09/28/11 Chicken, Fennel and Escarole Soup

"Sbagliando s'impara." (One learns from one's mistakes. Practice makes perfect.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Chicken, Fennel and Escarole Soup
  -Potato Nests with Eggs
  -Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Chicken, Fennel and Escarole Soup

Chicken, Fennel and Escarole Soup
Zuppa di Pollo, Finocchio e Scarola


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cups chopped onions
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
One 14 to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
8 cups chicken broth
1 head of escarole, cut into wide strips
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.

Add chicken.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Mix in onions, celery, garlic, and fennel seeds.

Saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes.

Add broth; bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium; simmer until vegetables and chicken are tender, about 15-17 minutes.

Add escarole; simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls.

Serve, passing cheese separately. Makes 6 main-course servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Potato Nests with Eggs

Potato Nests with Eggs
Nidi di Patate Con Le Uova


4 eggs
4 potatoes
1 oz (25 grams) butter, cut into 4 slices
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Salt and pepper


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

Cook the potatoes in salted water for about 9-10 minutes.


Cut off the tops and scoop out the potato flesh with a teaspoon, leaving the shells intact.

Place the potato shells in an ovenproof dish and break an egg into each one.

Top each with a slice of butter and a little anchovy paste.

Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Polpette in Salsa di Pomodoro


1 pound ground round
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
One 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in heavy puree


Remove ground round and sausage from refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before cooking, if possible.

Place bread crumbs in large bowl and stir in 1/3 cup water.

When absorbed, blend together with eggs, garlic, 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Add meats to bread crumb mixture and combine well with fork.

Form into 12 even balls.

Lay in 1 layer in 8 by 14-inch baking dish so each is separated by about 1 inch.

Stir 1/4 cup water into crushed tomatoes and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

Pour tomatoes over and around meatballs.

Sprinkle tops with remaining 1 and 1/3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese.

Bake in center of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, about 18 minutes.

Serve hot. Makes twelve 2 and 1/2-inch meatballs.

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.

"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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