06/25/08 Tomato, Eggplant and Black Olive Sauce with Rosemary from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Mal comune, mezzo gaudio." (A common trouble is half joy. Trouble shared is trouble halved.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Salsa di Pomodoro, Melanzane e Olive Neri con Rosmarino
  -Frittata al Melanzane
  -Linguine con Salsiccia, Funghi e Salsa di Crema

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

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Salsa di Pomodoro, Melanzane e Olive Neri con Rosmarino

Salsa di Pomodoro, Melanzane e Olive Neri con Rosmarino
Tomato, Eggplant and Black Olive Sauce with Rosemary


3 large eggplants (about 3 lbs total), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, sliced


Toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon salt in large colander. Set colander over bowl. Let stand 30 minutes to allow excess liquid to drain from eggplant.

Using paper towels, pat eggplant dry.

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.

Add eggplant, onions and garlic.

Cook until eggplant is almost tender and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

Add rosemary; cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with juices and tomato paste.

Simmer uncovered until flavors blend and sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Mix in olives and simmer 5 minutes longer.

Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.) Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

 Recipe: Frittata al Melanzane

Frittata al Melanzane
Baked Eggplant Omelette


1 large eggplant (1 and 1/2 lb)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (1 and 1/2 oz)
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water


Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

Sprinkle sea salt over slices and arrange in 2 even stacks in a shallow dish.

Put a flat dish on top of eggplant and weight with 1-lb can for 2 hours.

Rinse salt from eggplant under running water and pat slices dry between double layers of paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat.

Saute eggplant in batches of 3 or 4 slices until golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Drain as sauteed on brown paper or paper towels.

Pour off olive oil from skillet and wipe, leaving a light coating.

Cover bottom of skillet with half of eggplant, overlapping slightly, and make another layer with remaining eggplant.

Whisk together eggs and cheese in a bowl and stir together tomato paste and water in another bowl.

Heat skillet with eggplant over moderate heat until hot and pour in egg mixture, lifting edges of eggplant so eggs coat bottom of skillet.

Cook omelette, uncovered, over low heat, until eggs begin to set around edge, 5 to 7 minutes.

Slowly pour tomato mixture in a spiral pattern over surface of omelette, then bake in upper third of oven until eggs are set and pale golden, about 20 minutes.

Loosen side and bottom of omelette and slide onto a plate.

Serve at room temperature with a few grindings of black pepper. Serves 6.

That's it!

 Recipe: Linguine con Salsiccia, Funghi e Salsa di Crema

Linguine con Salsiccia, Funghi e Salsa di Crema
Linguine with Sausage, Mushroom and Cream Sauce


1 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
3/4 lb mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 cup (or more) chicken broth
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 lb linguine pasta
1 cup (packed) grated Parmigiano cheese (about 3 ounces)


Saute sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and cooked through, breaking up large pieces with fork, about 12 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to plate.

Add mushrooms and crushed red pepper to drippings in skillet.

Cover and cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup broth and cream to skillet and set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain pasta; return to same pot.

Add sausage, mushroom mixture and cheese.

Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta thickly, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 3 minutes.

Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. 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:

Nine Lazy and Worthless Milan Tram Operatives Fired

Milan - June 11, 2008 - It seems there are one or two confirmed shirkers in normally industrious Milan. Yesterday ATM, the Milan transport enterprise, which is wholly owned by the municipal authority, started dismissal procedures against nine work-shy operatives.

It has to be said that the nine were not short of imagination. One was in charge of a workshop at a tram and bus garage, which he had converted for his own ends. The windows were darkened to keep out prying eyes and inside, his colleagues were busy making dog kennels.

In another case, an office worker left one building to deliver documents to the head office. Since the papers failed to arrive, search parties were sent out and the man was found tucked away in a bar, completely drunk. This anthology of sub-prime productivity continues with stories of workers disappearing for months at a time without so much as a doctor’s note.

ATM prefers not to comment. Instead, transport enterprise chair and CEO Elio Catania made an early-morning (6:30 am) visit to the garages. Backing up the enterprise's top executive is the Milan municipal authority. "The dismissal procedures initiated at ATM show that our subsidiary is rigorously, correctly, pursuing the objectives of efficiency and productivity", boasted deputy mayor and National Alliance (NA) senator, Riccardo De Corato.

"Municipal authorities that have loss-making public transport companies should take a leaf out of our book", Mr De Corato went on. "It is no coincidence that in 2007, ATM make a 2.8 million-euro profit".

Currently, employees of the Milan transport enterprise take fourteen days' sick leave each year, which is the precise average for workers in the sector as a whole.

"The striking thing is not the nine dismissal procedures but the fact that this behavior has been tolerated for years by the enterprise's management. You can't make dog kennels at the workplace without attracting managers' attention", says amazed employment law expert, Michele Tiraboschi.

The union is careful not to contest ATM's actions over individual cases.

"The enterprise is right to punish unlawful behavior. Individual workers will have their say before the tribunal. The crucial thing is that intervention should be equally robust at all levels", requests Nino Cortorillo, general secretary of the Lombardy FILT, the CGIL-affiliated transport union.

"It's a storm in a teacup", says Roberto Rossi, general secretary of the Lombardy FIT-CISL union.

"ATM dismisses about thirty-five workers every year. Where's the news?"

At the same time, the unions spring to the defense of Milan's tram, bus and metro drivers.

"We're talking about an enterprise that clocks up nearly two million hours' overtime every year", says the CGIL’s Nino Cortorillo.

"Enough to justify hiring another thousand workers. Does it sound like these workers are afraid of hard graft? Perhaps this is not so much a crack-down on shirkers as a witch hunt".

The Milan transport enterprise employs 8,670 people, of whom 5,235 drive trams, buses and metro trains. It has ambitious plans in the pipeline. A feasibility study regarding the possible merger of Milan’s ATM with GTT, its sister company in Turin, will be ready before the end of summer. If the respective boards give the thumbs up, the new company will begin operations next January.

Meanwhile, dismissal procedures are a long way from over. In compliance with the 1934 royal decree that disciplines the sector, approval for the dismissals will have to come from an internal disciplinary committee made up of three union representatives, three company nominees and one independent member.

In the end, the number of people fired may well be much lower than nine.

"Porca di quella puttana, where's the bus?"

Italy is now one of the most expensive and bizarre places in the world to run a business (especially if one also takes into account the country's mesmerizing byzantine bureaucracy, personified by an army of highly-paid arrogant notary publics, and the poor telecommunication infrastructure, personified by millions of Italians who have never sent nor received an email).

In the meantime, Italy has raised a class of professional non-working jackasses who manage to get a salary from the incredibly befuddled government without working: an impressive percentage of the population does not work but receives money from the government (early retirements, unemployment benefits, handicap and stupidity insurance).

Believe it or not, a 40 hour week is considered standard in Italy. Italian employees do not receive a gross salary out of which they would pay taxes: employers already deduct state taxes out of all paychecks.

Salaries are always paid not weekly but in more than 12 installments, usually in 13 or 14 installments or sometimes even in 16 installments over the year. If salaries are paid in 13 installments, employees may receive two paychecks in December, if they are paid in 14 installments, they may receive an additional paycheck in June and December.

Workers receive a minimum of 4 weeks of undeserved paid holidays, although many receive up to 6 weeks.

Usually, employees are granted two vacation days per month, amounting to 24 holidays per year. And the kick in the "coglioni" is, if employees do not use all of their vacation days by the end of the year, they may carry them over to the following year. Companies may decide to cancel part of their employees' yearly vacation, but in that case they would have to pay their employees dearly for those days in addition to an overtime salary.

Finally, there are also a further 10 days of public holiday, with additional half day holidays and feast days for local patron saints.

Those who do work have a dream and that's to retire as soon as they get offered a so-called deal: Italian pensions are among the most generous in the world (especially if they have reached the aristocratic and utopian level of "dirigente" (manager), which entitles one to a monthly payment many times higher than the monthly payment of an ordinary person).

Face it! Italians are not going to change.

They may change the government, but any new government will be governing over the same Italians, and therefore will simply do more of the same:

- More salary increases,
- More pensions,
- More subsidies,
- More sub-prime productivity,
- More mass transit delays,
- More paid holidays,
- More sick leave,
- More missing drunk employees,
- More dog kennels.

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