single layer.

Cook remaining gnocchi in 2 batches. (Gnocchi can be prepared ahead. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.)

For the serving:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
Wedge of Parmigiano cheese
Fresh sage sprigs (optional)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.

Add gnocchi and cook until heated through, tossing often, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, rewarm ragł over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle ragł into large shallow bowls.

Spoon gnocchi over.

Using vegetable peeler, shave Parmigiano cheese over gnocchi.

Garnish with fresh sage, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

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:

Man Fined For Staring Too Insistently

Lecco - April 17 - An Italian court on Thursday slapped a suspended ten-day jail sentence and a 40-euro fine on a man who stared too hard at a fellow passenger on a train.

The 30-year-old man was found guilty of harassment after looking at a woman in the same train compartment "too insistently" while they traveled on the Sondrio-Milan regional train.

According to the 55-year-old woman, the man had sat "too close" to her on the previous day's journey after asking her to move her coat. The next day the man did not speak to the woman, but sat in front of her staring in a way she found "impertinent and inappropriate". The woman reported the man to the railway police after she got off the train.

The man, who claims he was looking at the woman only because she happened to be sitting directly in front of him, has lodged an appeal.

"Impertinent and inappropriate?"
"Cara Signora, ma vaffanculo!"

It's difficult to guess what the highlight of his day was; the alarm clock waking him up at 5:30 a.m., running like a mad man to the station to catch the train to work, or taking his first customer service call.

To create such a fuss, this woman must have looked like Sophia Loren or Mussolini.

Look, folks, no one is shameful anymore.
There is no shame in Italian society.

Why doesn't he just wear a shirt that says, "I'm impertinent, inappropriate and stupid!" Maybe that will satisfy her.

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