06/09/10 Sicilian Caponata

"Chi ha avuto ha avuto e chi ha dato ha dato." (What's done is done.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Sicilian Caponata
  -Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
  -Zesty Lemon Chicken

"A tavola non si invecchia." (You don't age while seated for a meal.) Enjoy your recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Sicilian Caponata

Sicilian Caponata
Caponata Siciliana


11 tbs (160 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) dice
4.2 oz (120 grams) celery, tender part only, cut on an angle into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide slices
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) dice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp harissa paste
1/3 lb (150 grams) canned tomatoes
2 tbs red-wine vinegar
3/4 oz (20 grams) capers
1 oz (30 grams) green olives, pitted and halved
1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tbs chopped parsley
1 oz (30 grams) raisins (optional)
Salt and black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saute pan.

Lay in the eggplant and fry for five to seven minutes, until golden-brown, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggplant to a colander and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

After a few minutes, transfer to soak on a paper towel.

Add the celery to the hot olive oil, fry for three minutes, add the pepper and cook for two minutes.

Transfer to the colander, then to a paper towel.

Saute the onion and harissa in the olive oil (add a little more to the pan, if needed) for 7 minutes, until soft and golden.

Drain off any excess oil from the pan, add the tomatoes and vinegar, stir and bring to a simmer.

Add the fried vegetables, capers, olives and sugar, and season. If the mix is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the raisins (if using), taste and adjust the seasoning.

Leave till it arrives to room temperature, add the lemon juice and parsley, and taste for seasoning again.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
Pizza Rucola e Prosciutto


1/2 batch thin-crust pizza dough
All-purpose flour for dusting
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 and 1/2 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
6 ounces arugula
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 4 large slices)
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler


Prepare a hot fire in a grill and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes, until the thermometer on the stone registers 500F.

Using a rolling pin or your hands, gently roll out or stretch the dough into a 10-inch round.

Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour and lay the dough on top.

Lightly brush the dough with olive oil.

Scatter the onion over the dough and top with the mozzarella cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone, cover the grill and bake until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Take the pizza out and transfer it to a cutting board and cut into slices.

In a bowl, toss together the arugula, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and scatter evenly over the pizza.

Cut each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise and drape over the arugula.

Top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately. Serves 2.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Zesty Lemon Chicken

Zesty Lemon Chicken
Pollo Piccante al Limone


1 chicken (about 3 to 3.5 lbs), cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp coarsely ground fresh white pepper
1 tsp sea salt


Rinse the chicken pieces, pat dry, and place in a deep pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and white pepper.

Mix well.

Set aside and refrigerate 1/4 cup of the mixture, and pour the remainder over the chicken.

Place the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for 3 hours, turning pieces every half hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, discard the marinade, season the chicken with salt, place in a roasting pan, and roast, turning to brown on all sides.

Spoon the reserved 1/4 cup of lemon juice mixture over the chicken as it roasts. Test for doneness by piercing with a knife; chicken will be done when juices run clear and dark meat is tender, about an hour. Serves 3 to 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:

Bored Italian Kids Set Fire To School

Rome - May 3, 2010 - A group of bored youths set fire to their school in a small northern Italian town on Sunday.

The seven youths aged 12-16 lit a fire in a storeroom under the dining room but neither the cafeteria nor any adjoining classrooms were damaged, police said.

The youths, who are known for disturbing the peace, told police they did it as "a prank to relieve the boredom of a Sunday with nothing to do".

The school at Bernareggio near Monza opened as normal Monday.

The Italian school system is offered "free" to all children in Italy regardless of nationality. Mind you the key word here is "free" therefore, the system's reputation is strongly associated with the definition of this cheap word.

Unfortunately, it tends to focus on routine memorization and obedience and, "mamma mia", God forbid an Italian teacher would give the slightest suggestion of introducing creativity in the classroom. That would be grounds for a psychiatric examination and possible suspension.

The grading system is quite simple, 1-10: 1 if the student is only capable of stating his/her name at the exam without breaking a sweat and 10 if the student is able to advise the teacher their father is a notable local politician.

Some of our stupendous Italian schools:

Liceo Classico (Classical High School): Lasts for five years and tries to prepare the student for university level studies. Italian literature along with meaningless subjects such Latin and Greek form the so-called important part of the curriculum. During the last three years philosophy and history of art completes the bland recipe of the "Minestrone of Liceo Classico".

Liceo Scientifico (Scientific High School): Lasts for five years with an emphasis on physics, chemistry and natural sciences. The program would seem promising for the future engineer or physician if it weren't for the requirement of learning the extinct language of Latin...and another modern language.

Liceo Artistico (Fine Arts High School): Studies can last four to five years and prepare for university studies in painting, sculpture or architecture. A very fulfilling and rich program if only the Vatican would consider hiring your son/daughter to redesign or repaint the Sistine Chapel.

Istituto Magistrale (Teacher Training School): Studies last for five years and prepare future primary school teachers. There is also a three year training course for nursery school teachers. Unfortunately, this inadequate diploma does not entitle students to then enroll at a university but at least they'll have the scholastic credentials to go and teach future generations.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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