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 08/24/11 Pork with Salsa Verde

"A tavola non s'invecchia." (At the table one doesn't grow old.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Broccoli Pecorino Gratinate
  -Lemon Fettuccine with Broccoli and Pancetta
  -Pork with Salsa Verde

"GRAZIE!" All of us at the farm are grateful for your participation with us through this newsletter. Thanks for everything you're doing and we'll continue to find recipes to help your kitchen shine. Please share this newsletter, if you find it useful. Enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Broccoli Pecorino Gratinate

Broccoli Pecorino Gratinate

Ingredients:

2 bunches broccoli (about 3 pounds), stalks trimmed, tops broken into 2 to 3-inch florets
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into very thin slices plus more for dish
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (1 and 1/2 to 2 ounces)

Directions:

Cook broccoli in boiling salted water until crisp-tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes.

Drain and cool.

Cut florets lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Coat large oval gratin or 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with butter.

Arrange broccoli slices, overlapping snugly, in rows in dish.

Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper.

Dot with 1/4 cup butter, then sprinkle with cheese.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Bake Gratinate uncovered until cheese is melted and broccoli tops brown, about 20 minutes. Serves 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lemon Fettuccine with Broccoli and Pancetta

Lemon Fettuccine with Broccoli and Pancetta
Fettuccine al Limone con Broccoli e Pancetta

Ingredients:

4 ounces 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick slices pancetta cut into 1/4 to 1/3-inch cubes
5 and 1/2 cups 1-inch broccoli florets (from 1 pound broccoli crowns)
9 ounces fresh or dried fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

Directions:

Saute pancetta in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp and brown.

Transfer to paper towels.

Cook broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to medium bowl.

Add pasta to same boiling water; cook until tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; return to same pot.

Add next 5 ingredients.

Toss over low heat to coat.

Add pancetta, broccoli, and cheese; toss to blend.

Season pasta with pepper. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pork with Salsa Verde

Pork with Salsa Verde
Carne di Maiale con Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

For the Salsa Verde:
3 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup (lightly packed) chopped fresh celery leaves
1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Pork:
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
One 8-pound whole bone-in heritage pork shoulder roast

Directions:

Prepare the Salsa Verde:
With processor running, drop anchovies and garlic through feed tube and finely chop.

Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add parsley, celery leaves, lemon juice, lemon peel, red wine vinegar, chopped rosemary, and chopped sage.

Using on/off turns, process until almost smooth.

With machine running, gradually add olive oil.

Transfer salsa verde to bowl.

Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Pork:
Position rack in lowest third of oven; preheat to 450F.

Mix garlic, sage, rosemary, coarse kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper in small bowl.

Brush olive oil all over pork, then rub spice mixture all over.

Place pork on rack set in roasting pan.

Roast 20 minutes.

Reduce heat to 300F and continue to roast until instant read thermometer inserted into center registers 185F, about 6 and 1/2 hours.

Remove pork from oven; tent with foil to keep warm.

Let rest 15 minutes.

Cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces and serve with salsa verde alongside. Makes 6 to 8 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:

How Pasta Conquered the Universe

Rome - June 15, 2011 - Pasta has topped a global survey of the world's favorite foods. So how did the dish so closely associated with Italy become a staple of so many tables around the globe?

While not everyone knows the difference between farfalle, fettuccine and fusilli, many people have slopped over a bowl of spaghetti bolognese or dove into a plate of lasagne.

But now a global survey by the charity Oxfam has named pasta as the world's most popular dish, ahead of meat, rice and pizza. As well as being popular in unsurprising European countries, pasta was one of the favorites in the Philippines, Guatemala, Brazil and South Africa.

And figures from the International Pasta Organization show Venezuela is the largest consumer of pasta, after Italy. Tunisia, Chile and Peru also feature in the top 10, while Mexicans, Argentineans and Bolivians all eat more pasta than the British.

Global sales figures reflect the world's love affair with pasta - they have risen from $13bn USD (8bn BP) in 2003 to $16bn USD (10bn BP) in 2010. The analysts at Datamonitor predict it will hit $19bn USD (12bn BP) by 2015, despite rising wheat costs.

So how did pasta become so popular? It's because it is cheap, versatile and convenient, says Jim Winship, from the UK-based Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association. A sauce to go with it can be made from simple ingredients.

"You can create lots of different dishes with it. It tastes good and it's filling. It also has a long shelf life, so you can keep it in the cupboards until you need to put a meal together."

But that's only part of its success. Pasta is also relatively easy to mass produce and transport around the world, making it a popular product with food companies as well.

"It's always been an industrial product," says John Dickie, professor in Italian Studies at University College London and author of Delizia! A History of the Italians and their Food.

"It is definitely one of the things that has contributed to its success - it's easy to transport and has a long shelf life. It has commercial genes."

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, says technological advances in the 19th Century allowed pasta to be produced on a big scale. But the Industrial Revolution did that for everything else, he adds, and the reason pasta had been particularly successful was because people liked it and the Italian way of life.

"It's a cultural phenomenon, not an industrial phenomenon," he says. "People like the Italian way of life and their simple, staple foods."

Pasta has always had a global aspect as its origins are not purely Italian, which is unsurprising considering it can be made with just wheat and water.

The Greeks and Romans had pasta-like foods but they tended to be baked, not boiled. Ancient China had dumplings, but it's a myth that the Venetian explorer Marco Polo returned from China with pasta in 1295.

The most accepted theory is that the Arab invasions of the 8th Century brought a dried noodle-like product to Sicily. This early pasta was made using flour from durum wheat, which Sicily specialized in. Under Italian law, dry pasta (or pasta secca) can only be made from this type of wheat, and the vast bulk of pasta is still made in Italy.

And despite being considered a cheap meal now it was the preserve of the rich in the very beginning, says Prof. Dickie.

"We tend to think of pasta like potatoes but it has never been viewed as a bland staple. It's been associated with prestige. People used to buy votes with pasta."

The first reference to pasta in Italy was noted in 1154 and it was about an export factory in Sicily, he says.

He says its breakthrough as a common food came in Naples in the 1700s, when it was recognized as "a good way to feed a large part of the populace".

But pasta popularity outside of Italy really took off at the turn of the 20th Century with large-scale Italian immigration to the New World. This is when it started to become known as Italy's national dish, he says.

Italian restaurateur Antonio Carluccio said pasta may have a long history, but the Italians made it their own by eating it with tomatoes.

He says most pasta is spaghetti outside of Italy but there are actually 600 different types and shapes and each region cooks it differently. He says its appeal is in the taste and its nutritional value.

"It is pleasurable with a good sauce, but it should just be coated, otherwise you lose the taste of the pasta. It is a complex carbohydrate which releases all the goodness slowly and you feel satisfied for a long time.

"I don't know one person who doesn't like pasta. It is very similar to bread - both are made with flour and water and they both need an accompaniment."

He's clearly not met food critic and broadcaster Giles Coren, who described pasta as "overrated gloppy stuff" that appeals only to children.

"Ask a footballer what they can cook and they always say spaghetti. It is what you reach for when there is nothing else left in the cupboard. It's poor people's food and it's unsophisticated. It's the same as bread - you just boil it instead of putting it in the oven."

So as popular as it is, pasta hasn't conquered everyone in the world.

Hmmm...interesting.

- The dried noodle-like food the Arabs introduced to Sicily in the 8th century is most likely the origins of dried pasta and was being produced in great quantities in Palermo at this time. Today with the invasion of the Mafia, the mass quantities of pasta produced has been replaced with that of cement, threats, and bullets.

- Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing pasta to the United States. It appears that he fell in love with a certain dish he tried in Naples, while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. In fact, he quickly ordered crates of "macaroni," along with a pasta-making machine, to be sent back to the States before the garbage crisis prevented his ship from leaving port.

- Whether you like it or not, it takes about a half a gallon of water to cook pasta, and about a gallon of water to clean the stupid pot.

- Cook pasta until it is 'al dente', firm to the teeth yet tender. Many Americans cook pasta until it is too soft. It does not have to resemble Chef Boyardee pasta. A minute or two less of cooking time will do wonders for your pasta dishes and create less embarrassment. By the way, Chef Boyardee canned pasta products is named after its founder, Italian-American immigrant Ettore Boiardi.

The pasta line began production in the United States in the 1920s as a practical joke...unfortunately, many Americans took the joke seriously.

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