12/05/07 Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Dai nemici mi guardo io, dagli amici mi guardi Iddio!" (I (can) protect myself from my enemies; may God protect me from my friends!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Risotto al Zafferano
  -Gnocchi al Limone Con Spinaci e Piselli
  -Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare

Enjoy the recipes and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Risotto al Zafferano

Risotto al Zafferano
Saffron Risotto


28 ounces chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
Large pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish (optional)


Bring stock to a low simmer in a medium pot.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute.

Cook onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add rice and a pinch of salt. Saute until rice is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add wine and saffron; bring to a simmer, stirring, until rice has absorbed most of wine.

Add 2 ladles of stock to rice; simmer, stirring, until rice has absorbed most of stock. Continue adding stock, allowing rice to absorb it before adding the next ladleful.

Cook until rice is 'al dente' and mixture is a little loose. Stir in butter. Turn off heat. Stir in grated cheese. Cover and let sit 2 minutes.

Divide among 4 bowls. Garnish each with cheese shavings, if desired. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Gnocchi al Limone Con Spinaci e Piselli

Gnocchi al Limone Con Spinaci e Piselli
Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas


1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 cups packed baby spinach (3 ounces)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 lb dried gnocchi (preferably De Cecco)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese


Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.

Add gnocchi to sauce with parmesan cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary. Serves 4.

That's it!

 Recipe: Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare

Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare
Spaghetti with Seafood


For the octopus:
2 lb cleaned frozen octopus, thawed and rinsed
2 cups water
1/2 California bay leaf

For the tomato sauce:
1 (14 to 15 ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the basil puree:
3/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

For the seafood and pasta:
1 lb spaghetti
6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp in shell, peeled, leaving tail fan attached, and deveined
3/4 lb cultivated mussels, rinsed
3/4 lb baby squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/4-inch rounds, and tentacles left whole


Prepare the octopus:
Put octopus in a pressure cooker with water, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and seal pressure cooker with lid, then cook at high pressure according to manufacturer's instructions 10 minutes.

Put pressure cooker in sink (do not remove lid) and run cold water over lid until pressure goes down completely. Remove lid. Transfer octopus to a cutting board, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Cut off and discard head, then cut tentacles into 1-inch pieces.

Prepare the tomato sauce:
Simmer tomatoes with their juice, basil, and olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, uncovered, stirring and mashing tomatoes occasionally, until thick and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

Prepare the basil puree:
Puree basil, olive oil, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender, scraping down side as necessary, until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.

Prepare the pasta and seafood:
Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Meanwhile, puree garlic and olive oil in cleaned blender until smooth.

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add olive oil mixture, then immediately add octopus, shrimp, and mussels and saute, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are browned on edges and mussels begin to open, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add tomato sauce and reserved octopus-cooking liquid and cook, stirring, until mussels just open wide and shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes more (discard any unopened mussels). Season with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and return to pot.

Add squid to hot seafood in skillet, stirring to combine, then add to hot pasta and toss to combine (squid will cook as it is being tossed). Serve drizzled with all of basil puree. Serves 6.

Notes: If you do not have a pressure cooker, octopus can be simmered in a 4-quart pot with bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water, covered, turning occasionally, until tender, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.

Octopus can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered.

Tomato sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

Criminal Plays Dead Again To Avoid Prosecution

Bolzano - March 29 - An Italian conman has been caught playing dead for the second time in six years in a bid to escape prosecution.

Stefano Ramunni, 44, from the southern city of Bari, sent in forged certificates of his own death to a court in this northern city. The court let Ramunni off the forgery charge, deciding to prosecute the forger, a friend of the conman but Ramunni is still up on several counts of fraud.

In 2001 Ramunni was arrested for fraud in another northern city, Sondrio, and found to be carrying two bogus death certificates. On that occasion he did not have time to use them.

Ramunni has also donned other disguises to evade justice.

In 2000, in Verona, he posed as a justice ministry psychiatrist and gave evidence that helped clear him of fraud.

Two years earlier he slipped into Genoa police headquarters and got hold of a prosecution dossier after persuading officials he was a young assistant to his lawyer.

"Non posso, sono morto."

Stefano deserves a medal not jail time. He deserves it for locating stupid Italian people that work in our public offices. He's doing us a favor. Now, we can identify all of them, fire them, flush them out and make sure they don't breed again.

"In 2000, in Verona, he posed as a justice ministry psychiatrist and gave evidence that helped clear him of fraud." "Buon Giorno! My name is Dottore Sigmundo Freud..." You too can play the Italian version of "Catch Me If You Can" the next time you visit our befuddled country.

"Two years earlier he slipped into Genoa police headquarters and got hold of a prosecution dossier after persuading officials he was a young assistant to his lawyer."

If you dress in a dark blue suit and tie, carry standard folders attorneys use (which can be found in any office supplies store in Italy) in one hand while muttering on a cell phone with the other, you will have an 80% chance of entering an Italian courthouse and/or police headquarters without a security check. Your odds will improve the further south in Italy you go and/or the closer to lunch time it may be. Afterwards, you can make a request and receive whatever court documents your little heart desires.

For additional fun, play "hide and go seek" by switching documents between case folders and you will postpone the pending court cases into the next century. Before you exit the building, leave a "cacciocavallo" cheese in one of the bathrooms. This is an official sign that the courthouse employees had been played for Italian fools!

"In 2001 Ramunni was arrested for fraud in another northern city, Sondrio, and found to be carrying two bogus death certificates." If you have an enormous amount of money, an annoying spouse, greedy children, inconsiderate relatives or all of the above, then you may need a death certificate (courtesy of the Oristano town hall).

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