08/04/10 Polenta with Sausage

"Il meglio nemico del bel bene." (The perfect is the enemy of the good.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Grosseto Style Onions
  -Polenta with Sausage
  -Sea Bass Baked In A Parcel

"La fame muta le fave in mandorle." (Hunger makes hard beans sweet.) Enjoy your recipes and the rest of the summer season.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Grosseto Style Onions

Grosseto Style Onions
Cipolle Alla Grossetana


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Onions:
4 large onions
5 oz (150 grams) minced lean beef
1 small Italian sausage, skinned and crumbled
2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Onions:
Cook the onions in salted, boiling water for about 15 minutes.

Drain and leave to cool.

Scoop out the flesh from the centers using a small sharp knife, leaving hollow shells.

Chop the scooped-out flesh and mix with the veal, sausage, Parmigiano cheese, olive oil, egg and nutmeg.

Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the onion shells with the mixture.

Place the onions in a large pan in a single layer and pour in the stock.

Cover and simmer for about 28-32 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Place on a warm serving dish. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta with Sausage

Polenta with Sausage
Polenta Con La Salsiccia


For the Polenta:
1 lb and 2 oz (500 grams) coarse polenta flour

For the Sausage:
7 oz (200 grams) Italian sausages, cut into short lengths
18 fl oz (500 ml) tomato passata
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Polenta:
Bring 3 pints (1.75 liters) salted water to a boil (keep another pan of water boiling if necessary).

Sprinkle the polenta flour into the pan while stirring constantly.

As soon as the polenta thickens, soften it with a drop of the reserved boiling water.

Note: The cooking time ranges from 45 minutes to 1 hour; the longer the cooking time, the more easily the polenta is digested.

Prepare the Sausage:
Prick the sausages, place in a dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until the fat runs, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan.

Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour in the tomato passata, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the sausages and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

When the polenta is ready, turn it out on to a warm serving dish, spoon the sausage and tomato sauce all around and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sea Bass Baked In A Parcel

Sea Bass Baked In A Parcel
Branzino Al Cartoccio


Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing and serving
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 garlic cloves
2 and 1/4 lb (1 kg) sea bass, spines trimmed, scaled and cleaned
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
1 lemon, sliced, plus extra for serving
1 onion, sliced into rings
2 spring onions, sliced
5 tablespoons dry white wine
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas Mark 6.

Cut out a sheet of baking parchment and brush with olive oil.

Place the rosemary sprig and one of the garlic cloves in the cavity of the sea bass, season with salt and pepper and place the fish on the baking parchment.

Slice the remaining garlic.

Sprinkle the fish with the parsley and cover with the lemon slices, onion rings, spring onions and garlic slices.

Spoon the wine over the fish, fold over the baking parchment to enclose it completely, and seal the edges.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Serve with olive oil, lemon slices and salt. Serves 4.

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:

Berlusconi's Collection of Threatening Letters Increasing

Rome - March 27, 2010 - A threatening letter containing a bullet addressed to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and a letter bomb sent to a Northern League minister have added an eerie finale to a chaotic campaign for Italy's regional elections, which begin on Sunday.

Italy's postal service intercepted a threatening letter containing a bullet addressed to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, while a letter bomb sent to a minister caught fire, police said Saturday. A large envelope containing a letter addressed to Berlusconi with the threat "you will end up like a rat" was discovered on Friday in a post office in the Libate suburb of the northern city of Milan, police said.

The package, which also referred to other leaders of Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party, was addressed to the prime minister's private residence in the Milan region, they said.

The news agencies reported that the anonymous letter contained drawings of figures under which were written the names of four PDL leaders including Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa. In another Milan post office, a letter bomb caught fire on Saturday, slightly injuring the hands of a postman, police said.

The Milan prefecture said the package contained threats against Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and was claimed by the Informal Anarchist Federation.

The letter accused Maroni, a member of Italy's far-right anti-immigrant Northern League, of failing to crack down on rapes in illegal immigrant centers, police said. The threats come ahead of fiercely contested regional elections on Sunday and Monday, with Berlusconi seeking to stem a slide in his popularity.

The interior ministry condemned the incidents as "real terrorist acts" which it vowed to eliminate to prevent a return to the violent political unrest that plagued Italy around the 1970s. It said the threats amounted to "very serious intimidation" which it would address at an extraordinary meeting of the Public Order and Security Committee called for Wednesday, it said.

Berlusconi was injured in an attack last December when a man hurled a heavy souvenir model of Milan's gothic cathedral at the controversial 73-year-old prime minister after a rally in the city, breaking his nose and two of his teeth.

"Cazzarola", it never fails! It's amazing how punctual these so-called threatening letters are whenever the putrid smell of Italian campaigning is in the air.

Berlusconi: "Love always wins over hate." Is little Silvio hoping to cash in again on the wave of sympathy towards him like he did when a flying souvenir used his face as an emergency landing strip?

"...the package contained threats against Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and was claimed by the Informal Anarchist Federation." "Figlio di puttana", you would think that the college kids working in the campaign offices could come up with more interesting and convincing names like:

The Insurgent Mozzarella Alliance,
The Radical Rompipalle Syndicate,
The Faccia di Culo Freedom Fighters,
The Sicilians Stuck Being Sicilians League.

Hmmm...how come the Catholic Church hasn't chimed in since it has always had a strange and clandestine control on Italian politics? Traditionally, for example, Madonnas start weeping around election time.

In 1948 in Naples, when the Communist Party looked likely to grab power, no fewer than 36 Madonnas began to shed tears. Nothing like crying statues to scare the bejesus out of those Napolitani.

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