06/06/12 Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fontina Cheese Layers

"Dei morti parla bene." (Never speak ill of the dead.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Stuffed Zucchini with Mortadella and Parmigiano Cheese
  -Linguine with Pesto
  -Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fontina Cheese Layers

"Buon estate!" How are the summer plans coming along? We're just about finished harvesting this year's oregano crop. Now it's time to let the bunches hang and dry for a few days before we package them. Lots of work but it's a wonderful dream when you're in the right company. Enjoy the summer and this week's recipes!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini with Mortadella and Parmigiano Cheese

Stuffed Zucchini with Mortadella and Parmigiano Cheese
Zucchine Ripiene con Mortadella e Parmigiano


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for baking dish
1 and 1/2 cups chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 ounces mortadella, minced (3/4 cup)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg, beaten to blend
8 medium round zucchini, tops cut off, or 4 large zucchini (7 to 8 ounces each), trimmed, cut lengthwise in half


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic.

Saute until onion is soft and golden, about 9-10 minutes.

Transfer onion mixture to medium bowl.

Stir mortadella, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cheese, and parsley into onion mixture.

Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in egg.

Brush 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil.

Using teaspoon, scoop pulp from zucchini, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell.

Fill shells with stuffing.

Arrange in dish.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Bake zucchini uncovered 40 minutes.

Increase heat to 400F and bake until tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer. Makes 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Linguine with Pesto

Linguine with Pesto
Linguine con Pesto


2 tightly packed cups small basil leaves, washed and dried
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tbs pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Sardo and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses (or 1/4 cup of each)
Coarse salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1/2 lb new potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
1 lb Tagliatelle or linguine pasta


Crush garlic and pine nuts in a large mortar to make a smooth paste.

Add basil leaves to the mortar a little at a time.

Crush to a coarse paste, grinding leaves against side of mortar with pestle.

Add a pinch of salt and continue crushing.

Gradually stir in cheese.

Drizzle in olive oil and continue working until pesto is very smooth and no large pieces of basil are visible.

Set aside.

Cook green beans for about 3 minutes in boiling water.

Remove with a slotted spoon.

In the same water, boil potatoes until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Drain, cool, and slice.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook pasta until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain, but reserve 2 tbs pasta water and add it to pesto.

In a large serving bowl, toss pasta, green beans, potatoes, and pesto.

Season to taste with salt and serve immediately. Serves 4-5.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fontina Cheese Layers

Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fontina Cheese Layers
Strati di Salsiccia, Peperoni, e Fontina


6 large eggs
2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups sliced green onions
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch wide-strips
One 1-pound loaf rustic French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups (loosely packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese


Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish.

Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl; sprinkle generously with pepper.

Set aside.

Place sausage in large nonstick skillet; push to 1 side.

Add bell pepper to other side of skillet.

Saute over high heat, breaking up sausage with fork, until sausage is cooked through and bell peppers are brown in spots, about 7-8 minutes.

Arrange half of bread slices in prepared dish.

Pour half of egg mixture over.

Sprinkle with half of cheese, then half of sausage-pepper mixture.

Repeat layering.

Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Bake dish until puffed and brown, about 1 hour.

Cool slightly. Serves 8 to 10.

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:

Thieves Digging 1,000 Yard Tunnel Busted With A Few Feet Left To Go

Catania - March 28, 2012 - A gang of would-be thieves spent a month painstakingly digging a 1,000 yard tunnel with the aim of robbing a group of Italian jewellers only to be caught feet from their target.

The four members of the band were arrested after two of them were spotted popping out of a manhole in Acireale, a coastal town at the edge of Mount Etna in Sicily.

They had used picks and shovels to dig the narrow tunnel, equipping it with lighting powered by a generator.

As they excavated, they supported the winding tunnel with metal struts and wooden planks, in scenes reminiscent of The Great Escape.

The tunnel ran from near the town's Piazza San Sebastiano, where it was accessed via the manhole, to Via Davi', in the picturesque historic center of Acireale, a street well known for its jewellers.

Police said they were "just a few meters" from their target when they were discovered and were poised to break through the floor of a jewellers, probably at night.

Suspicions had been aroused when two members of the gang were seen emerging from a manhole clutching two-way radios which they were using to communicate with each other.

Detectives sent in mountain rescue and caving experts to explore the subterranean passage, which for part of its course ran along a sewer line.

They found chisels, hammers and other tools scattered on the floor of the tunnel, as well as a small generator to power the lights and hard hats equipped with torches. The equipment was taken as evidence and handed over to investigators in the nearby city of Catania.

The men were named as Mario Catalano, 43, Mario Lanzarotti, 48, Rosario Albicocco, 22, and Salvatore Grasso, 38.

Aside from enterprising thieves, tunnels are also favored by mafia gangsters on the run, who use them as a ready means of escape should the police raid their hide-outs.

In 2009 police arrested an alleged mafia boss who was hiding in an underground bunker equipped with an unusual means of escape; a skateboard to propel himself down a 200 yard secret tunnel.

Giuseppe Bastone's hideout was a 10ft by 10ft space underneath a house near Naples that was accessed through a hidden trapdoor underneath a stairway. The tunnel led to a shaft which emerged in a field.

The Great Escape Vs The Sicilian Escapade

Film: Locked up with "every escape artist in Germany", Bartlett immediately plans the greatest escape attempted: tunnels for breaking out 250 prisoners. The intent is to "confuse, confound and harass the enemy" to the point that as many troops and resources as possible will be wasted on finding POWs instead of being used on the front line.

Sicily: Holed up with three other imaginative Sicilians in an Acireale bar, Mario #1 plans the greatest heist: dig a long tunnel (rather than use the available sewer line) to reach several jewelry shops on a busy street. Mario #2, Rosario and Salvatore immediately begin to argue about who will do the most work. The intent is to burglarize...and "confuse, confound and humor" the town residents and law authorities.

Film: Teams are organized to tunnel, make civilian clothing, forge documents, procure contraband materials, and prevent guards from discovering their work.

Sicily: Organization...zero. No thought into procuring sewer maintenance worker clothes, and no objection to casually emerging from a manhole with two-way radios and smiles on their faces.

Film: The last part of the tunnel is completed on the night of the escape, but is 20 feet short of woods which are to provide cover. Danny nearly snaps from claustrophobia and delays those behind him, but is helped by Willie. Seventy-six escape. The End.

Sicily: The last part of the tunnel is completed, but is a few feet short of the jewelry shop. Mario #1, Mario #2, Rosario, and Salvatore begin celebrating the success of the 99.5% complete tunnel. All four are arrested. The Funny End.

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