07/13/11 Porchetta

"La madre degli idioti sempre incinta." (The mother of idiots is always pregnant.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Lobster, Corn and Tomato Salad
  -Chicken with Polenta, Pancetta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

"Buon giorno!" Have a great summer season and enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Lobster, Corn and Tomato Salad

Lobster, Corn and Tomato Salad
Insalata d'Aragosta, Mais e Pomodoro


2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 cup thinly sliced onions
3 black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
One 1 and 1/2 pound lobster

2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onions
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 and 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 pint mixed tiny heirloom tomatoes, such as cherry, cherub, grape, or pear, of different colors and sizes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
8 Bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Freshly ground black pepper


Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and set it aside.

In a 4 or 6-quart Dutch oven, or other heavy bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the chopped tomatoes, wine, water, onions, peppercorns, and tarragon sprigs.

Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered; then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, add the lobster to the pot, and cover the pot immediately with a heavy, tight-fitting lid.

Steam the lobster for 12-13 minutes, until it is bright red and the long feelers are easily removed from their sockets.

Immediately plunge the lobster into the bowl of ice water, and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Remove the lobster from the ice water and set it on a rimmed baking sheet.

Using kitchen shears, remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws.

Use a knife to chop the lobster meat into bite- size pieces. There should be about 1 cup; set it aside.

In a medium non reactive mixing bowl, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Whisk in the 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne.

Add the corn kernels and mix together.

Set aside for 10 minutes.

Cut the tiniest heirloom tomatoes in half, and quarter the larger ones.

Add the tomatoes to the corn mixture.

Add the lobster, tarragon, and parsley, and mix gently to combine.

In a medium bowl, gently mix the Bibb lettuce leaves with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and season them lightly with salt and black pepper.

Stack 2 lettuce leaves on each of four plates.

Divide the lobster salad evenly among the lettuce cups, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken with Polenta, Pancetta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chicken with Polenta, Pancetta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Pollo con Polenta, Pancetta e Pomodori Essiccati


1 cup cornmeal
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 boneless chicken breast or 2 thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into narrow strips
3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons Nicoise olives (optional)


In saute pan, cook the pancetta over low heat in a bit of olive oil until the fat begins to render and it is beginning to crisp.

Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind.

Turn the heat to medium-high and, if needed, add some olive oil to the pan to cook the chicken (it depends on how much fat the pancetta rendered).

Cook the chicken pieces until golden all over and just cooked through.

Remove with a slotted spoon to a separate plate.

Add the onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, then stir in the pancetta, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the garlic.

Cook for two minutes, then add the chicken stock and scrape up the brown bits in the pan.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Allow to reduce a little, then stir in the chicken and half the basil to the pan.

Once heated through, spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the chicken.

Top with the remaining basil. Serves 2.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Porchetta



6 pounds butterflied pork shoulder
1 and 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon coriander
1/2 to 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
5 cloves mashed up garlic
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 piece pork skin, large enough to cover the shoulder, or 9 thin slices pancetta
1/2 cup red wine vinegar


Toast spices & salt in small heavy bottom pan till fragrant, and crush in mortar and pestle. It should be rather coarse, not a powder.

Mix spices with chopped rosemary, orange zest and mashed up garlic.

Add olive oil till it makes a paste.

Slather the pork in the spice mix, and place in a baggie with the bay leaves over night or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Bring pork to room temperature.

Take pork out of baggie, turn baggie inside out and rub all the spice paste over the inside of the pork skin.

Roll pork into a cylindrical shape, tie with butcher twine at 1-inch intervals, stick the bay leaves under the middle strings, and lay skin over top (if using pancetta, lay the slices across the top like fish scales).

Place in a roasting pan with a rack, and roast until the internal temperature reaches 150 F.

Remove and let sit until the temperature reaches 160 F. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate it every so often. It should take 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours.

Remove skin, scrape off the fat and cut into strips with a sharp set of shears, to serve.

Deglaze pan with vinegar.

To serve slice into 1/4-inch slices.

Add a strip of skin (or pancetta) to each plate and drizzle with sauce. Serves 6-8.

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:

Kissing Arrested Mobsters On the Lips Is All the Rage In Naples

Naples - June 11, 2011 - A kiss is just a kiss, perhaps. But what does a smooch mean when it's planted on the lips of an alleged mobster by another man?

Observers of Italy's organized crime syndicates have been trying to trying to figure out the meaning of the kiss earlier this week by a young man in a crowd of onlookers outside Naples police headquarters as Daniele D'Agnese was about to be hustled into a squad car.

Four men in their 20s told police they wanted to greet D'Agnese, considered by investigators to be Amato's bodyguard, before he was taken to jail, according to a local Naples paper, which quoted one of them as saying "we haven't seen him in two years."

Although police tried to move the four back from the entrance of the police headquarters while D'Agnese emerged, one pushed forward, and while photographers and videographers caught the moment, the man embraced D'Agnese, then planted a firm kiss on his mouth.

The local paper wrote that the kiss was an "obvious gesture to the eyes of clan rivals" that foot soldiers in the Amato-Pagano crime family would still be loyal, despite the arrests.

Many mob bosses continue to run their crime families from behind bars, through messages given to visiting spouses or children, prosecutors say.

The kiss might also be meant to signal reassurance to D'Agnese that his family would continue to be cared for while behind bars.

Also being puzzled over were the T-shirts both Amato and D'Agnese were wearing when arrested. Each sported a shirt with an image of James Dean, the late U.S. actor. A newspaper noted another alleged clan member, Cesare Pagano, was also wearing a James Dean T-shirt when arrested a few months ago.

Some comments on Italian web sites have interpreted the shirt choice as being a way for mobsters to show they're all in the same clan, while others wondered if they were trying to identify with an actor whose roles depicted youthful rebellion and boldness.

What a touching story; a Napolitano crime family split up. You never read about things like this.

Remember, we're all here, no matter who we are (Romans, Sicilians, Calabrese, Eskimos). We're all searching for the truth and trying to make it through this unforgiving world. Correct? Si? Well...everyone except the Napolitani. They claim to know the truth.

We'll bet you never knew they can be so affectionate and friendly in Naples. Haven't you ever noticed the smiles the Napolitani give when they pick your pockets?

What is disturbing in all this is why the Naples police stand around like lummoxes while these soap operas go on. Who do they think make up the majority of onlookers who wait outside police headquarters all day? Eh? Throw an eggplant and you'll hit 7 suspects.

Is the police waiting till it gets to the point where these onlookers start pulling down pants?

The cops have to load their guns and fire recklessly at these amorous Napolitani! Take these people, push their faces into the car engine, and have them kiss the radiator fan while the car is running. Let's all have a good laugh.

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