10/07/09 Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives, and Gremolata

"Chi di speranza vive disperato muore." (Who lives with hope, dies in despair.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Mushroom Tortellini in Mushroom Broth
  -Chicken with Sweet and Hot Red Peppers
  -Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives, and Gremolata

Enjoy your recipes with health and happiness!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Mushroom Tortellini in Mushroom Broth

Mushroom Tortellini in Mushroom Broth
Tortellini ai Funghi in Brodo


2 cups boiling-hot water
1 and 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1 and 1/2 cups)
1 large leek
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with rind (at least 6 oz)
1/2 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, caps and stems chopped separately
1/4 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps and stems chopped separately
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus 2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (3 to 4-inch) piece celery rib
4 cups cold water
4 cups beef broth
8 black peppercorns, cracked
Fresh pasta dough at room temperature
All-purpose flour for dusting

Small fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish
Special equipment: kitchen string; cheesecloth; a pasta maker; a 2-inch round cookie cutter


Prepare the Vegetables for Stuffing and Broth:
Pour boiling-hot water over porcini in a bowl and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes.

Lift out porcini, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, and rinse to remove any grit.

Finely chop porcini.

Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into another bowl and reserve.

Trim leek, reserving about 5 inches of green leaves, and rinse greens well.

Halve rest of leek lengthwise, then rinse well under cold water and pat dry.

Coarsely chop greens and finely chop white and pale green parts, reserving greens separately.

Finely grate enough cheese to measure 1/4 cup, then cut off and reserve rind.

Reserve remaining piece of cheese.

Prepare the Filling for Tortellini:
Pulse cremini caps, shiitake caps, 1/3 cup chopped porcini, white and pale green parts of leek, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely minced.

Heat butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook mushroom mixture, stirring constantly, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are golden, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

Stir in 1/4 cup grated cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the Broth:
Tuck parsley and thyme sprigs into celery and tie together tightly with string to make a bouquet garni.

Bring cold water, beef broth, bouquet garni, cracked peppercorns, cremini stems, shiitake stems, leek greens, remaining chopped porcini, porcini soaking liquid, cheese rind, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, partially covered, 45 minutes.

Pour broth through a large sieve lined with a double thickness of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth (or dampened paper towels) into a large bowl, pressing on and discarding solids.

Return broth to saucepan.

Roll Out Pasta and Form Tortellini:
Set smooth rollers of pasta maker at widest setting.

Cut pasta dough into 4 pieces and keep 3 pieces covered.

Flatten unwrapped piece of dough into a rectangle and feed through rollers.

Fold rectangle in half and feed through rollers 8 more times, folding in half each time and dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through without folding.

Continue to feed dough through without folding, making space between rollers narrower each time, until narrowest setting is used. (Cut sheet of dough in half if it gets too long.)

Cut out as many rounds as possible from sheet with cookie cutter (reserve trimmings for another use, such as chicken noodle soup).

Transfer rounds in 1 layer to a lightly floured wax-paper-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

Working with 5 pasta rounds at a time, put 1/4 teaspoon filling in center of each round, keeping remaining rounds covered tightly with plastic wrap.

Moisten edges of filling-topped rounds with a fingertip dipped in water and fold in half, letting bottom edge protrude slightly beyond top edge, then press top edge to bottom half to seal.

Holding straight edge of half-moon against nail of your little finger, wrap half-moon around fingertip (which will cause curved edge to flip up), overlapping corners and pinching to seal.

Transfer tortellini to a dry kitchen towel (not terry cloth).

Roll out and cut remaining dough and make more tortellini in same manner, working with 1 piece at a time.

Cook the Tortellini:
Bring broth to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

Add tortellini and cook at a strong simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle broth with 8 to 10 tortellini per person into bowls and serve remaining piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the side for grating. Makes 8 to 10 servings or about 80 tortellini.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken with Sweet and Hot Red Peppers

Chicken with Sweet and Hot Red Peppers
Pollo con Peperoni Dolce e Piccante


8 small chicken thighs with skin and bones (2 and 1/2 lbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 red bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch wide strips
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine


Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then cook chicken, skin sides down, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Turn chicken over and cook 2 minutes more, then transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet and cook bell peppers, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (to taste), and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add wine and boil 1 minute.

Nestle chicken, skin sides up, into pepper mixture and cook, covered, over moderate heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Turn on broiler.

Remove lid from skillet and broil chicken 4 to 6 inches from heat until skin is crisp, about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives, and Gremolata

Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives, and Gremolata
Osso Buco con Pomodoro, Olive e Gremolata


For the Stew:
8 to 10 (10-oz) meaty cross-cut veal shanks (osso buco; 5 to 6 and 1/2 lbs total), each tied with kitchen string
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 (28 to 32-oz) can whole plum tomatoes with juice (not in puree), coarsely chopped
1 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 (2 by 1/2-inch) strips fresh lemon zest , cut crosswise into fine julienne
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

For the Gremolata:
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

Special equipment: 7 to 9-quart heavy ovenproof pot (wide enough to hold shanks in 1 layer)


Prepare the Stew:
Preheat oven to 325F.

Pat shanks dry and season with salt and pepper.

Divide shanks and flour between 2 large sealable plastic bags and shake to coat, then remove shanks from bags, shaking off excess flour.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown shanks well in 2 batches, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, transferring to a plate.

Reduce heat to moderate and add remaining tablespoon butter to pot along with onions, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes.

Add remaining stew ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring.

Arrange shanks in pot in 1 layer and return to a simmer.

Cover pot and braise shanks in middle of oven until very tender, about 2 and 1/2 hours.

Remove strings from osso buco and discard along with parsley sprigs and bay leaf.

Prepare the Gremolata and Serve Osso Buco:
Stir together gremolata ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over osso buco.

Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings

Note: Osso buco (without gremolata) can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Reheat, covered, in a 325F oven 30 to 40 minutes.

Osso buco can also be cooked in a large roasting pan. Straddle pan across 2 burners for browning and boiling, then cover pan tightly with foil for braising.

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:

Master Violinist Sells Fake Violins

Rome - October 31, 2008 - An acclaimed violinist has been caught selling his students fake vintage violins for hundreds of thousands of euros.

Sergey Diatchenko, 64, a Russian with Italian nationality, was arrested on fraud charges after police went to a payout for a violin he claimed was made by the great 16th-century violin maker Gasparo da Salo'. Da Salo' is credited with making the first modern violins along with Andrea Amati, another historic craftsman whose work Diatchenko claimed to have.

Diatchenko, a student of the great Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, also sold a fake violin he said was made by Andrea Amati's even more famous grandson Nicolo', the man who taught Antonio Stradivari his trade.

The student who led the police to the payout had become suspicious after paying 650,000 euros for a fake instrument attributed to the celebrated 18th-century craftsman Giovanni Battista Guadagnini.

Police found 197 violins in Diatchenko's studio, all cheap modern mock-ups of historically famous instruments. So far police have identified six students cheated by the violin teacher - six Italians, a Dutch man and a South Korean woman.

"Cacchio" of course it's a genuine 'Guadagnini'! Now, stop drooling and look at the craftsmanship.

You know, an earthquake is less of a threat than a typical Italian fraud; less people hurt.

The person who was shafted of 650,000 Euros (812,000 USD) on the fake 'Guadagnini' was a 30 year-old, wheelchair-bound student of Diatchenko who spent his entire accident compensation on the spectacular purchase. For all of you who wake up at the crack of dawn and constantly repeat the words, "customer service, how can I help you?", does this story make you want to pour your breakfast over your head...or his?

A warning to all violinists (handicapped and non) who have a "deal of the century" in the works in Italy: All the real 'Stradivarius' violins are accounted for!

There are no original Strads out there floating about or in some Sicilian barn, Naples attic, or villa estate sale.

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