08/14/13 Polenta with Parmigiano, Sausage and Mushroom Ragu

"Buon vino fa sangue." (Good wine makes good blood.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pesto Focaccia
  -Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage
  -Polenta with Parmigiano, Sausage and Mushroom Ragu

"Buon weekend!" Thanks for reading! We appreciate you stopping for a moment in your busy day to take a look at what Italian recipe could light up your kitchen with wonderful sights and aromas.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Pesto Focaccia

Pesto Focaccia
Focaccia Al Pesto


For the Pesto:
1 and 1/4 cups packed basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, minced
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Focaccia:
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup boiled, mashed potatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp lager beer
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 and 1/2 cups flour
1 cup durum wheat flour
12 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup packed basil leaves


Prepare the Pesto:
Process basil, olive oil, Parmigiano cheese, tomatoes, nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.


Prepare the Focaccia:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast and 2 cups water heated to 115?F.

Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together potatoes, butter, beer, and salt until smooth.

Add to yeast mixture and whisk until smooth.

Add flours and mix on medium speed until dough forms.

Increase speed to medium-high and knead until dough is smooth, about 8 minutes.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until tripled in volume, about 3 hours.

Transfer dough to a greased 13-inch by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and using your fingers, spread dough until it completely covers the bottom.

Using your hands, spread pesto evenly over dough, and then scatter olives, tomatoes, and onions over pesto.

Sprinkle cheese over top of dough and using your fingertips, press dough all over to form dimples.

Let sit, uncovered until puffed, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 400?F.

Bake focaccia until edges are golden brown and dough is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then scatter basil leaves over top.

Cut into squares and serve. Serves 12-16.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage

Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage
Fettuccine con Burro e Salvia


One 8.8-ounce package dried egg fettuccine pasta
4 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
20 fresh sage leaves, stemmed
4 and 1/2 tablespoons frozen veal stock, thawed (or 2 tablespoons beef broth and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons chicken broth)
5 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese plus additional for serving


Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat.

Add sage leaves and cook until edges curl and butter is dark amber color (do not burn), stirring and turning leaves occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.

Transfer sage to paper towels.

Add veal stock to brown butter.

Add pasta and 5 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese to brown butter mixture in skillet.

Toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.

Season with salt and pepper.

Divide among bowls.

Garnish with fried sage leaves, passing Parmigiano cheese alongside. Makes 4 first-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta with Parmigiano, Sausage and Mushroom Ragu

Polenta with Parmigiano, Sausage and Mushroom Ragu
Polenta con Parmigiano e Ragu di Salsiccia e Funghi


2 pounds precooked polenta, cut into 4 (1/2-inch thick) rounds
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 pound mixed sliced fresh wild mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 and 1/2 cups bottled marinara sauce


Preheat broiler.

Broil polenta rounds on a lightly oiled large heavy baking sheet 3 to 4 inches from heat until lightly browned in spots, about 7-8 minutes.

Turn rounds over and sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese, then broil until polenta is golden in spots and cheese is melted, about 7-8 minutes more.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it shimmers.

Cook sausage, breaking up lumps, until just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.

Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add wine and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.

Stir in sausage and tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes.

Season with salt.

Serve ragu spooned over polenta. Makes 4 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:

A Fed Up Italy Tells Catholic Church To Pay Up

Rome - February 24, 2012 - Crisis-hit Italy on Friday adopted a draft bill to scrap a controversial tax exemption for Catholic Church property in a move that could raise an extra 600 million Euros ($808M USD) a year.

The law now allows businesses operating out of Church property such as hotels and restaurants not to pay property tax as long as the building also has some religious function, such as a chapel or an adjoining monastery.

The government promised this month to remove the exemption following an outcry among many Italians who are already hard pressed by an austerity drive that has raised taxes and slashed budgets to avoid bankruptcy.

Property that is exclusively for non-commercial use such as churches will continue to be exempt from tax.

The European Commission had opened an investigation into the loophole in 2010 on suspicion of anti-competitive behavior.

The Italian Catholic Church considered separate from the Vatican state, which has sovereignty owns around 100,000 properties worth 9.0 billion euros including churches, schools, universities and hospitals.

It also owns properties mainly aimed at tourists such as the French restaurant "Eau Vive" and the four-star hotel "Ponte Sisto" in Rome.

This is dedicated to any of you who work hard for a living.
100,000 properties = 9 billion Euros (12 billion USD) = Tax "figlio di puttana" free!

That's "location, location, location, 'Fanculo" for you!

In many parts of Italy, a child's first confession is now celebrated and the Church cashes in. Parents film the kid as he walks to the confessional and have a feast afterwards to celebrate his acquittal. All that's missing is his standing on a table and reciting the confessed sins to the invited guests.

As if that wasn't bad enough, parents have transformed a child's 1st communion into a costly mini matrimony (with 300 ungrateful relatives and friends invited).

French restaurant "Eau Vive": Fine French cuisine prepared and served by a lay sisterhood of missionary Christians from five continents who dress in traditional costumes.

The Holy menu: (click to take a look)

Pumpkin soup: 6 Euros ($8 USD)
Mixed salad: 6 Euros ($8 USD)
Tenderloin of beef, Gorgonzola cheese, potato croquettes: 26 Euros ($34 USD)
Fillet of salmon (frozen, not fresh), mushrooms, rice, broccoli: 19 Euros ($25 USD)

Would you believe they offer no discounts or an after-dinner drink on the house for ex-altar boys or customers who suffered physical and psychological beatings as students in Catholic schools?

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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