11/10/10 Pumpkin Cake

"Val piu la pratica della grammatica." (Experience is more important than theory.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Mussels Au Gratin
  -Rigatoni with Mozzarella and Italian Sausage
  -Pumpkin Cake

"Ciao a tutti!" Hope you're all in good health and keeping warm this fall season. Enjoy this week's recipes.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Mussels Au Gratin

Mussels Au Gratin
Cozze Gratinate


2 and 1/4 lbs (1 kg) mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Large pinch of dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
3 oz (80 grams) breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas Mark 6.

Put the mussels in a frying pan and place over a high heat for about 5 minutes until they open.

As they open, remove from the frying pan and place the half-shells containing the mussels in a roasting tin.

Discard any that remain closed and the empty half-shells.

Sprinkle the mussels with the parsley, garlic and oregano, season with salt, drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 5 minutes, then transfer to a warm serving dish, season with pepper and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Rigatoni with Mozzarella and Italian Sausage

Rigatoni with Mozzarella and Italian Sausage
Rigatoni con Mozzarella e Salsiccia Italiana


1/2 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 and 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil


Cook rigatoni in large pot of boiling salted water until 'al dente'.

Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.

Cook sausage in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up with back of wooden spoon.

Add garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.

Drain off excess oil and return pot to medium-high heat.

Stir in marinara sauce and crushed red pepper, then pasta.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among four 1 and 1/4-cup souffle dishes or custard cups.

Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese over.

Place in broiler until cheese melts and begins to brown, watching closely to prevent burning, about 1 and 1/2 minutes.

Sprinkle rigatoni pasta with parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve. Makes 4 appetizer servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake
Torta Di Zucca


3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
5 oz (150 grams) cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree
7 oz (200 grams) caster or superfine sugar
2 eggs
8 oz (225 grams) self-raising flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon
8 Amaretti, crushed
5 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas Mark 4.

Grease a cake tin with butter.

If using cooked pumpkin, pass it through a food mill.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the pumpkin puree, flour, lemon rind, Amaretti and milk. (The exact quantity of Amaretti may need to be adjusted to produce a soft mixture.)

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool and then turn out. Serves 6-8.

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:

Earthquake Institute May Go Offline To Calm People Down

Rome - September 6, 2010 - Italy's eruptions and earthquake institute INGV may stop putting data on the Web because of the far-fetched conclusions some people are making, director Enzo Boschi said Monday.

"Our data on the Web are being used to reach conclusions that are frankly outlandish," Boschi said.

The National Geophysics and Volcanology Institute might have to restrict itself to more conventional ways of disseminating data, he said.

Civil Protection chief Guido Bertolaso said putting the latest data online "gives doom-mongers too much scope". Recently there has been limited seismological activity near the Abruzzo area hit by a catastrophic quake that killed 308 people in 2009.

People have gone online and panicked after reading alarmist assessments, despite reassurances that there isn't another big tremor on the way.

Hmmm...According to statistics, a 1/3 of Italians are semi-illiterate. They can't do simple tasks and have very little notion of history and science...and this includes the Napolitani. Don't have a tissy, folks. It's true. "Cazzarola", how are these Italians interpreting the assessments if most of them can't read their watch while sitting still at a red light?

You could just imagine the outlandish conclusions on the forums:

Naples: Napolitani! Stop drooling and read carefully! There was a tremor near the "Mount Etna" volcano in Sicily yesterday. So...this obviously means that our "Mount Vesuvius" is going to erupt any minute now seeing that volcanoes are connected with each other (my Uncle told me this). You want to end up like Pompeii?! "Minchia", empty your bank accounts and head for the hills!" (Tanino R.)

Pisa: I had lots of free time this week and decided to take a look at the latest readings from the INGV institute. "Cacchio", it doesn't look good. There's a 60% chance of a quake hitting the Leaning Tower. According to my calculations, there's an 80% chance it will lean even further (but not topple over) and a 17% chance it will completely straighten. There's also a 3% chance it will sink underground but that's ridiculous. By the way, I have a degree in Botanical Sciences but I took an extracurricular course in Greek mythology that made references to the ground shaking. (Angela S.)

Calabria: I was surfing the net with my "mago" or fortune teller (who I pay a fortune to every week) and we felt the ground shake a bit. I went over to the INGV site to see what the hell was happening and I saw a bunch of squiggly lines near my beloved Calabria. "Porca miseria", a major earthquake is on its way! My "mago" did not need to look at the screen for she knew it is coming. She told me leave immediately and go protect myself. After I paid the 150 Euro fee, I ran out the door and went to the safest place I know. I'm typing this on my Iphone while taking cover under my uncle's fat stomach. (Beppe F.)

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