10/30/13 Potato Gratin with Mascarpone and Porcini Mushrooms

"Gettare troppa carne al fuoco." (Throwing to much meat on the fire.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fried Cardoons
  -Potato Gratin with Mascarpone and Porcini Mushrooms
  -Mushroom Ravioli in Porcini Broth

"Ciao bello!" Thanks for reading! We appreciate you stopping for a moment in your busy day to take a look at what Italian recipe could light up your kitchen with wonderful sights and aromas.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Fried Cardoons

Fried Cardoons
Cardi Fritti


2 and 1/4 pounds cardoons (1 large bunch)
About 6 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Discard any discolored outer stalks and small leaves from the cardoons.

Trim base, tips, and outermost stalks, removing strings from stalks with a vegetable peeler (as for celery), then cut cardoons crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

Soak cardoons in 2 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl, chilled, at least 8 hours.

Drain cardoons.

Transfer to a 6-quart pot, then generously cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Bring to a boil.

Simmer, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain on several layers of paper towels and cool 5 minutes.

Heat about 1 and 1/2 inches vegetable oil to 360?F in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat.

Whisk together flour and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl.

Whisk together eggs, water, and cheese in another shallow bowl.

Toss one fifth of cardoons (all at once) with flour, shaking off excess.

Transfer to egg mixture and turn with a fork to coat.

Lift out coated cardoons 2 at a time, letting excess drip off.

Carefully drop into hot oil.

When all of batch has been added, fry, turning occasionally, until golden, 2 to 4 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to fresh paper towels to drain.

Coat and fry remaining cardoons in 4 batches. (Return oil to 360?F between batches.)

Season with salt. Makes 8 appetizer servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Potato Gratin with Mascarpone and Porcini Mushrooms

Potato Gratin with Mascarpone and Porcini Mushrooms
Gratin di Patate con Mascarpone e Funghi Porcini


2 and 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 5 large),
4 ounces dried Porcini mushrooms
1 and 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese (from about 1 and 1/2 seven-ounce containers)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
1 cup whipping cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


Peel and cut the potatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Place Porcini mushrooms and 1 cup boiling water in a medium bowl.

Place small bowl atop mushrooms to keep submerged.

Let soak 20 minutes.

Drain and coarsely chop mushrooms.

Melt butter with olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Add mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat.

Whisk 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, garlic cloves and nutmeg.

Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 325?F.

Butter wide shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Arrange 1/4 of potato slices in bottom of dish.

Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Scatter 1/4 of mushrooms over.


Spread half of cheese mixture over, shaking dish to settle.

Repeat with remaining potatoes and mushrooms in 2 layers each.

Spread remaining cheese mixture over.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese over.

Place gratin dish on rimmed baking sheet.

Bake gratin until top is brown and sauce is bubbling at edges, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Let gratin rest 15 minutes before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushroom Ravioli in Porcini Broth

Mushroom Ravioli in Porcini Broth
Ravioli di Funghi in Brodo di Porcini


8 ounces purchased fresh or frozen wild mushroom ravioli
2 ounces dried Porcini mushrooms (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, minced (about 3/4 cup)
3 cups water
4 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons dry Sherry
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Bring 3 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan.

Add Porcini mushrooms.

Remove from heat.

Let soak until mushrooms are soft, about 20 minutes.

Place strainer over medium bowl.

Line strainer with cheesecloth.

Strain mushroom soaking liquid.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add shallots.

Reduce heat to medium-low and saute until shallots are soft, about 5-6 minutes.

Add mushroom soaking liquid, then chicken broth, wine, Sherry, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Cook ravioli in large saucepan of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.


Add ravioli to hot mushroom broth.

Ladle into bowls.

Sprinkle with green onion tops and serve. Makes 6 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:

Sheep Upset Over Police Seizure of Marijuana

L'Aquila - October 2, 2013 - Italian police inspected a piece of farmland where a flock of sheep grazed on more than just the usual grass. The land was also used to cultivate marijuana plants.

The landowner had admitted to being the owner of the marijuana plants that were immediately eradicated and seized. The sheep lived and grazed where the marijuana plants were grown, and became accustomed to grazing on them.

When a drug police squad moved in on the sheep owner's land in Coppito, L'Aquila and started to remove the marijuana plants, the sheep suddenly became nervous and jittery. They followed the police officers carrying the 2-foot plants away and attempted to eat whatever they could.

Poor "coglione". Doesn't he remind you of the scene in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell's little light was dimming and going out. There's his brain. Battery going...down.

You know, when you think about how huge the planet is and how it's just a fraction of the size of the sun, which is just a speck of dust in the entire universe...you begin to realize why it's easy for this Italian to rationalize making cash from growing illegal plants around free roaming sheep.

Obviously, something went wrong in the sheep owner's super plan and he could have used good business advice from one of our subscribers:

1) Raise and groom sheep on farm all day (no longer profitable, need cash fast).
2) Buy shrimp boat.
3) Eat chocolate at bus stop (while figuring out where to get money for boat).
4) Grow and sell pot (sun, soil, water, seeds, southern exposure).
5) Use sheep as cover.
6) Fence in sheep to keep away from crops (OPTIONAL).

And how well could have sales gone?

Dealer: "I need enough 'spinelli' for the 6-day weekend."
Sheep owner: "'Tranquillo'...I can get it to you in two shakes of a lamb's tail."
Dealer: "Aren't you always blabbering that lambs have no tails?
Sheep owner: ...
Dealer: "'Figlio di puttana', where are you going with this?"

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