10/27/10 Pumpkin Soup

"L'abito non fa il monaco." (The habit does not make the monk. Clothes don't make the man.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pumpkin Soup
  -Pizza with Wild Mushrooms, Onions, Fontina Cheese, and Rosemary
  -Salmon with Bell Peppers and Capers

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Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup
Zuppa Di Zucca


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Soup:
2 and 1/4 lbs (1 kg) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 potatoes, diced
5 oz (150 grams) Beaufort cheese, freshly grated
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 slices day-old bread
7 fl oz (200 ml) double cream
Salt and pepper


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Soup:
Steam the pumpkin for about 20-25 minutes.

Bring the meat stock to a boil.

Melt the butter in another pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the potatoes, pumpkin and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in the hot stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Lightly toast the bread, then dice it.

Mix together the Beaufort cheese, cream, bread and a pinch of pepper in a bowl.

Divide the mixture between four individual soup bowls and ladle in the soup. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pizza with Wild Mushrooms, Onions, Fontina Cheese, and Rosemary

Pizza with Wild Mushrooms, Onions, Fontina Cheese, and Rosemary
Pizza con Funghi di Bosco, Cipolle, Formaggio Fontina, e Rosmarino


7 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)

2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, chanterelle, and stemmed shiitake), cut into bite-size pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 medium)
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Pizza Dough
Cornmeal (for dusting)
Garlic oil
3 cups grated Fontina cheese (about 10 ounces)


Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions and saute until golden, about 45 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter with 1 teaspoon olive oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms, garlic, and shallot.

Saute 4 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 13 minutes.

Add rosemary; season with salt and pepper.

Position rack in bottom third of oven.

Place heavy 17 x 11-inch baking sheet on rack (invert if rimmed).

Preheat oven to 500F at least 30 minutes before baking.

Roll out 2 dough disks on lightly floured surface to 8-inch rounds, allowing dough to rest a few minutes if it springs back.

Sprinkle another baking sheet (invert if rimmed) with cornmeal.

Transfer 1 dough round to second baking sheet.

Lightly brush dough with garlic oil.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.

Scatter 2 and 1/2 tablespoons onions over cheese.

Scatter 1/2 cup mushrooms over onions.

Sprinkle with salt.

Position baking sheet with pizza at far edge of 1 side of hot baking sheet.

Tilt sheet and pull back slowly, allowing pizza to slide onto hot sheet.

Repeat with second dough disk, garlic oil, cheese, onions, mushrooms, and salt, and slide second pizza onto second half of hot baking sheet.

Bake pizzas 6 minutes.

Rotate pizzas half a turn.

Bake until crust is deep brown, about 6 minutes longer.

Using large spatula, carefully transfer pizzas to cutting board.

Let rest 1 minute.

Slice into wedges and serve.

Repeat with remaining ingredients. Makes six 8-inch pizzas.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Salmon with Bell Peppers and Capers

Salmon with Bell Peppers and Capers
Salmone con Peperoni e Capperi


2 red bell peppers and 1 yellow
2 lbs wild salmon, preferably cut as a long fillet, not steaks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed in cold water if packed in vinegar OR if packed in salt, rinsed, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then rinsed again; if their size is much larger than nonpareils, cut them up a little bit
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
Fine sea salt
Black pepper ground fresh from the mill


Char the peppers, skin them, split them, and remove their core and seeds.

Cut them into strips less than an inch wide and 1 and 1/2-inches long.

You can prepare the peppers early the same day that you are making the fish for dinner.

Turn on the oven to 375.

Wash the fish in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Coat a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Lay the salmon down in the pan, skin side facing down if you have long fillets.

Distribute all around the salmon the peppers, capers, and the whole peeled garlic cloves.

Sprinkle with a liberal quantity of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the remaining olive oil over the fish.

Put the dish in the preheated oven and cook for 16 minutes.

Let it settle for a few minutes before serving. Serves 4.

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:

20 Mushroom Hunters Fall To Their Deaths

Turin - September 10, 2010 - A 60-year-old woman from a town near Turin has become the latest in a spate of deaths among mushroom hunters in the northern Italian mountains.

The body of Marisa Sartori from Robassomero was found in a crevice about 20m under a mountain road.

On Wednesday another woman died after falling from a mountain track.

Some 20 mushroom hunters have fallen to their deaths in the past month as they sought the prized tubers after rains.

Wild mushrooms are currently fetching premium prices at northern Italian markets.

Italy has turned mushroom hunting into practically an art, and it takes someone skilled to do it well. When certain wild mushrooms are in season, particularly truffles, Italian nincompoops can become very competitive and secretive when going out on the hunt, for example, wearing camouflage and hunting in darkness in an effort to scout remote, highly-coveted troves.

Of course, the camouflage certainly helps. That's so the mushrooms do not get frightened and scurry away.

There are about 300 different types of non-edible mushrooms in Europe. Eating them can cause problems such as digestive discomfort (nausea, diarrhea) for a limited period of time or more serious ailments such as convulsions, tachycardia or kidney infection. No one knows more about these ailments than the 40,000 Italians that suffer from mushroom poisoning every year.

If you have nothing better to do in Italy and you're interested in hunting for wild mushrooms, here are some tips:

- Get a real live guide who does not have angry issues with his neighbors,

- Be 100 percent sure that the mushrooms you forage is safe. The easiest way is to show it to your guide. If he takes more than 5 seconds to identify it, don't take any chances and throw it in his face,

- Avoid the so-called prized mushrooms that flourish only on the side of steep cliffs. Tell your guide to be your guest and go first.

Or you can also hunt for mushrooms at your local supermarket. Go to the produce section where you'll find different varieties, reasonable prices and fewer cliffs.

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