05/03/05 Insalata di Polipo from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Buon Giorno! Tanti saluti dalla Sicilia!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Insalata di Polpo
  -Spaghetti con Salsa di Pomodori Secchi
  -Involtini di Vitello

Give them a try!

We hope you enjoy the recipes in this week's issue and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

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 Recipe: Insalata di Polipo

Insalata di Polipo
Octupus Salad


2 1/2 lb cleaned baby octopuses, thawed if frozen
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (preferably Sicilian)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano


Rinse octopuses under cold water, then cover with water by 2 inches in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot. Bring to a boil with bay leaf, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until octopuses are tender (tentacles can easily be pierced with a fork), about 45 minutes.

Transfer octopuses to a colander with tongs, then discard cooking liquid and bay leaf. When cool enough to handle, cut off and discard heads and halve octopuses lengthwise. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. Toss octopuses with dressing and marinate, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes at room temperature.

Cooks' notes:
-If you can't find baby octopuses, you can substitute a 2 1/2-lb regular octopus, though the texture will not be as delicate. Discard head of regular octopus, then cut body and tentacles into 2-inch pieces; follow baby- octopus cooking procedure (above), but simmer about 1 1/2 hours rather than 45 minutes.
-If your sea salt is very granular and pebblelike, crush it using the flat side of a large heavy knife or the bottom of a heavy skillet.
-Octopuses can be cooked and cut (but not tossed with dressing) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Makes 10 servings (as part of antipasti).

That's it!

 Recipe: Spaghetti con Salsa di Pomodori Secchi

Spaghetti con Salsa di Pomodori Secchi
Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce


5 slices pancetta (1/4 lb), finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 lb spaghetti
1 oz finely grated parmesan (1/2 cup)


Cook pancetta in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet.

Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add cream, tomatoes, and pancetta and simmer until cream is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

Add pasta and cheese to sauce and toss to coat pasta, adding enough reserved cooking water to thin sauce as desired. Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Involtini di Vitello

Involtini di Vitello
Veal Involtini


4 cups fine fresh bread crumbs (from 10 slices firm white sandwich bread)
2 lb veal cutlets (no more than 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/4 cups)
1 1/4 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 large white onion, cut into 8 wedges and layers separated

Special equipment: 7 (10- to 12-inch) metal skewers


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread crumbs in a shallow baking pan and toast, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Gently pound veal cutlets to slightly less than 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin, then cut into roughly 4- by 3-inch pieces.

Stir together parsley, garlic, 3/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until a paste forms.

Stir together bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Season cutlets lightly with salt and pepper and spread 1 side of each piece with 1 teaspoon parsley-garlic paste.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Roll up veal pieces (paste sides up), starting from a short side. Put remaining cup oil in a bowl and dip each roll in it, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread-crumb mixture, pressing gently to help crumbs adhere. Transfer to baking sheet.

Thread 1 veal roll onto a skewer, then 1 piece of onion, leaving about 1/4 inch between. Repeat on same skewer 2 more times, then transfer skewer to baking sheet. Assemble 6 more skewers in same manner (last skewer will have only 2 rolls).

Prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately high.

Grill veal on a lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using gas grill, turning over once, until rolls are golden, about 6 minutes total.

Remove veal and onion from skewers and serve immediately.

Cooks' notes:
-Veal and onion can be threaded onto skewers 1 day ahead and chilled, loosely covered.
-If you're unable to grill outdoors, you can broil veal and onion skewers. Preheat broiler and lightly oil rack of a broiler pan. Broil skewers in 2 batches 4 to 6 inches from heat, turning over once, until golden, about 6 minutes per batch. Makes 10 main-course servings.

That's it!

Submit Your Thoughts


 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:

Depleted Mafia Looking to Sicily for New Recruits.

American mobsters are returning to their roots, looking to Sicily for wise guys who won't squeal.

Associated Press TOM RACHMAN March 13 - ROME - Ratted on by fellow wise guys and hounded by police, struggling American mobsters are recruiting their Sicilian brethren, believing that hardheaded gangsters from the island are more likely to keep their mouths shut, U.S. and Italian organized-crime officials say.

Matthew Heron, assistant special agent in charge of the organized-crime branch in the FBI's New York office, said the combination of convictions and turncoats had led to "a leadership vacuum" in some crime gangs, particularly the Bonannos and the New York faction of the DeCavalcante family.

"They have reached out toward Sicily to bring some people over to fill some gaps, with part of that rationale being the thought that the Sicilians are much more inclined to maintain the sacred vow of silence," he said in a phone interview from New York.

"We're just now starting to see them here in the United States. It would not be accurate to say they have assumed leadership roles within the family. But by virtue of the fact that they are here, they are establishing themselves," Heron said.

"In the foreseeable future, it's safe to say we expect to see them assuming leadership."

Heron noted that La Cosa Nostra in America has always avoided going after U.S. law enforcement. "From what we've been told, that's not necessarily the case with the Sicilians."


In a further U.S.-Sicilian tie, American mobsters are believed to be sending their local recruits to the island for lessons in thuggery.

"They send them here to Sicily to make them become men of honor, to make them do training, because in America there's this attack on the values -- there's no respect anymore," mobster Antonino Giuffre told investigators, according to remarks published last week by the ANSA news agency.

"The American Mafia is different and it needs some of our qualities."

"Every now and then, they'll send someone whose origins are in these areas so they can do a bit of Mafia lessons," chief Palermo prosecutor Piero Grasso said.

Sicilian gangsters infiltrated the United States among the waves of immigrants who arrived at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century.


"The Sicilian and American groups have affected each other reciprocally according to circumstances," said Prof. Salvatore Lupo, a Mafia expert at the University of Palermo.

"They have a common heritage. But from what we know, they're not the same thing."

As for the new recruits, authorities say they are not aware of any plans by Sicilian mobsters to launch attacks against American officials. But they are keeping a close watch.

"These folks coming over from Sicily are of a different mind-set," Heron said. "It's not outside the realm of possibility, and it's something we want to keep a close eye on."

Mafia 101 - Class in session:

First of all, why should the Sicilian Mafia deal with the American Mafia? That's the same as putting an end to the marvelous entertainment of watching mafia members in the States imitating their favorite Goodfellas and Sopranos actors?

Of course, there's no respect anymore for them. Have you ever seen the way they act? They should start their own off-Broadway show and charge admission.

"Ratted on by fellow wise guys and hounded by police..."

How could they avoid being ratted out? Walk into any lower to middle class Italian neighborhood anywhere in the States and throw a rock. You'll hit at least 7-8 suspects. And the police hounding? The police spends $80 a year on mafia film DVDs, give private screenings in the precincts, and then go out and round up anyone who looks and acts remotely similar to the actors.

The following homework is to be completed by any so called mafia member in the States reading this newsletter:

1.) Put away the matching jogging suits; no one will believe a fat Italian guy that wears a jogging suit every day and never breaks a sweat is jogging.

2.) Avoid the upper class Italian restaurants in the lower class Italian neighborhoods; no one will believe you're eating there just because they make great Veal Marsala.

3.) Tell your wife/girlfriend/lover to shut her big trap; no one wants to hear how much Tony, Frankie, or Armando make for a living.

4.) Buy your pizza slice and leave immediately; no one wants to hear you spent 5 hours last night hanging out at the 30 by 40 foot pizzeria.

We could go on and on but I'm sure they're overwhelmed already!

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 Bistecche Impanate
 Cacciucco Livornese
 Calamari Liparese
 Eggplant Caponata
 Insalata di Polpo
 Penne alla Crudaiola
 Rana Pescatrice and Piselli
 Scaloppine al Limone

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