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 06/04/08 Eggplant, Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Parmigiano Torte from OreganoFromItaly.com

"A caval donato non si guarda in bocca." (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Torte di Melanzane, Zucchine, Peperone e Parmigiano
  -Risotto ai Funghi Selvatici
  -Gelato di Fragola

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

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Torte di Melanzane, Zucchine, Peperone e Parmigiano

Torte di Melanzane, Zucchine, Peperone e Parmigiano
Eggplant, Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Parmigiano Torte

Ingredients:

2 large onions (about 1 lb)
1 garlic clove
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
A 26 to 32-ounce container chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 and 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 large eggplants (about 2 and 1/2 lbs total)
4 large zucchini (about 1 and 3/4 lbs total)
4 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
6 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 cups)

Directions:

Halve onions through root end and thinly slice.

Finely chop garlic.

In a large heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in 2 tablespoons olive oil, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes.

Add garlic and cook mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until any liquid onions give off is evaporated.

Add tomatoes with juice, sage, and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until excess liquid is evaporated and mixture is very thick.

Season mixture with salt and pepper and cool.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Brush at least 2 shallow baking pans with some remaining olive oil.

Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange in one layer in baking pans.

Brush eggplant slices with some remaining olive oil and roast in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through roasting time, until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.

Cool eggplant 5 minutes and transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain.

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and roast in same manner until tender and pale golden, about 25 minutes.

Cool zucchini 5 minutes and transfer to paper towels to drain.

Quarter bell peppers lengthwise and discard stems, seeds, and ribs.

Arrange peppers, skin sides up, in oiled baking pans and brush with some remaining olive oil.

Roast peppers in same manner until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Cool peppers 5 minutes and transfer to paper towels to drain.

In a 1 and 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour.

Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes and whisk in milk and cream.

Bring mixture to a boil, whisking, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and cool sauce 5 minutes.

Whisk in eggs, two thirds Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 F. and lightly oil a 14 x 10 x 2 and 1/2-inch or other 3 and 1/2-quart shallow baking dish.

In baking dish arrange half of eggplant, overlapping slices to form an even layer, and season with salt and pepper.

Top eggplant with half of tomato mixture, spreading evenly, and pour about one third Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese custard over it.

Nestle half of zucchini in custard and season with salt and pepper.

Top zucchini with half of peppers. Repeat layering, reserving half of remaining custard for topping.

Pour reserved custard over final layer of peppers and sprinkle with remaining grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Bake torte in middle of oven until custard is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Let torte stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8 as a main course or 10 as a side dish.

That's it!


 Recipe: Risotto ai Funghi Selvatici

Risotto ai Funghi Selvatici
Wild Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients:

5 cups chicken broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 and 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
12 ounces crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
1 and 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
Additional grated Parmigiano cheese

Directions:

Bring broth to simmer in heavy medium saucepan.

Add porcini and simmer until just tender, about 2 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to plate. Cool mushrooms and chop finely.

Cover broth and keep warm over very low heat.

Melt butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

Add onions; saute until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add crimini mushrooms; saute until tender, about 8 minutes.

Add porcini mushrooms, garlic and both herbs; saute 4 minutes.

Add rice; stir 2 minutes.

Add wine; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup hot broth; simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 8 minutes.

Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 30 minutes.

Mix in 1/2 cup cheese.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing additional cheese separately. Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.

That's it!


 Recipe: Gelato di Fragola

Gelato di Fragola
Strawberry Gelato

Ingredients:

1 cup minus 1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
1 cup bottled or filtered still water (not distilled)
1 lb strawberries (about 1 pint)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lightly beaten egg white

Directions:

In a small heavy saucepan heat sugar and water over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Cool syrup.

Trim strawberries and in a food processor puree until smooth.

Transfer 2 cups puree to a bowl, reserving remainder for another use, and stir in syrup and lemon juice.

Chill strawberry mixture until cold and up to 1 day.

Stir in egg white and freeze in an ice-cream maker.

Serve gelato immediately or transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden no more than 3 hours. Makes about 1 quart.

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:

Weird Parties Try to Dazzle Voters with Election Symbols

Rome - March 3, 2008 - From the "No Garbage" party, to the "Don't row against the tide" party, to "Dr. Cirillo's party of existentialist impotents", there will be something for everyone in Italy's general election in April.

177 symbols of political parties, movements, lists, sub-lists, sub-parties and a myriad of other groupings were presented to the Interior Ministry by Sunday's deadline.

Amid the usual forest of symbols with shields and crosses, flags, hammers and sickles, doves, suns, trees and seas, there are some symbols that raise eyebrows more than normal.

The symbol of the "No Monnezza" list takes its name from the Neapolitan slang for "no garbage," and is a sub list of an "animal rights" party of the southern Campania region. The region has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Its governor will stand trial in May in connection with the garbage crisis around the city of Naples, where tens of thousands of tonnes of rubbish have piled up in the streets.

There is the "Holy Roman Empire" list, which describes itself as "Liberal-Catholic". The symbol sports the picture of its founder, Mirella Cece, who started the group 21 years ago.

The symbol for "Dr. Cirillo's party of existentialist impotents" (black lettering on a plain white background) gives no hint of whether the good doctor is referring to political or sexual impotence. It is symbol number 132. Dr. Cirillo appears to be a budding political mover and shaker in constant evolution. In past elections, he led the "Good Manners Party" and the "Free Condoms Party".

The hammer and sickle may be disappearing in Russia but no fewer than eight symbols sport it. The one with the longest name is "The Italian Communist Marxist Leninist Party".

Nearly 25 parties made it into the outgoing parliament, where small splinter groupings can often have a disproportionate influence on Italy's coalition politics.

Three parties descended from the now defunct Christian Democrats have symbols with a shield and cross, five far-right parties have a tri-colored flame that was once the symbol of neo-fascists.

There is a florist's shop of roses, carnations, and ivy decorating various symbols.

Those who feel that Italy is in dire economic straits and mired in social stagnation may be drawn to the "S.O.S. Italy Party," which has aligned itself with the center right headed by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The name of Beppe Grillo, a popular comic crusader who has urged Italians to say "F... off" to traditional politics, appears on six symbols, including one saying he should be prime minister and not front runners Berlusconi and Walter Veltroni.

Amid all the noise and haste of large parties, tiny parties, Sicilian and Sardinian separatists, rightists, leftists, and middle-of-the-roaders, perhaps one party will sound seductive to many.

Its symbol merely says: "I don't vote".

Holy Roman Empire"Holy Roman Empire": One photo of Mirella Cece's mesmerizing and incredibly attractive face was obviously not enough so, she added an additional two...of the same photo! She should be thrown to the lions.

 

 

Bread Peace Work"Bread Peace Work": How far are you going to trust a political party that promises a weird combination of three necessities on a crappy makeshift raft? The rough seas should blow that raft and its politicians to Tom Hank's miserable island without bread, peace, or work.

 

 

Consumers List"Consumers List": There are symbols of roses, carnations, trees and seas. Then you have a fat frog that gives the "malocchio" (evil eye) with a stupid smirk on his face.

 

 

100%"100%": If elected we promise you 100% that we will do all we can to make 100% sure that 100% of our friends and families will be given well-paid government jobs at 100% of the taxpayers' expense.

 

 

Existentialist Impotents"Existentialist Impotents": Ladies, make sure to stop by the campaign headquarters and rallies of this dysfunctional political party if you want to meet some healthy, fun loving, exciting Italian men.

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