06/03/15 Linguine with Meatballs

"Che mangiamo oggi? Pane, pesce fritto e baccala!" (What are we going to eat today? Bread, fried fish and dried cod. There's nothing much to eat.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Artichoke and Parmigiano Cheese Risotto
  -Linguine with Meatballs
  -Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa

"Buongiorno!" We appreciate you stopping for a moment in your busy day to take a look at what Italian recipe could light up your kitchen with wonderful sights and aromas. Our new harvest is almost in and we're looking forward to reconnecting with our "herb friends" all over the natural world!

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa

Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa
Melanzane alla Griglia con Caponata


One 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 large green olives, pitted, thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano plus sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon drained capers, rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
1 large eggplant (1 and 1/2 to 1 and 3/4 pounds), trimmed


Mix the tomatoes, celery, onion, olives, chopped oregano, capers, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl.

Whisk the red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl.

Pour over tomato mixture and toss to coat.

Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the barbecue (at medium-high heat).

Peel eggplant lengthwise to create alternating 2-inch-wide intervals of peeled and unpeeled skin.

Cut the eggplant crosswise into 6 slices, each about 1-inch thick.

Brush eggplant slices with the olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill the eggplant slices until slightly charred and very tender when pierced with knife, about 8 minutes per side.

Place 1 grilled eggplant slice on each of 6 plates.

Spoon caponata over.

Garnish with oregano sprigs, and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Linguine with Meatballs

Linguine with Meatballs
Linguine con Polpette


1 and 1/4 pounds meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal, not mixed together)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup sweet (red) vermouth
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 and 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound thin linguine or spaghetti
1/3 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Break meat into 1 and 1/2-inch pieces (do not mix the meats).

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over a medium-high heat until it shimmers.

Cook the meat with cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over a medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until pale golden in spots (insides will not be fully cooked), about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet and cook onion, carrots, and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the vermouth and red-pepper flakes and bring to a boil.

Whisk cornstarch into a broth.

Stir into the onion mixture and return to a boil, stirring.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the meat, juices from the plate, celery, and lemon juice and simmer until meat is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

Cook the linguine in a pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooked pasta water.

Drain the pasta.

Add to meat along with celery leaves and cook over a medium-low heat until just heated through.

Add the pasta water to moisten if needed.

Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Artichoke and Parmigiano Cheese Risotto

Artichoke and Parmigiano Cheese Risotto
Risotto di Carciofo e Parmigiano


5 and 1/2 cups (or more) chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
8 baby artichokes, trimmed, halved
1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese


Bring the broth to simmer in a saucepan.

Remove from heat.

Cover and keep warm.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Add the onion.

Saute until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.

Pat the artichokes dry and add to pot.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook until the artichokes begin to brown, stirring often, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the rice.

Stir for 2 minutes.

Add the wine.

Stir until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups warm of chicken broth.

Cook until absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Add more broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next and stirring often, until the rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes longer.

Remove from heat.

Stir in the cheese and 1 tablespoon butter.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to bowl and serve. Makes 6 to 8 (side-dish or 4 main-course) servings.

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:

Here comes that same new idea for Italian schools

Rome - January 30, 2015 - Students at Italian primary schools will soon be able to learn subjects in English, Italy's education minister has announced.

"From September there will be the possibility to have proper English professors who teach, working alongside the teacher, a subject in English,? the minister told the news agency.

At the moment the measure is focusing on pupils of primary school age, rather than older schoolchildren, the minister said.

"I know that it will take time,? the minister stated. "We are setting up a national model for the next generation of English teachers.?

The new selection process for teachers will also target Italian language teachers for children who are not native speakers, the minister said, reflecting Italy's growing linguistic diversity.

Never fails... Every time Italy gets a new DIY government, whoever's turn it is to be the Minister of Education wipes the dust off the idea of introducing school subjects in English.

Before setting up that model, how about if we fix a few quirks we have with the Italian language?

- English children are taught to avoid a run-on sentence and lighten sentences of unnecessary words. What insane academic committee stated it's fine to teach Italian children how to write one sentence that covers an entire page? "The quick brown (insert 68 words) jumps over the lazy (insert another 51 words and a brief life story)."

- This passionate love affair Italians have with the semicolon has to come to an end. It has always had a reputation of being worthless punctuation. We see enough of it in our Italian utility bills, cooking recipes and children's comic books!

- The English are taught to write clear and to the point. It's like modern art, less is more. Why use four words when one will do fine? Italians are taught to write more like Dante. Why write about one circle of hell when you have nine? A production of Hamlet is less complicated that an Italian third grader's description of what he did for Easter vacation.

Last but not least, we'll be looking forward to the teachers' class notes in English such as the following:

- "Per festeggiare la sufficienza in arte Lorenzo S. spara un fumogeno dalla finestra dell'aula."
"To celebrate his passing grade in art Lorenzo S. fired a smoke bomb from the classroom window."

- "(In nord italia) L'alunno D.L. giustifica l'assenza del 10/11/2014 per: Ha ceduto una diga in Puglia (sud italia)."
(In north Italy) "Student Dario L. justifies his absence of 10/11/2014 for: A dam broke in Puglia (south Italy).

- "L'alunno Alessandro S. assente il 16/03/2008, motivo: Dovevo picchiare bene il mio cugino? "Student Alessandro S. absent on 16/03/2008, motive: I had to give a good beating to my cousin."

- "Met?della classe ?assente, l'altra met?tenta di convincermi che gli assenti non sono mai esistiti.? "Half of the class is absent, the other half is trying to convince me that the absent never existed."

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