12/10/08 Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mascarpone from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Chi pi sa, meno crede." (The more one knows, the less one believes.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Lentils With Sausages
  -Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mascarpone
  -Ricotta Strudel

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Lentils With Sausages

Lentils With Sausages
Lenticchie Con Salsiccia


9 oz (250 grams) lentils, soaked in cold water for 3 hours and drained
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 small onion
8 small Italian sausages
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 fresh sage leaves
1 garlic clove


Put the lentils into a saucepan, add water to cover, and the celery, carrot and onion and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Put the sausages in a pan with 2 tablespoons water, prick with a fork and cook for 10 minutes until browned.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in another pan, add the sage and garlic and cook over a low heat until the garlic is golden brown.

Remove and discard the garlic.

Drain the lentils and add to the flavored oil with the sausages.

Mix well and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mascarpone

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mascarpone
Petti Farciti al Mascarpone


1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) butter, plus extra for greasing
9 oz (250 grams) mushrooms
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast portions
2 cooked prosciutto slices, halved
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) mascarpone cheese
1 tomato
Salt and pepper


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

Grease a roasting tin with butter.

Chop the mushrooms and sprinkle with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Melt 1 oz (25 grams) of the butter in a small frying pan, add the garlic and cook until it turns brown, then remove and discard it.

Add the parsley and mushrooms and cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Slice horizontally through the chicken portions without cutting all the way through.

Open out each portion like a book, pound with a meat mallet and season with salt and pepper.

Place a piece of prosciutto on one side of each piece of chicken, divide the mascarpone among the portions and top each one with 1 tablespoon of the mushrooms.

Fold the portions together again and secure with cocktail sticks.

Cut four slices out of the center of the tomato, put one on each chicken, season with salt and dot with the remaining butter.

Place the chicken in the prepared roasting tin, cover with foil and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill.

Discard the foil and brown the chicken under the grill. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Ricotta Strudel

Ricotta Strudel
Strudel di Ricotta


1 oz (25 grams) raisins
2 oz (50 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
9 oz (250 grams) puff pastry dough, thawed if frozen
Plain flour, for dusting
1 lb and 2 oz (500 grams) ricotta cheese
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) caster (or superfine) sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Rind of 1 lemon, grated
1 tablespoon melted butter


Place the raisins in a bowl, add warm water to cover and leave to soak tor 15 minutes, then drain and squeeze out.

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F) Gas Mark 7.

Grease a baking sheet with butter.

Roll out the pastry into a very thin rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

Beat the ricotta in a bowl until smooth, then stir in the raisins, sugar, butter, egg, egg yolk and lemon rind.

Spoon the mixture on to one half of the pastry, roll up and seal the ends.

Brush with the melted butter, place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour. Serves 4.

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:

Trained Gourmet Police Officers On The Prowl For Fake Olive Oil

Rome - October 26, 2008 - Italy has trained a special squad of gourmet police officers to sniff out fraud in the multi-million Euro olive oil trade.

Italian police have stepped up their battle against olive oil fraud. The 20 officers have just graduated from a course in which they were taught to distinguish fake extra-virgin oil from the real thing.

While customers pay a premium for Italian extra-virgin olive oil, often it is neither Italian nor extra-virgin, but lower quality oil brought in by tanker truck and ship from Spain, Greece or Tunisia.

During an intensive training course arranged by the National Olive Oil Association, the police officers were schooled in how to detect an oil's provenance just by taste.

"This initiative will strengthen the defense of the quality of one of the symbols of the Mediterranean diet," said Massimo Gargano, the head of the association.

It would send "an unequivocal signal" that the olive oil industry was determined to ensure quality and clamp down on fraudulent practices, he said.

Italian police have recently stepped up their battle against unscrupulous growers and producers, amid fears that adulterated or wrongly labeled oil will harm Italy's image.

In March, in an operation called Golden Oil, police arrested 23 people and confiscated 85 farms after a investigation into suspect producers.

A month later another racket was busted, with police closing down seven olive oil plants and arresting 40 people in an investigation spanning nine provinces. Officers seized more than 25,000 liters of suspect oil. Those arrested were accused of adding sunflower and soybean oil to the genuine product and selling it as extra-virgin oil in Italy and abroad.

Police said they intercepted large shipments of the fraudulent oil just as they were about to be exported to Germany, Switzerland and the US.

Flavoring and other chemicals had been added to the blended vegetable oil to give it the distinctive golden luster of high-quality olive oil.

Although Italy is Europe's second-biggest olive oil producer after Spain, its production was down 15 per cent last year and the country fails to produce enough to satisfy even domestic demand.

The temptation for growers and producers is to buy in cheap oil from other Mediterranean countries and pass it off as Italian.

Last year the amount of oil imported from Greece, Spain and Tunisia jumped 12 per cent.

"You find bottles with Italian flags all over them and yet the oil is from Spain or Morocco or Turkey or wherever," said Johnny Madge, a British olive oil expert who has lived in Italy for 26 years, producing and selling oil in the Sabine Hills north of Rome.

"But it is possible to taste where different oils come from. There's a Spanish olive, for instance, that has a very distinctive coriander taste, which makes it instantly recognizable even if it has been blended with other oils."

"Mamma mia", all I did was try to fry some Bacala with this "new and improved" olive oil and the kitchen caught fire...along with my hair!

Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive form of olive oil. It comes from the first pressing of the olives. It is the least acidic and has the fruitiest flavor.

Much of what is sold as "Italian Olive Oil" is really oil imported from Spain, Greece and Tunisia, packaged in Italy and sold as Italian. In fact, 60% of all olive oil produced in Spain is bought by Italy.

Most gourmet stores try to stump and fleece you with the different types of extra-virgin olive oils available on the market:

"Well, this recipe calls for a fruity and fragrant oil..."
"That lamb dish needs a peppery oil..."
"Luckily, you can substitute the green and grassy oil with an herbal one..."

You must understand. Italians consume only one type of oil on a daily basis and that is extra-virgin olive oil from Southern Italy. There are no peppery, fruity, or chocolate kinds with different colored bottle caps. And it is not sold in 'Chanel' type bottles.

Ask a kitchen veteran in Italy what's the best grassy oil for your salad and you'll get a filthy and angry stare. You'll almost be able to make out the word "vaffanculo" on their forehead.

An excellent way to test the quality of your olive oil is to do what pregnant women did in Ancient Rome which is to apply it to your skin to help prevent stretch marks. Many Italian women today still follow this practice. Make sure to film the process and show it to your family and friends.

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