10/19/11 Spaghettini with Pecorino Romano e Escarole

"L'unione fa la forza." (In union there is strength.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Spaghettini with Pecorino Romano e Escarole
  -Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
  -Braised Veal Shanks

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 Recipe: Spaghettini with Pecorino Romano e Escarole

Spaghettini with Pecorino Romano e Escarole
Spaghettini con Pecorino Romano e Scarola


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/2 lbs escarole (about 1 large head), cut into 1 to 2-inch strips
1 cup water

1 pound spaghettini pasta
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

Add anchovies and dried crushed red pepper; stir 1 minute.

Add garlic; stir 30 seconds.

Stir in escarole.

Add 1 cup water, cover pan, and reduce heat to low.

Cook until escarole is tender, about 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Add pasta to escarole mixture and stir over low heat to combine, adding cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary.

Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Divide pasta among shallow bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
Farfalle con Salsiccia, Pomodori, e Crema


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet sausages, casings removed
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/2 cup whipping cream

1 pound Farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add sausage and crushed red pepper.

Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes.

Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer.

Add tomatoes and cream.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Return pasta to same pot.

Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry.

Transfer pasta to serving dish.

Sprinkle with basil.

Serve, passing cheese separately. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Veal Shanks

Braised Veal Shanks
Stinco di Vitello Brasato


For the Shanks
8 (12 to 14-oz) meaty cross-cut veal shanks (also known as osso buco; each about 1 and 3/4 inches thick)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and finely chopped
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, pulsed (including juice) in food processor until chopped
1 cup water
2 (4 by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
2 (4 by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest

For the Gremolata
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1 large garlic clove, minced


Prepare the Shanks:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Pat shanks dry.

Stir together flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper on a sheet of wax paper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

While olive oil heats, dredge 4 shanks in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Brown shanks in olive oil on all sides, turning with tongs, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer to a large (17 by 12 by 2-inch) roasting pan.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and repeat with remaining 4 shanks.

Discard remaining flour mixture.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and cook onion, garlic, anchovies, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

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

Stir in tomatoes, water, zest strips, and remaining teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, then pour mixture over shanks.

Tightly cover pan with foil and braise in oven 1 hour.

Turn shanks over, cover, and continue to braise until meat is very tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours more.

Remove from oven and skim fat from surface of sauce, then transfer shanks and sauce to a large platter.

Discard bay leaves.

Prepare the Gremolata:
Stir together parsley, grated zests, and garlic and sprinkle over shanks. Makes 4 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:

Italy Producing Wine 24/7, Non-Stop

Rome - June 13, 2011 - Italy last year overtook France to become the world's biggest wine producer and data for this year show a surge in Italian wine exports, the Coldiretti farmers' union reported.

Citing data from the European Union, Coldiretti said the last harvest produced 49.6 million hectoliters of wine in Italy compared to 46.2 million hectoliters in France.

"It is with great pride that we can say we are the world's leading wine producer, having surpassed France not only in value but also in volume," Italian Agriculture Minister Saverio Romano said.

"This benchmark is also thanks to the excellent performance our wines are having abroad, with a 31% increase in exports to the United States in the first two months of 2011," he added.

"We are also first for quality, with over 60% of the wine we produce bottled with recognized denomination of origin labels. But we can even do better, we must do better," Romano said.

Italy had surpassed France in the past for bulk unbottled wine production, much of which was exported to France where it was used to blend more famous bottled wines like Beaujolais.

Italy overtook France also for the production of sparkling wines with 4.2 million hectoliters of Prosecco and spumante bottled compared to four million hectoliters for French Champagne.

It wasn't tough to overtake France (even for Italy). After all, we're talking about a country whose greatest contribution to cuisine was the souffle...or the flat cake; something puffed up with a lot of hot air and full of fattening crap.

Sometimes ideas or stories take on lives of their own, and some Italian-wine lovers become unconscious and moronic believers in what are the wine equivalent of urban legends. But don't worry, our disciples, we're here to help your loved ones or arrogant friends make less of fools of themselves.

Here are some examples of those myths:

1) Chianti is a cheap wine in straw packaging.

Some very fine Chianti wines have always existed, but they used to represent a tiny minority of all Chianti. Now the red-checkered-tableclothed tables have changed course, taken Fettuccine Alfredo off their embarrassing menus, and offer a majority of Chianti wines of high quality. Chianti Classico, the type of Chianti most commonly found outside of Italy, is particularly ok. Prices have risen with the quality, and now you can easily find $25-$30 bottles of Chianti Classico in decent wine shops. Inexpensive and crappy $10 bottles of Chianti do still exist including some in the ridiculous and flammable straw packaging, but the category as a whole has moved uptown.

2) Italy's best wines are all red.

It's ok, it's an understandable misunderstanding. After all, Italy makes about twice as much red wine as white wine, and most of Italy's most famous wines, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and so forth are red. But certain parts of Italy definitely have what it takes to make fine white wines, and producers in those areas are doing just that. When the Campania region is not juggling a decade-old garbage crisis and the Camorra Mafia, it's producing two terrific whites, Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino.

3) Italian wines should be enjoyed with just Italian food.

Eh, no. Any time you drink the wine of a particular wine region with the food of the same region, the combination is usually suitable and melodic. In the case of Italian food, no wines taste better than Italian wines...even if you drink a hearty wine of the poor and corrupt South with a dish that's typical of a racist Northern region. Luckily, Italy's wines are incredibly food-friendly that their pairing talent extends far beyond the prejudice Italian kitchen.

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