12/16/09 Fried Calamari with Peperoncini Mayonnaise

"Chi sa fa e chi non sa insegna." (Who knows, does, who doesn't, teaches.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fried Calamari with Peperoncini Mayonnaise
  -Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
  -Seared Scallops on Shrimp and Truffle Risotto

Enjoy your recipes with health and happiness!

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Fried Calamari with Peperoncini Mayonnaise

Fried Calamari with Peperoncini Mayonnaise
Calamari Fritti con Peperoncini Maionese


6 to 8 drained bottled whole green peperoncini
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lb cleaned squid, preferably small
6 to 7 cups extra virgin oil
3/4 cup rice flour

Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer


Halve peperoncini and discard stems and seeds.

Rinse and pat dry, then mince enough to measure 1/4 cup.

Stir into mayonnaise in a small bowl.

Rinse squid under cold running water and lightly pat dry between paper towels, leaving some moisture so rice flour will stick.

Leave tentacles whole and cut bodies (including flaps, if attached) crosswise into 1/3-inch wide rings, then reserve separately on paper towels.

Heat 2 inches olive oil in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot (4 inches deep; preferably cast-iron) over high heat until it registers 390F on thermometer.

Preheat oven to 200F.

While olive oil is heating, whisk together flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow bowl. Have ready a medium-mesh sieve in another shallow bowl.

Dredge a small handful of squid rings in flour mixture, tossing to coat well.

Transfer to sieve and shake over other bowl to remove excess flour.

Return excess flour to first bowl.

Fry floured rings in olive oil, stirring to separate, until golden, about 1 minute, then transfer with a slotted spoon to dry paper towels to drain, arranging in 1 layer.

Coat and fry remaining rings in about 3 more batches in same manner, returning olive oil to 390F between batches.

Transfer fried and drained rings to a shallow baking pan in 1 layer and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven.

Coat and fry tentacles in 2 or 3 batches until golden, about 1 and 1/2 minutes per batch, returning olive oil to 390F between batches and transferring as fried to paper towels, then to baking pan.

Serve with peperoncini mayonnaise for dipping. Makes 4 appetizer servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Pomodori Ripieni con Mozzarella e Basilico Fresco


For the Vinaigrette:
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (from 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the Salad:
6 medium tomatoes with stems still attached
Two 7-ounce balls fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 and 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

6 fresh basil leaves


Prepare the Vinaigrette:
Blend all ingredients in blender until basil is very finely chopped and vinaigrette is thick; season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Prepare the Salad:
Cut small skin-deep X on end opposite stem of each tomato.

Drop tomatoes into saucepan of boiling water; cook 30 seconds.

Using slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to plate.

Starting at X, peel skin off tomatoes.

Cut 1/3 to 1/2 inch off end opposite stem of each tomato.

Using small spoon, scoop out insides of tomatoes, leaving shells intact.

Mix cubed mozzarella cheese and chopped basil in medium bowl.

Divide cheese mixture among tomato shells, packing gently. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover tomatoes and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Invert 1 filled tomato on each plate.

Pour vinaigrette into 6 shot glasses.

Place 1 shot glass next to each tomato.

Garnish each tomato with basil leaf. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Seared Scallops on Shrimp and Truffle Risotto

Seared Scallops on Shrimp and Truffle Risotto
Capesante Scottato Su Risotto di Gamberi e Tartufo


Three 8-ounce bottles clam juice
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 large sea scallops
Truffle oil*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Bring clam juice and broth to simmer in medium saucepan.

Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.

Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add shrimp; saute 1 minute.

Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

Add onion to pan; saute until translucent, about 1 minute.

Add garlic; saute 15 seconds.

Add rice; stir 1 minute.

Add wine; simmer until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup clam juice mixture to rice; simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often.

Continue adding liquid 1 cup at a time and stirring often, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender but still firm to bite, about 20 minutes.

Stir in butter and shrimp.

Season with salt and pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in heavy medium skillet over high heat.

Sear scallops until golden brown and just opaque in center, about 1 minute per side.

Divide risotto among 6 plates.

Place 1 scallop atop risotto on each plate, drizzle lightly with truffle oil, sprinkle with chives, and serve. Makes 6 appetizer servings.

*Note: Available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.

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:

Italy's Heavy Metal Monk Shuts Off His Mike

Milan - November 13, 2009 - Italy's "Brother Metal," a 63-year-old monk who became famous for singing in a heavy metal band (habit and all) is hanging up his microphone, saying the devil made him too much of a celebrity for his own good.

The white-bearded Cesare Bonizzi, a Capuchin who recorded CDs for a punk label and was the lead singer for the band Fratello Metallo (Metal Brother), said the devil was up to his usual mischief.

"The devil has separated me from my managers, risked making me break up with my band colleagues and also risked making me break up with my fellow monks. He lifted me up to the point where I became a celebrity and now I want to kill him," the monk said in his farewell video.

The video shows one of the monk's band members shaving off Bonizzi's long mane of white hair as a sign of his turning a new leaf on life.

For years Bonizzi performed at concerts wearing his traditional Franciscan brown robe, sandals and white rope around his waist.

His second heavy metal CD was called "Mysteries," and was inspired by a group of southern Italian women who sang about the Virgin Mary.

Bonizzi, who fell in love with heavy metal when he attended a Metallica concert some 15 years ago, says fame had put him on the wrong path. But he still thinks heavy metal can be a means to spread the gospel message of pace and love.

"I think that metal is the strength of music itself. Metal is a brother," he said in the video.

"Dio mio", if only the vast majority of remarkably untalented celebrities followed his logic.

We can't believe he has a fan club. If he does they probably meet in a confessional.

"The devil has separated me from my managers, risked making me break up with my band colleagues..." Hmmm... It appears the good monk was being led astray by the "Devil of Solo Careers".

Devil: "Come on, let yourself go. Did Springsteen need the E Street Band?"

And we would love to meet the possessed record producers who thought a heavy metal CD, inspired by southern Italian religious women, would be a chart busting smash. "Minchia, I think we have a hit on our hands."

Too bad the good "Angel of Record Sales" didn't think so.

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