06/11/08 Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Amicu ca non ti duna, parendi ca non ti mpresta, fuili comu la pesta." (Friend who won't give, relatives who won't lend you a hand, avoid them like the plague.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Torte di Riso con Salvia e Cipolla
  -Gnocchi con Sugo di Funghi
  -Linguine con Pesto di Pomodori Secchi

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 Riso con Salvia e Cipolla

Torte di Riso con Salvia e Cipolla
Sage, Onion and Wild-Rice Risotto Cakes


For the wild-rice risotto:
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup wild rice
5 to 6 cups light vegetable stock or broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh sage
3 yellow onions, finely chopped (3 cups)
3 large celery ribs, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 and 1/2 cups Arborio rice (1 lb)
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated fresh Parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 large eggs, separated
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Prepare the wild-rice risotto:
Bring water with salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then simmer wild rice, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rice stand in cooking liquid, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Drain rice in a sieve set over a saucepan and reserve rice.

Add vegetable stock to cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Keep liquid hot, covered, over low heat.

Heat butter and olive oil in a 6 to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute sage, stirring, 1 minute.

Add onions and saute, stirring, until softened.

Stir in celery with salt to taste and saute, stirring, until onions begin to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Stir in Arborio rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.

Add wine, thyme, and pepper to taste and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed.

Stir in 1 cup hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed.

Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, and simmering, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still 'al dente' and creamy-looking and liquid is absorbed, 20 to 22 minutes.

Toward end of cooking, stir in wild rice.

Remove pot from heat and stir in Parmigiano cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cool risotto and chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 12.

Bring risotto to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.

Prepare the risotto cakes:
Lightly beat yolks and stir into risotto.

Beat whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks.

Stir half of whites into risotto to lighten slightly and fold in remaining whites.

Let batter stand at room temperature 15 minutes before proceeding.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.

Scoop 4 (rounded 1/4-cup) mounds of batter into skillet, flattening with back of a spoon to form cakes 3 inches across by 1/2 inch thick.

Cook cakes until golden brown on underside (this is critical to prevent cakes from breaking when turning), adjusting heat if browning too quickly, 5 minutes.

Carefully turn cakes over with a metal spatula and cook until golden brown on underside, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer as browned to a large shallow baking pan and arrange in one layer.

Make more cakes in same manner, wiping skillet clean with paper towels between batches and adding more olive oil as necessary.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Just before serving, bake risotto cakes until sizzling, about 6 minutes.

Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings (as a main course). (Makes about 32 cakes.)

That's it!

 Recipe: Gnocchi con Sugo di Funghi

Gnocchi con Sugo di Funghi
Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce


For the Gnocchi:
1 and 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
7 tablespoons (about) all purpose flour

For the Mushroom Sauce:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

3 cups coarsely chopped Arugula
1/2 teaspoon (about) white truffle oil (optional)*
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese


For the gnocchi:
Preheat oven to 450 F.

Pierce potatoes with fork.

Bake until tender, about 1 hour.

Cool slightly; cut potatoes in half and scoop pulp into large bowl. Mash potatoes well.

Mix in egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Mix in enough flour to form firm, slightly elastic dough.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions.

Gently roll 1 portion between hands and work surface to form 1/2-inch-thick rope about 18 inches long.

Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

Roll each piece over tines of dinner fork to make grooves in gnocchi.

Arrange gnocchi in single layer on floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of dough.

Working in small batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until gnocchi rise to top and are tender, about 5 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to large baking pan. (Gnocchi can be prepared ahead. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.)

For the mushroom sauce:
Cook butter and olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat until butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add stock and sage; simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add gnocchi to sauce in skillet and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Add arugula and stir until wilted.

Divide equally among bowls.

Drizzle with truffle oil, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 Servings.

*Note: Available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.

That's it!

 Recipe: Linguine con Pesto di Pomodori Secchi

Linguine con Pesto di Pomodori Secchi
Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 lb linguine


Blend first 5 ingredients in processor until nuts are finely chopped.

With machine running, gradually add olive oil, then 1/2 cup water, blending until almost smooth. Transfer pesto to bowl.

Mix in 1/3 cup cheese. Season to taste with salt.

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente', stirring occasionally.

Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

Return pasta to pot. Add pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved water to form thin sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve, passing remaining cheese. Makes 4 to 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:

Pathetic Salaries Force Young to Stay Home With Mamma

Rome - January 31, 2008 - An increasing number of young adult Italians remain with their families because of low wages offered for entry level jobs, according to a new report.

The socio-economic think-tank Isae said that the number of young adults staying home had climbed by 6% in 13 years and today about 75% still lived with their parents. According to Isae, 68.4% of young adults lived with their parents in 1991 while in 2004 this percentage rose to 74.1%. In 1991, the think-tank pointed out, first job salaries were 83% of the average national salary, while in 2004 they were only 74%.

Last October Economy Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa sparked controversy when he referred to the young adult Italians living at home as "big babies".

"Let's get these big babies out of the home," the minister told a parliamentary committee in regard to a budget measure to set aside funds to help young adults pay the rent on a place of their own. "We need to encourage young people to leave home. If they don't, they just stay with their parents, they don't get married and they don't become independent," he said.

Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi recently has spoke on the need to improve prospects for young people in regards to both salaries and job security.

"If they expect to have a salary which is lower than in the past and have to battle continually with job insecurity, they will lower their spending permanently," he said. Low salaries and precarious working conditions also prevent young people from leading independent "adult lives", Draghi added.

The economic reality of why young adults stay at home is in contrast with the stereotype of young Italians living at home for the comfort and security. This stereotype was the basis of a successful 2001 French film, Tanguy, about a 28-year-old college graduate who fights his parent's efforts, even in court, to get him out of the family nest. The film was inspired by a real Italian court case won by a son whose parents tried to force him out of their home.

In Italian marriage vows couples promise to maintain their children until they fulfill their aspirations. This concept is recognized by the country's constitution which does not set a time limit on this obligation.

"Quanto costa? Cacchio! MAMMA!" The economics minister, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, has lost touch with reality. His comments make no sense...just like his name. It's a good name if you're traveling by covered wagon somewhere in Sardegna.

It's a fact, Tommy, many Italians do not graduate until their late 20s and end up in poorly paid internships or with short-term contracts. The average salary is 1100-1300 Euros per month.

Let's say you decide it's time to finally say goodbye and live life on your own. You kiss your Mamma goodbye and head down to the local bank to ask for a mortgage. Padre Pio is smiling upon you that day and the bank decides to give you a 30 year mortgage of 85,850 Euros.

From the 85,850 Euros make sure to subtract:
- 4,000 Euros for taxes towards the real estate purchase (only 4000 Euros because it's my first home),
- 3,300 Euros for the Notary Public who handles the purchase documents,
- 2,500 Euros for the Notary Public who handles the bank mortgage papers,
- 3,000 Euros for the utilities connections (gas, water, electric),
- 7,500 Euros for cheap indispensable furniture (kitchen, table with 4 chairs, small couch, TV, queen bed, dresser drawer and 2 night tables).

Now, after forgetting the fact that your Notary is a whore, you drive your little Vespa scooter down to your local real estate agent to see what's available.

Hmmm...with 65,550 Euros you can purchase:

- Two garages (28 sq. meters),
- Two separate storage rooms in a residential building (21 sq. meters each),
- 55 sq. meter studio apartment available 20 km outside the city (for an additional 44,500 Euros, though).

You drive back home, walk in the front door, kiss your Mamma hello, eat three helpings of her "Linguine alla Puttanesca" and promise to her you will never stray again.

The End

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