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 11/09/11 Linguine with Bay Scallops and Lemon

"Quando la gatta non in paese, i topi ballano." (When the cat's away the mice will play.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pancetta, Tomato, and Burrata Sandwiches
  -Linguine with Bay Scallops and Lemon
  -Tuna Salad with Herbs and Capers

"Ciao!" A note of thanks for being a part of our growing Italian recipe community. We're over 5,000 members now. Remember, you started it. Enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       


 Recipe: Pancetta, Tomato, and Burrata Sandwiches

Pancetta, Tomato, and Burrata Sandwiches
Panini con Pancetta, Pomodoro, e Burrata

Ingredients:

4 (3-ounce) packages thinly sliced pancetta
6 (3 to 4-inch-diameter, 3/4-inch thick) slices ripe red heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely torn fresh basil leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 (4 x 4 x 1/2-inch) slices egg bread or brioche, lightly toasted
18 ounces burrata cheese
4 cups (about) baby arugula

Directions:

Working in batches, cook pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Place tomato slices in shallow baking dish.

Add basil, olive oil, oregano, and salt.

Sprinkle with ground black pepper and turn to coat.

Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Place 6 toasted bread slices on work surface.

Divide burrata among bread slices and spread to edges.

Top each with 1 tomato slice, then pancetta slices, dividing equally.

Top with arugula.

Cover with remaining 6 toasted bread slices, and press each slightly to adhere.

Cut each sandwich in half and serve. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Linguine with Bay Scallops and Lemon

Linguine with Bay Scallops and Lemon
Linguine con Capesante e Limone

Ingredients:

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
12 ounces tagliarini or linguine
12 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
3/4 cup minced shallots (about 3 large)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh chervil or Italian parsley

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add breadcrumbs and stir until golden, about 5 minutes.

Stir in red pepper.

Transfer to bowl; reserve skillet.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente', stirring occasionally.

Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Return pasta to pot.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in reserved skillet over high heat.

Add scallops; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Saute until browned, about 1 minute.

Transfer scallops to pot with pasta.

Add shallots to skillet; saute 3 minutes.

Add wine and lemon juice; boil, scraping up browned bits.

Add lemon sauce, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and butter to pasta.

Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if needed.

Mix in half of breadcrumb mixture.

Transfer pasta to bowl.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture, then chervil. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tuna Salad with Herbs and Capers

Tuna Salad with Herbs and Capers
Insalata di Tonno con Erbe e Capperi

Ingredients:

For the Tuna:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
4 teaspoons liquid from capers in jar
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper
Pinch of sugar
1 small onion, quartered through core, thinly sliced crosswise (1 scant cup)
Six 6 to 7-ounce 1-inch-thick tuna steaks

For the Salad:
2 cups (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup (loosely packed) assorted fresh herb leaves (such as tarragon, chervil, oregano, celery leaves, and marjoram)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Prepare the Tuna:
Whisk first 9 ingredients in large bowl.

Stir in onion.

Transfer mixture to resealable plastic bag.

Add tuna and seal bag, releasing any excess air; turn to coat.

Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour, turning occasionally. (Alternatively, chill 4 hours, turning occasionally, then allow to return to room temperature before continuing.)

For the Salad:
Mix parsley and other herbs in large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and chill while preparing fish.

Prepare oven grill (high heat).

Brush grill rack with olive oil.

Remove tuna from bag, scraping excess marinade back into bag.

Grill until grill marks appear but tuna is still rare in centers, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to plate.

Pour marinade into small saucepan.

Bring just to simmer.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil and lemon juice over herb salad; toss to coat.

Place 1 tuna steak on each plate.

Spoon warm marinade over.

Divide herb salad among plates. Serves 6.

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:

How Pasta Conquered the Universe

Rome - June 15, 2011 - Pasta has topped a global survey of the world's favorite foods. So how did the dish so closely associated with Italy become a staple of so many tables around the globe?

While not everyone knows the difference between farfalle, fettuccine and fusilli, many people have slopped over a bowl of spaghetti bolognese or dove into a plate of lasagne.

But now a global survey by the charity Oxfam has named pasta as the world's most popular dish, ahead of meat, rice and pizza. As well as being popular in unsurprising European countries, pasta was one of the favorites in the Philippines, Guatemala, Brazil and South Africa.

And figures from the International Pasta Organization show Venezuela is the largest consumer of pasta, after Italy. Tunisia, Chile and Peru also feature in the top 10, while Mexicans, Argentineans and Bolivians all eat more pasta than the British.

Global sales figures reflect the world's love affair with pasta - they have risen from $13bn USD (8bn BP) in 2003 to $16bn USD (10bn BP) in 2010. The analysts at Datamonitor predict it will hit $19bn USD (12bn BP) by 2015, despite rising wheat costs.

So how did pasta become so popular? It's because it is cheap, versatile and convenient, says Jim Winship, from the UK-based Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association. A sauce to go with it can be made from simple ingredients.

"You can create lots of different dishes with it. It tastes good and it's filling. It also has a long shelf life, so you can keep it in the cupboards until you need to put a meal together."

But that's only part of its success. Pasta is also relatively easy to mass produce and transport around the world, making it a popular product with food companies as well.

"It's always been an industrial product," says John Dickie, professor in Italian Studies at University College London and author of Delizia! A History of the Italians and their Food.

"It is definitely one of the things that has contributed to its success - it's easy to transport and has a long shelf life. It has commercial genes."

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, says technological advances in the 19th Century allowed pasta to be produced on a big scale. But the Industrial Revolution did that for everything else, he adds, and the reason pasta had been particularly successful was because people liked it and the Italian way of life.

"It's a cultural phenomenon, not an industrial phenomenon," he says. "People like the Italian way of life and their simple, staple foods."

Pasta has always had a global aspect as its origins are not purely Italian, which is unsurprising considering it can be made with just wheat and water.

The Greeks and Romans had pasta-like foods but they tended to be baked, not boiled. Ancient China had dumplings, but it's a myth that the Venetian explorer Marco Polo returned from China with pasta in 1295.

The most accepted theory is that the Arab invasions of the 8th Century brought a dried noodle-like product to Sicily. This early pasta was made using flour from durum wheat, which Sicily specialized in. Under Italian law, dry pasta (or pasta secca) can only be made from this type of wheat, and the vast bulk of pasta is still made in Italy.

And despite being considered a cheap meal now it was the preserve of the rich in the very beginning, says Prof. Dickie.

"We tend to think of pasta like potatoes but it has never been viewed as a bland staple. It's been associated with prestige. People used to buy votes with pasta."

The first reference to pasta in Italy was noted in 1154 and it was about an export factory in Sicily, he says.

He says its breakthrough as a common food came in Naples in the 1700s, when it was recognized as "a good way to feed a large part of the populace".

But pasta popularity outside of Italy really took off at the turn of the 20th Century with large-scale Italian immigration to the New World. This is when it started to become known as Italy's national dish, he says.

Italian restaurateur Antonio Carluccio said pasta may have a long history, but the Italians made it their own by eating it with tomatoes.

He says most pasta is spaghetti outside of Italy but there are actually 600 different types and shapes and each region cooks it differently. He says its appeal is in the taste and its nutritional value.

"It is pleasurable with a good sauce, but it should just be coated, otherwise you lose the taste of the pasta. It is a complex carbohydrate which releases all the goodness slowly and you feel satisfied for a long time.

"I don't know one person who doesn't like pasta. It is very similar to bread - both are made with flour and water and they both need an accompaniment."

He's clearly not met food critic and broadcaster Giles Coren, who described pasta as "overrated gloppy stuff" that appeals only to children.

"Ask a footballer what they can cook and they always say spaghetti. It is what you reach for when there is nothing else left in the cupboard. It's poor people's food and it's unsophisticated. It's the same as bread - you just boil it instead of putting it in the oven."

So as popular as it is, pasta hasn't conquered everyone in the universe.

Hmmm...interesting.

- The dried noodle-like food the Arabs introduced to Sicily in the 8th century is most likely the origins of dried pasta and was being produced in great quantities in Palermo at this time. Today with the invasion of the Mafia, the mass quantities of pasta produced has been replaced with that of cement, threats, and bullets.

- Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing pasta to the United States. It appears that he fell in love with a certain dish he tried in Naples, while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. In fact, he quickly ordered crates of "macaroni," along with a pasta-making machine, to be sent back to the States before the garbage crisis prevented his ship from leaving port.

- Whether you like it or not, it takes about a half a gallon of water to cook pasta, and about a gallon of water to clean the stupid pot.

- Cook pasta until it is 'al dente', firm to the teeth yet tender. Many Americans cook pasta until it is too soft. It does not have to resemble Chef Boyardee pasta. A minute or two less of cooking time will do wonders for your pasta dishes and create less embarrassment. By the way, Chef Boyardee canned pasta products is named after its founder, Italian-American immigrant Ettore Boiardi.

The pasta line began production in the United States in the 1920s as a practical joke...unfortunately, many Americans took the joke seriously.

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