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 10/14/09 Beef Rolls with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, Olives, and Capers

"Chi tante male azioni fa, una grossa ne aspetta." (He who does many bad deeds can expect a big one in return. What goes around comes around.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fava Bean, Pea, and Artichoke Stew
  -Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni
  -Beef Rolls with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, Olives, and Capers

Enjoy your recipes with health and happiness!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Fava Bean, Pea, and Artichoke Stew

Fava Bean, Pea, and Artichoke Stew
Stufato di Fava, Piselli e Carciofi

Ingredients:

2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (2 and 1/2 lbs in pods) or shelled edamame (fresh soybeans)
2 lemons, halved
4 large artichokes (3/4 lb each)
2 oz guanciale (smoked pork jowl)* or pancetta, cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks (1/2 cup)
2 cups thinly sliced onion
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh or frozen peas (not thawed)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Directions:

Prepare the Fava Beans:
Blanch beans in a 2-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute, then drain in a sieve and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking.

Gently peel off skins (it's not necessary to peel edamame, if using).

Prepare the Artichokes:
Fill a large bowl with 4 cups cold water and squeeze juice from 2 lemon halves into bowl.

Cut off stem of 1 artichoke and reserve.

Cut off top inch of artichoke with a serrated knife.

Bend back outer leaves until they snap off close to base, then discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until you reach pale yellow leaves with pale green tips.

Cut remaining leaves flush with top of artichoke bottom using a paring knife, then quarter bottom.

Cut out fuzzy choke and purple leaves with paring knife.

Trim dark green fibrous parts from base and side of artichoke, then rub cut surfaces with a remaining lemon half and put artichoke bottom in bowl of acidulated water.

Trim 1/4 inch from end of reserved stem to expose inner core, then trim sides of stem down to pale inner core (don't worry if remaining stem is very thin).

Rub cut surfaces with lemon half and put in bowl of acidulated water.

Trim remaining artichokes, including stems, in same manner.

Prepare the Stew:
Drain artichokes and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices, including stems.

Cook guanciale and onion in olive oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

Add sliced artichokes, fava beans, and remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Makes 4 main-course servings

Note: Stew can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Stew will thicken slightly; add water to thin to desired consistency.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni

Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni
Cannelloni agli Spinaci e Formaggio

Ingredients:

For the Sauce:
1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/3 cup)

For the Cannelloni:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 oz baby spinach
1 and 3/4 cups ricotta (12 oz fresh or 15 oz supermarket-style)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto (optional), chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
8 (6 by 4-inch) fresh pasta rectangles or 8 oven-ready (sometimes labeled "no-boil") lasagne noodles

Directions:

Prepare the Sauce:
Melt butter in a 1 and 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat.

Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 2 minutes.

Add milk in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly (sauce will thicken).

Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes, then whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, then cover pan.

Prepare the Cannelloni:
Heat olive oil in a 5 to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add spinach and saute, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool completely.

Stir together ricotta, egg, parsley, prosciutto (if using), salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup cheese in a bowl, then stir in spinach mixture.

Boil pasta 2 pieces at a time in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water , stirring to separate, until just tender, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta or about 6 minutes for oven-ready noodles.

Gently transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of cold water to stop cooking, then remove from bowl, shaking off water, and lay flat on kitchen towels (not terry cloth).

Pat dry with paper towels.

Trim oven-ready noodles (if using) as closely as possible to six 1/4 by 5 and 1/2-inch rectangles.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Spread 2/3 cup sauce in buttered baking dish (13 by 9 by 2-inch ceramic baking dish or other shallow 3-qt flameproof baking dish will be fine as long as it is not glass).

Spread about 1/3 cup ricotta filling in a line along 1 short side of 1 pasta rectangle, then roll up to enclose filling.

Transfer, seam side down, to baking dish.

Make 7 more cannelloni in same manner, arranging snugly in 1 layer.

Spread 1/2 cup more sauce over cannelloni and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, covered with foil, in middle of oven until sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Turn on broiler.

Remove foil and broil cannelloni about 5 inches from heat until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Reheat remaining sauce and serve on the side. Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings.

Note: Cannelloni can be assembled (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before baking. Remaining sauce will need to be thinned slightly.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Beef Rolls with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, Olives, and Capers

Beef Rolls with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, Olives, and Capers
Rotoli di Manzo con Parmigiano, Pinoli, Olive e Capperi

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 tablespoon drained bottled capers, chopped
4 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs from an Italian loaf
2/3 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/3 cup)

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 (1/2-lb) pieces boneless beef top round (1/4 inch thick)

Directions:

Prepare the Tomato Sauce:
Cook tomatoes with garlic, salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce is thickened, 8 to 12 minutes.

Prepare the Filling:
While tomatoes are cooking, pulse olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped and transfer to a bowl.

Stir in bread crumbs, cheese, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Pulse tomato sauce in cleaned processor until coarsely pureed, then return to saucepan and keep warm.

Prepare the Beef Rolls:
Pound meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/8 inch thick, then cut each piece in half crosswise.

Sprinkle 1 piece of beef evenly with one fourth of filling.

Starting with a long side, roll up beef, then tie in 3 places with kitchen string.

Season beef roll well with salt and pepper.

Make 3 more rolls with remaining beef and filling.

Heat remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then cook beef rolls, turning, until well browned on outside, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare.

Let beef stand 5 minutes.

Cut off kitchen string and halve each roll diagonally.

Spoon sauce onto 4 plates, then top with beef and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons each of pine nuts and parsley. 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:

40 Dead In Italy Hunting Accidents

Rome - February 9, 2009 - Some 41 people died and 85 were wounded in hunting accidents during the five-month season that just ended, the Italian Association for Hunting Victims (AVC) said Monday.

There were 86 casualties among hunters, AVC said: 24 dead and 62 wounded between the start of September and the end of January. Civilian casualties were 40: 17 dead and 23 wounded. Tuscany had the highest number of deaths, 17, followed by Sardinia with 12 and Veneto with ten, AVC said.

"Ciao Giuseppe! What did you shoot today?"
"Ah, Vincenzo! It took a while but I finally caught that swine that gives all those free eggplants and escarole to my wife."

Unfortunately, hunting is legal in Italy and the arrogant mules that make up the pro-hunting lobby have managed to overcome all efforts to have it banned.

About 70% of Italian hunters are concentrated in the central and northern areas of the country with Tuscany, Umbria and Sardinia being the most popular regions. "What minchioni!" Is anyone reading this stupid newsletter? Will someone explain to these people about the wonderful world of pottery class and scrapbooking?

But here is the kick in the "coglioni"... Game is public property and you can hunt in most places provided you're at least 100 meters (328 ft) from a house and don't damage crops.

"Civilian casualties were 40: 17 dead and 23 wounded." When you read a statistic like this you begin to realize, if you're a short little fatso who puts on a brown jacket and wanders off to pick daisies, you could be mistaken for a wild boar.

"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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