11/16/11 Eggplant Fritters with Mozzarella

"Il dire una cosa, il fare un'altra." (Saying is one thing, doing is another.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Wild Mushroom Crostini
  -Eggplant Fritters with Mozzarella
  -Cauliflower Ravioli with Cured Pork

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Wild Mushroom Crostini

Wild Mushroom Crostini
Crostini di Funghi Selvatici


For the Mushroom Topping
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as stemmed shiitake, oyster, black trumpet, and crimini), sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

For the Thyme Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 small shallot, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
Eight 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick slices pain rustique or other flat country bread
Truffle oil (optional)


Prepare the Mushroom Topping
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms and thyme.

Saute until browned, about 8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Thyme Vinaigrette
Blend first 4 ingredients in blender 10 seconds.

With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil; blend until almost smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet.

Brush with olive oil.

Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes.

Mound 1/4 cup mushrooms on each bread slice.

Drizzle each with thyme vinaigrette, then sparingly with truffle oil. Makes 8.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Eggplant Fritters with Mozzarella

Eggplant Fritters with Mozzarella
Frittelle di Melanzane con Mozzarella


2 large eggplants (2 pounds total)
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
Extra virgin olive oil (for brushing and frying)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
1 and 1/4 cups plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 and 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 ounces mozzarella cheese (preferably smoked), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 20 cubes)


Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Place on layers of paper towels.

Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes.

Brush 2 large baking sheets with olive oil.

Pat eggplant dry; arrange in single layer on prepared sheets.

Brush lightly with olive oil.

Bake until eggplant is tender and dry, about 1 hour.

Cool slightly; chop coarsely.

Whisk 1 egg, grated Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.

Stir in chopped eggplant (mixture will be soft).

Spread 1 cup breadcrumbs on plate.

Whisk 1 egg and flour in another bowl.

Press and shape eggplant mixture into 1 and 1/4-inch diameter balls.

Press 1 piece mozzarella into center of each ball, making sure eggplant mixture covers cheese.

Dip balls, 1 at a time, into egg batter; roll in breadcrumbs to coat.

Pour enough olive oil into large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch; heat over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, add balls to skillet; saute until browned, turning often, about 4 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle with salt and serve. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Cauliflower Ravioli with Cured Pork

Cauliflower Ravioli with Cured Pork
Cavolfiore Ravioli con Guanciale


For the Pasta:
1 and 1/2 cups semolina flour (pasta flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
All purpose flour

For the Filling
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano cheese plus more for serving
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese

For the Sauce:
8 ounces thinly sliced cured pork (guanciale) or pancetta, cut crosswise into thin strips
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


Prepare the Pasta:
Mix semolina flour and salt in large bowl.

Whisk eggs and yolks in small bowl.

Gradually stir egg mixture into flour.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Knead until smooth and elastic (dough will be sticky).

Wrap in plastic wrap; chill 1 day.

Prepare the Filling:
Melt butter with olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Add cauliflower; sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until golden, about 7 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water.

Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes.

Uncover and cook until dry, about 3 minutes.

Cool completely.

Blend ricotta, 6 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese, and mascarpone in processor until smooth.

Add cauliflower and blend until filling is smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Sauce:
Saute cured pork in large deep skillet over medium-high heat until golden and crisp.

Add broth and butter.

Boil until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes.

Chill up to 4 hours.

Prepare the Ravioli:
Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; dust with all purpose flour.

Divide dough into 3 pieces; cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Set pasta machine to widest setting.

Flatten 1 dough piece into rectangle; run though machine.

Fold in half, end to end, and run through machine again.

Continue, adjusting to next-narrower setting after every 4 or 5 passes and dusting with flour as needed to keep from sticking, until sheet is about 24 inches long and about 1/16 inch thick.

Cut sheet in half crosswise.

Drop filling onto 1 dough strip by heaping teaspoonfuls, spacing 1 and 1/2 inches apart.

Brush dough with water around each mound.

Top with second dough strip; press around each mound to seal.

Cut each ravioli into 2-inch square.

Arrange on prepared sheet; cover with kitchen towel.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain well.

Rewarm sauce.

Add ravioli and toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats ravioli, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to shallow bowl.

Serve, passing grated Parmigiano cheese. Serves 3.

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:

Berlusconi Inspires An Angry Bunga-Bunga App

Rome - June 17, 2011 - Silvio Berlusconi's notorious bunga bunga parties are the inspiration for a new Angry Birds style game.

Angry Bunga features a cartoon version of the Italian PM throwing money at a beautiful girl in a cage.

In the application, available for iPhone, iPad and Android, he also walks along the Bay of Naples throwing bananas and tomatoes at a judge.

If Berlusconi hits a magistrate, he disappears, but if he hits the girl, she strips off and throws him a kiss.

The game was developed by the Italian Appymob agency and has been available since the start of the week.

Silvio, bunga, unga, asbestos hair plugs..."ma, che vita." You have no idea how really tired we're getting of this; our lives and future hang in the hands of a public employee who is depriving a village somewhere of a clown.

Quite frankly, the app doesn't sound entertaining. No creativity, no imagination, no surprises. Why do we always have to give suggestions to everyone out there?

How about a "Beat the Arrogant Italian Clown" app? A cartoon version of Berlusconi receiving a beating, clown style, every time he makes a blunder (feel free to credit us with the idea):

- November 2010: "As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."
App feature:
Have gays strangle him with his string of tied handkerchiefs while messing up his clown make up.

- October 2010: A video emerges of Berlusconi describing a fictional Jewish family agreeing to hide another Jew during the Holocaust, on condition that he pays 3,000 euros a day. He describes a member of the family asking another: "Do you think we should tell him that Hitler is dead and the war is over?"
App feature:
Have Jews pop his big red nose and spray him with seltzer until he drowns.

- April 2009: Berlusconi yells out "Mr Obama!" after an official photo call in London's Buckingham Palace during a meeting of G20 leaders. Queen Elizabeth asks: "Why does he have to shout?"
App feature:
Have the Queen shove his big shoes down his throat and choke him.

- April 2009: During a visit to survivors of an earthquake in the central Abruzzo region, who were staying in emergency tents, Berlusconi says: "They should see it like a weekend of camping."
App feature:
Have the survivors suffocate him in his little clown car.

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