07/25/07 Orecchiette with Speck and Marjoram from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Al contadino non far sapere quanto buono il formaggio con le pere." (Don't let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Salsa di Vongole
  -Orecchiette with Speck and Marjoram
  -Eggplant-Wrapped Fillets Of Snapper

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

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 2007 organic oregano harvest now available!

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 Recipe: Salsa di Vongole

Salsa di Vongole
Clam Sauce

To make this sauce in bianco ("white" rather than red, without tomatoes), omit the tomatoes, add shelled cockles or clams to the garlic-infused olive oil, deglaze with 2/3 cup of dry white wine, and cook 3 minutes, or until the wine reduces by two-thirds, and toss with the pasta.


1 and 1/2 lbs cockles or Manila clams or littleneck clams
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried chili pepper, crumbled
1 and 1/2 cups chopped Italian plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley


Soak cockles or clams in a bowl of cool water and cover with 1 tablespoon of salt for 30 minutes.

Drain, rinse, and place in a 12" saute pan with wine; bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. As they open, remove cockles or clams to a plate. Discard any that do not open.

Strain cooking juices through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a small bowl.

Heat the olive oil in the same saute pan. Add garlic and chili pepper; cook 30 seconds over medium-high heat.

Stir in tomatoes and the strained cooking juices from cockles or clams, bring to a boil, and simmer until sauce is reduced, about 15 minutes.

As tomatoes are cooking, shell clams or cockles. Fold in the shelled cockles or clams and parsley; cook 2 minutes. This is enough sauce for one pound of linguine or other pasta.

That's it!

 Recipe: Orecchiette with Speck and Marjoram

Orecchiette with Speck and Marjoram


2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 lb slice of Speck (fat still attached)
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced marjoram
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese


Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a pot with a pasta insert, and add the peas; cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pasta insert and drain the peas; reserve the cooking water and keep it boiling.

Separate the fat from the meat in the Speck, and dice each separately.

In a saute pan, render the fat of the Speck over medium heat until translucent, about 2 minutes, then add the potato and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette pasta with salt until 'al dente' in the reserved boiling water.

Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Add the orecchiette pasta to the potato in the pan, along with the diced meat of the Speck, all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the peas, marjoram, half of the parsley and the cracked black pepper.

Pour in enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to dilute the sauce if necessary. Toss to combine, adjust the salt if needed, and spoon into 4 heated bowls.

Garnish with the remaining olive oil and parsley, and top with the Grana Padano cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Eggplant-Wrapped Fillets Of Snapper

Eggplant-Wrapped Fillets Of Snapper


1 large eggplant
4 8-ounce snapper fillets
1 large bunch chives
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper


Slice stem end off the eggplant, and cut in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, slice the eggplant halves lengthwise into 1/16-inch-thick strips. (This can also be done with a very sharp knife.)

Place strips in a colander over the sink, and sprinkle liberally with salt. (This helps to draw moisture out of the eggplant and makes it easier to work with.)

After about 30 minutes, or when moisture starts to come out of the eggplant, wipe the salt off of the slices with paper towels. Arrange enough slices on a flat surface, slightly overlapping, to cover the length of one fish fillet.

Place fillet on top of sliced eggplant, and season with salt and pepper.

Wrap the ends of the eggplant slices around the fish, and make sure that the eggplant slices remain overlapping.

Flip the wrapped fillet over, and gently press it down so that the eggplant stays in place.

Secure the eggplant by tying individual chives in several places around the fillet. Repeat with the rest of the fillets and eggplant slices.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add wrapped fish fillets one at a time, and cook for about 3 minutes.

Using tongs or a spatula, carefully turn the fish. Cook until the eggplant turns golden, about 5 minutes total.

Remove chives if you wish. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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:

United Nations Claim Grandmothers Are Cool

Rome - June 18 - Grannies could be the vital ingredient that would make health and development projects in poor countries really take off, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization.

While Westerners often treat older people as second-class citizens, in Africa and much of the non-western world elders are listened to as respected members of their families and communities, experts say. Getting grandmothers to understand and take part in nutrition, health and community development projects can significantly raise success rates, says FAO Nutrition Expert William Clay.

Grannies, who in many countries may be aged 40 or less, are "an abundant resource for development in all countries that is vastly under-utilized," he notes. The pro-granny approach was pioneered by American community development and health specialist Dr. Judi Aubel who presented her "grandmother-inclusive methodology" at a seminar held at FAO recently.

"Elders are natural leaders. Young people are taught to value their knowledge and experience and are expected to look to them for advice," Aubel explained. Aubel directs a fledgling NGO called The Grandmother Project. Using the grandmother-inclusive approach it says it has greatly increased the success of maternal and child health projects in Senegal, Mali and Laos.

The Grandmother Project's method often uses songs written by local trainees to encourage other senior women to become involved.

One song goes like this:
'Dearest grandmother, you are so wonderful,
You have a big heart and are full of understanding.
May God give you long life.

"When one group heard that song it brought tears to their eyes. They couldn't wait to come on board," Aubel said.

"Madonna mia! Io sono cool!" It's obvious a few people at the UN have had Italian grandmothers and realize the stubborn and insistent powers they hold. And they'll be easy to find. Most of them will be grandmothers who want to get even with their kids who simply suggested putting them in retirement homes.

"The pro-granny approach was pioneered by American community development and health specialist Dr. Judi Aubel who presented her "grandmother-inclusive methodology..." Her methodology is more mystic, mesmerizing and unexplainable than "Lord of the Rings".

"Grannies could be the vital ingredient that would make health and development projects in poor countries really take off..." Of course! Their complaining in a sing-song intonation at an average 10 db louder than the majority of other languages while flailing around their hands will force the project leaders to go insane:

"Hey, Signore FAO! How long is it going to take to build that water well?"
"Give me that shovel, cazzo!"
"Get out of my way!"

A "Nonna Anti-Terrorism Task Force" would also be quite effective:

"Porca puttana, landmines?" "Who the hell would plant landmines?" "Do you know how many tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini I can put out there?"
"Get on your knees and start plucking!"

With the 2 tons of lasagna, sausage, eggplant parmigiana and cannolis they'll prepare everyday, starvation in Africa will be a thing of the past.

"Bambini, look at yourselves!"
"All skin and bones!"
"Mangia, mangia!"

"No, really, stop insisting!" "I can't have another bite."

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