06/15/11 Mushrooms and Kale with Creamy Polenta

"Siccome la casa brucia, riscaldiamoci." (Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Broccoli Bread Soup
  -Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Pecorino Cheese
  -Mushrooms and Kale with Creamy Polenta

"GRAZIE". THANK YOU for all that you do. It means the world to us! Have a great summer season and enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Broccoli Bread Soup

Broccoli Bread Soup
Broccoli Pancotto


3 cups 1-inch cubes crustless country-style bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 small dried chiles
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into florets (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup water


Preheat oven to 375F.

Arrange bread on baking sheet.

Bake until beginning to brown, about 12 minutes.

Cool on sheet.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Add chilies and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, 1/2 cup water, and bread.

Cook uncovered until bread absorbs water and broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Pecorino Cheese

Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Pecorino Cheese
Finocchio e Carote Arrosto con Pecorino


4 fennel bulbs (about 3 and 1/2 pounds) cut horizontally into 1/3-inch thick slices, plus 2 teaspoons chopped fronds
2 large carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch thick slices
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 375F.

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

Layer sliced fennel and carrots in dish, sprinkling layers with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with thyme, then cheese.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until vegetables are tender and top is golden brown, about 1 and 1/4 hours.

Sprinkle with fronds. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushrooms and Kale with Creamy Polenta

Mushrooms and Kale with Creamy Polenta
Funghi e Cavoli Rapa con Polenta Cremosa


1 and 1/4 pounds kale, stemmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cups whole milk
3 and 1/2 cups water
2 cups polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
4 ounces mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, and stemmed shitake), sliced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes.


Bring milk, water, polenta, salt, and pepper to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels.

Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons olive oil to drippings in skillet.

Saute until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes.

Stir in kale and pancetta.

Add garlic and broth; simmer until broth is slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.

Stir in thyme, lemon peel, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Whisk butter and Parmigiano cheese into polenta and divide among plates.

Top with kale mixture. 6 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:

Homeless People Used In Bank Scam

Milan, October 22 - A gang of Milan con artists washed and dressed up homeless people to get them to open bank accounts and give them check books, Italian police said Friday.

The tramps were paid 400 euros plus meals in some of the Lombardy capital's upper class restaurants, police said.

Police said the scam had been going on for "six or seven years" and eventually amounted to 300 empty current accounts.

The gang was led by 60-year-old Salvatore P., who on one occasion was heard in a police wiretap asking an accomplice: "Did you pick up that dead-beat? Have you got a razor to make him presentable?"

The fraudsters used the check books to buy top-of-the-range home appliances like plasma TVs, DVD players, hi-fis and fridges as well as designer clothing, police said. These were then fenced off or sold to unwitting legitimate buyers, to the tune of some 7 million Euros ($10 million USD).

Six people were arrested and 40 placed under investigation for the swindle.

It's entertaining and hard to believe this scam went on for six to seven years in one of the most important financial cities in Europe. We wonder if those swindled Milan bankers could hear the distinct sound of Sicilians laughing.

It's no secret Italian banks (like all other banks around the world) bamboozled and strong-armed would-be investors into investing into convoluted, high-risk derivatives cow crap. We had banks offering guarantees against speculative risks, but the managers were ordering their ignorant sales operatives to cash in on customers, dumping high risks (losses) on Italian industrial firms.

And these "bastardi" bankers would force Italian industrialists to sign credit swaps under the threat of cutting off credit channels to the company. "Vaffanculo!"

Now, compare the amount of time, energy, and resources it took these high flying educated bankers to prepare and gift wrap these costly high-risk derivatives packages with what Milan con artists did with a homeless person, a bath, a razor, new clothes, some cash and a nice meal.

Milan Banker: "Ok, Signore Hobo DaVinci. I'm happy to say your account application was approved. Here are the checkbooks you requested."
Hobo (drooling): "Grazie."
Milan Banker: "Signore, before you leave, would you be interested in a low risk derivatives package custom made just for you?"
Hobo (still drooling): "Eh si, I'll take it. Let me just write you out a check..."

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