Seattle man claims mob membership, threatens to 'whack' staff over unpaid restaurant bill



BY JOSH KERNS  

A guy who tried to skip out on an expensive dinner has landed in jail after attacking wait staff and claiming to be in both the "Sicilian Mafia" and the CIA.
It happened Saturday night at the World Sport Grille in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. The 35-year-old Seattle man ran up a big bill for four "very expensive" Scotch whiskeys and a fish and chips plate, said Seattle police detective Renee Witt.
When the man tried to pay the $226.92 dinner bill, his credit card was repeatedly declined. He told restaurant staff he could leave his laptop and car keys as collateral, but the wait staff refused the man's offer and told him he needed to pay.
That's when things got ugly.
"He told staff members he was a member of the "Sicilian Mafia" and threatened to come back to the bar and "whack" everyone," Witt said.
Then, he told employees he was also a member of the CIA.
The guy then tried to run out of the restaurant. When a staff member tried to block him, the suspect took a swing but didn't connect. He managed to get out the door and down the street, but a handful of employees caught up with him and took him down.
Officers arrived to find the man lying "spread-eagle" on the ground, surrounded by restaurant employees.
As officers arrested him, he threatened the employees saying he would be back and "this isn't over."
Police booked the suspect into the King County Jail for theft, assault, and harassment.




Leave the gun, take the cannoli... Spain's 'La Mafia' restaurant chain mobbed by diners despite complaints from Italy



A popular group of Mafia-themed eateries in Spain has led to protests from its Italian neighbours
Michael Day 
Italy is not impressed with the latest craze in Spanish dining – a rapidly expanding group of restaurants called La Mafia. The chain has already opened 34 Mob-themed eateries across the Iberian Peninsula. And it appears Spaniards can’t get enough of chowing down on pasta surrounded by references to Cosa Nostra. The owners plan to open another 15 restaurants and one in Portugal by the end of the year.
All have the words “La Mafia” emblazoned everywhere you look. Clients are surrounded with names and images of the Sicilian Mafia’s most notorious killers.
“Can you imagine what would happen in Spain, if Italy opened a pair of restaurants dedicated to terrorists from ETA,” La Repubblica’s veteran Mafia writer, Attilio Bolzoni, said. “Or what would happen  in Germany if in Rome or Milan they opened three breweries with sausage and sauerkraut in honour of the Red Army Faction?”
Marco Anzaldi, the Italian Democratic Party MP, has called on the president of the parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission to lodge an official protest. He said: “Perhaps we ought to start distributing leaflets outside these Spanish establishments to the families that go in, which show that child victim of the Mafia who was strangled and dissolved in acid. The Mafia isn’t what you see in the Coppola film, the Mafia is an aberration and we can’t allow it to become Italy’s global brand.”
It’s not clear whether patrons are simply there for the budget-priced meals and if they’re impervious to the images and references to Vito Corleone, Al Capone and the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Perhaps the locals appreciate them. Regular customers can even apply for a Mafia Fidelity Club card.
It’s not the first time eateries outside Italy have cashed in on the Mafia’s infamy. Last summer an Austrian café’s decision to name its sandwiches after Mafia murder victims, including judges killed in bomb attacks, sparked a diplomatic incident between Vienna and Rome. Patrons of “Don Panino” were able to choose, among things a “ Giovanni Falcone” sandwich – named after the celebrated magistrate who was assassinated by the Cosa Nostra in 1992.
But the Spanish business has ramped up the Mob-marketing theme to a whole new level. “The Mafia creates work,” is one of the company’s slogans. And this is true: in a country crushed by the recession, there are 400 full-time staff working for the Mafia. Unfortunately there are many more Spaniards working for the unsavoury criminals.
Mr Bolzoni notes that in every Spanish region there are criminal clans working with or for Italy’s big Mafia groups, including ‘ Ndrangheta and the Camorra, such as the Piromalli clan in Barcelona and the Sergi group in Madrid.
The press office of La Mafia was not prepared to comment when called by The Independent. But the spokesman Pablo Martinez earlier told La Repubblica: “We’ve never, never, never apologised for terrorism or for violence.” He added the imagery was also about “ roses, love and smiles”. Though he conceded that might be “ difficult to explain to Italians”.


Traditional Italian Cooking with a Southern Accent! Black-eyed Pea Tortellini, Ham Hock Brodo & Collards! Of Course, a Wine to Pair!





Prep time:  1 hour
Cook time:  1 hour
Total time:  2 hours
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
•           For the Southern-style collard greens:
•           2 lb. (1 kg) sturdy collard greens, stems removed and leaves
•           torn into fork-size pieces
•           2 ham hocks, preferably Benton’s
•           8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) chicken stock
•           1 tsp. red pepper flakes
•           For the ham hock brodo:
•           Olive oil as needed
•           2 celery stalks, chopped
•           1 shallot, chopped
•           1 leek, chopped
•           2 Tbs. roasted garlic (see note below)
•           2 ham hocks, preferably Benton’s
•           8 cups pork stock
•           1 bunch fresh thyme
•           1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
•           1 bunch fresh sage
•           6-oz. (185-g) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
•           (optional)
•           8 oz. (250 g) dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and
•           drained
•           Kosher salt, to taste
•           3 bacon slices, preferably Benton’s
•           1 yellow onion, diced
•           1 Tbs. roasted garlic (see note below)
•           Chicken stock as needed
•           1 cup (8 oz./250 g) good-quality fresh ricotta cheese
•           ¼ cup (1 oz./30 g) dried bread crumbs
•           About 2 lb. (1 kg) pasta dough
•           Semolina flour for dusting
•           Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Instructions
1.         To prepare the collard greens, submerge the greens in a large bowl of water and swish them around vigorously to remove the grit. Drain the greens, then repeat 2 more times (collards can be very dirty). In a large pot, combine the ham hocks and stock. Add water if needed to cover the ham hocks. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat just starts to pull away from the bone, about 30 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and greens to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the greens are tender, about 1 hour. You will need 2 cups (6 oz./185 g) cooked greens for the tortellini recipe.
2.         Meanwhile, prepare the ham hock brodo: In a stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 glugs (about 2 Tbs.) olive oil. Add the celery, shallot and leek and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the roasted garlic, then add the ham hocks, stock, thyme, parsley, sage and cheese rind. Add water to cover the ingredients, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the broth is full flavored, at least 1 hour. While the broth simmers, occasionally skim off the foam with a large metal spoon.
3.         Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the ham hocks. When they are cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the hocks in large chunks and reserve. If using the broth immediately, let it stand for a few minutes, then skim off the fat from the surface before using. Or, to store the broth, let it cool completely, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Scrape off the solidified fat from the surface before using. The recipe makes about 2 quarts (2 l) brodo; you will need 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) for the tortellini recipe.
4.         Place the black-eyed peas in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Bring just to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes, skimming off the foam that forms on the surface. When the peas are fully cooked, season with salt and drain.
5.         In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black-eyed peas and roasted garlic and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom, then cook until the ingredients are nice and soft, about 10 minutes. In batches, transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree until smooth. Put in a bowl; add the ricotta, bread crumbs and pepper vinegar to taste and mix well.
6.         Roll the pasta dough through a standard pasta machine to the number 6 setting. Working with 1 sheet of pasta at a time, and keeping the others covered with a damp kitchen towel as you work, use a 2-inch (5-cm) round cutter to cut the sheet into rounds. Spoon about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of each round, being careful not to add too much. (Alternatively, spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch/12-mm plain tip and pipe the filling onto the rounds.) Dampen a fingertip with water and run it along the edge of half of the round. Fold the other half of the round over the filling to make a half-moon. When all of the half-moons are formed, arrange them on the work surface with the rounded edge facing away from you. Place a finger of your nondominant hand in the center of a half-moon and use the fingers of your other hand to bring the 2 points together over your finger. Pinch the points together to seal the tortellini. Spread out the finished tortellini on a semolina-dusted baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pasta rounds and filling. You will need only half of the pasta shapes for this recipe; freeze the remaining shapes for a future meal.
7.         Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, drop in the tortellini and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm the 2 cups collard greens and 3 cups brodo with the reserved ham hock meat until warmed through. Drain the tortellini and add them to the pan. Toss until well coated.
8.         Divide the tortellini among warmed wide, shallow bowls, then ladle in the collards, ham hock meat and brodo from the pan. Serve immediately, passing additional pepper vinegar and Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table for diners to add to taste. Serves 4.
9.         Note: To roast garlic, cut 2 heads of garlic in half crosswise and place, cut side up, in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast in a 350°F (180°C) oven until the garlic is soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft garlic from the skins.

To die for: For purple sweet potato gnocchi dough


3/4 pound purple-fleshed sweet potato
1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus additional for the work surface
Zest of one navel orange
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For orange sweet potato dough
1/2 pound orange-fleshed sweet potato, such as Covingtons
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus additional for the work surface
Zest of one navel orange
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For cooking
kosher salt
For serving
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, skins rubbed off, chopped finely

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

To die for: A lighter Italian wedding soup




Ingredients
1 pound ground dark-meat turkey (93 percent lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
Directions
1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls.
2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a simmer. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.
3. Add as much escarole to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Thin soup with water if desired; season with salt and pepper. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.


Want Some Mafia With Your Pizza? How The Mob Is Taking Over Rome’s Restaurants




on February 14 2014 6:25 PM


ROME -- Pizza Ciro, a picturesque restaurant in the heart of Italy’s capital, still displays the colorful tiles and fake ancient paintings of Neapolitan landscapes it was known for in its heyday. Nestled between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, the pizzeria used to be a magnet for hungry tourists.
Pizza Ciro is no longer so popular. At lunchtime on a recent workday, only four Japanese tourists were inside, maybe lured in by Neapolitan folk music. But the Japanese girls enjoying their pizza in an empty hall, sitting just underneath a big, non-operational flat-screen TV, would be unsettled if they knew a few facts.
The pizzeria had been in business for more than a decade before it was seized by Italian authorities last month, along with 26 other restaurants and cafés in the heart of Rome. In a major sweep against the Mafia, police arrested 90 people and seized assets worth 250 million euros, including pizzerias allegedly owned by a crime syndicate that used them to launder proceeds from drug dealing, extortion and loan-sharking.
Assets including Ciro, as well as the revenue they generate, could still go back to their owners. Those assets have just been frozen, pending trial, for now. The bill paid by the four Japanese girls could someday end up in the pockets of criminals from the Camorra, the ruthless Neapolitan version of the Mafia. Along with the Sicilian original and the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mob based in the toe of Italy, the Camorra is one of Italy's big three criminal groups that rake in enormous amounts of money. Prosecutors say a lot of that money is being laundered into legitimate businesses in Rome, some located just steps from Parliament and government buildings. 
Michele Prestipino, a veteran anti-Mafia prosecutor who in 2006 helped capture the Sicilian Mafia’s boss of bosses, Bernardo Provenzano, told International Business Times the January sweep  was a landmark operation because it unveiled a new way of doing business by the Camorra. The camorristi used to set up dummy firms and figurehead owners, a classic Mob tactic, but now they are stealthily forging alliances with healthy, lucrative, legitimate businesses that are able to justify large financial transactions.
"The raid on pizzerias unveiled an emblematic alliance between a well-established family of business owners in Rome and one of Naples’ most powerful Camorra families," Prestipino, who leads the investigation as Rome’s deputy chief prosecutor, said in an interview. The size of the Mafia presence in Rome is difficult to assess, according to Prestipino, but "for sure, there is so much wealth in Rome that is indirectly linked to criminal groups,” he said.
According to Sabrina Alfonsi, the president of Rome's central district, "nearly 70 percent of restaurants and bars in downtown Rome are thought to be in the hands of organized crime." Figures from LUISS University in Rome put the turnover for Mafia groups from their Rome operations at more than one billion euros, or $1.35 billion, a year. 
Marco Genovese, a local representative for anti-Mafia NGO Libera, said the police raids helped awaken Rome to a reality the Italian capital had long neglected. "The biggest achievement of the Mafia-linked asset seizures in Rome is that they brought the issue under the spotlight, but much remains to be done," he said.
People may not even realize that they are ordering their pizza from the mob, whose extensive reach is exemplified by the euphemism many Italians use to describe it: la piovra, the giant octopus, whose tentacles reach far and wide.  
Outside Pizza Ciro, just steps away from government offices on Via della Mercede, a waiter came to the doorway after noticing a reporter persistently hovering around outside. "I just can't say anything, there's an ongoing investigation," he said politely, sounding worried and even slightly apologetic. The waiters and cooks at Ciro’s four branches, three in Rome and one in Naples, are being checked by prosecutors for links to organized crime.
While waiters and other staff looked professional and busy, people who dined at Pizza Ciro in the past described a different atmosphere. "I used to have lunch there, but I soon realized the personnel was unprofessional. Waiters would serve you hastily, and they looked like everything but a waiter," said a journalist who used to work nearby and asked his name not be published for safety reasons.
A Waiter And A Criminal
The tale of Pizza Ciro is similar to that of the other pizzerias seized last month, like Pummarola e Drink, Sugo or Jamma Ja. Their Neapolitan-dialect names are supposed to bring to mind the city’s pizza-making tradition, not its expanding crime families, buoyed in recent decades by a tight control of the drug market. But they offer a peek into how Mafia groups have broken out of their traditional stronghold in the South of Italy, spreading their tentacles across the country and swallowing a large slice of retail commerce in Rome.
“Rome helps Mafia groups disguise their presence thanks to its vast business activity. You have many businesses in Rome that can justify huge flows of money," Prestipino said. Those firms provide criminals with an easy and highly efficient way to launder money, and it’s hard to tell who’s a bad apple. “There are the good companies, the bad companies entirely in the hands of Mafia groups, and then there are those in between,” Prestipino added.
Anti-Mafia prosecutors are focusing on the many shops and commercial activities in the city whose ownership has changed very rapidly. Many of the new buyers, mostly from southern Italy, are quick to replace staff and suppliers with people coming from their own areas. Then they hire relatives, or crime-family affiliates, who often are made to appear as legitimate owners of the business.
The people suspected of laundering money through Ciro followed a different pattern.
"You had this very powerful Camorra group in Naples that had had a long-time relationship with a family of real entrepreneurs, not figureheads, well-established in the Rome food market," Prestipino said.
That family, the Righis, specialized over years in the lucrative food business in Rome. They allegedly became a de facto partner of the Contini Camorra family, selling them their knowledge of the market in Rome and the possibility of investing in a thriving business, catering to the millions of people who visit Rome every year. In exchange, the Righis allegedly enjoyed protection, a non-unionized workforce, and often the illegal procurement of ingredients such as tomatoes and mozzarella, both produced in the Camorra-dominated Naples area.
Fancy Mafiosi Go Abroad
In sharp contrast with the violent crimes they commit in southern Italy, mafiosi in Rome are very careful to avoid clamor, so as not to draw attention from the authorities. Some criminal organizations are said to have agreed to a non-aggression pact in order to avoid public attention. Departing from traditional money-laundering strategies, they no longer invests in smoky bars, cheap hotels or run-down strip clubs in the suburbs, good for stocking cash rather than generating it. Today, the mafiosi increasingly choose prestigious locations and fashionable restaurants they expect to generate a profit.
Prosecutors found the Continis indirectly owned pizzerias located right in front of the Senate, or even tauntingly close to the headquarters of the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office. One could be forgiven for having no idea who’s really behind those places; many didn’t, even among the rich and famous who ate there and whose pictures still grace the doorway at Pizza Ciro. Among them are actresses, soccer players, even former prime minister Mario Monti and the celebrated anti-Mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia.
In 2010 authorities seized the Café de Paris, once the symbol of the Dolce Vita on fashionable Via Veneto and a hangout for Frank Sinatra and Federico Fellini. Prosecutors  found it had been sold for 250,000 euros to a hairdresser from Calabria, a suspected member of the Alvaro-Palamara 'Ndrangheta family. Today Café de Paris is owned by Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok and  trying hard to stay in business. The Mafia scandal still scares customers away.
Two years later, police seized Antico Caffè Chigi, a bar right in front of the Italian government's headquarters in the heart of Rome. Politicians, cops, journalists and security officials regularly mingled there, until it was found to be owned by people linked to the 'Ndrangheta. Unlike the Café de Paris or Pizza Ciro, it closed up shop because of the scandal and mismanagement. Its sign was removed and it now lays bare, filled with dust, scrap paper and waste.
But unwittingly helping the Mafia launder its money doesn't necessarily have to happen in Italy. Mafia groups are among the most powerful and connected to other similar organizations globally. A report in 2012 from Confesercenti, an Italian business lobby, estimated that the main Mafia groups had a yearly turnover of 140 billion euros ($190 billion), almost one tenth of the size of the entire Italian economy, with cash reserves of 65 billion euros and assets all over the world.
Supply Meets Demand
Officials say the penetration of organized crime was made easier by the Italian debt crisis and a two-year recession that crippled businesses. According to Confesercenti, a retail business lobby, 417 bars and restaurants closed shop in Rome between January and September last year. 
Enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy, sometimes already victim of loan-sharking or forced to pay blackmail, fell easily in the hands of Camorra or 'Ndrangheta. Both organizations, as well as the more famous Sicilian Mafia and the Banda della Magliana, a Roman-native criminal group, are flush with cash they need to launder. Supply met demand and, as a result, the mafiosi have thrived during the crisis.
Italy's Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate, the main entity fighting against Mafia organizations, said it has seized assets worth over 14 billion euros since its creation in 1992. Among the assets seized are commercial property, hotels, bank accounts, luxury mansions and even castles. In the same timespan, it monitored over 5,000 businesses and ordered the arrest pending trial of roughly 9,000 people.
Still, once seized, assets can be recovered by the Mafia when they are sold; criminals put forward straw buyers, and the cycle begins anew. 
The government agency that manages seized assets "needs reform,” Rosy Bindi, an Italian politician who chairs the Anti-Mafia Committee in Parliament, recently said. She mentioned bureaucratic delays and the lack of a reliable database. Giuseppe Caruso, the magistrate who leads the agency, conceded that some agency officials used seized assets for "personal purposes," enjoyed "stratospheric fees" and kept a seat on the boards of confiscated companies, acting as "the supervisor and supervised entity".
But tourists sitting in Rome’s Mafia-linked restaurants don’t know any of this. They have no clue that the cheese on top of their margherita pie may have come from a dairy farm controlled by the Camorra, or that the young man serving them may really be a crime-family enforcer moonlighting as a fake waiter. And they don’t know that the lyrics of the Neapolitan folk song blasting from the speakers at Ciro sound like a perfect, sadly ironic image of many Italians’ unwillingness to face the hard truth that organized crime is buying up their country: “Let's forget the past! We're from Naples!"

Abe Reles tossed salad




Ingredients
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce
  • 2 small plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Kirby cucumber or 1/4 European seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion or 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 /4 cup (a couple of glugs) extra-virgin olive oil,
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Coarse salt and black pepper

recipe to die for. Italian lamb ragout




Main ingredient       Lamb
Type of dish Italian
Course           Main course
Cooking time            30 min - 1 hour
Serves/makes           6-8
Special options         None

This braise can be made with any meat you like - beef, veal, pork, rabbit or goat. Serve in the middle of the table as part of a shared feast. Add a green salad and whatever beautiful seasonal vegetable is begging to be boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice.
Instead of mashed potato, the lamb ragout can be served with soft polenta. The ragout also makes a perfect pasta sauce when served with penne finished with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Don't forget some bread for mopping up!
1.5kg good-quality lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm dice
6 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp juniper berries
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500ml cabernet sauvignon
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp plain flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup passata
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the diced lamb with the bay leaves, juniper berries, peppercorns, rosemary, garlic and wine. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for eight hours.

2. Remove lamb from the marinade, pass liquid through a fine sieve and reserve. Discard other ingredients.

3. Heat 3Tbsp of the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan on a high heat. Seal marinated lamb in batches until browned all over. Reserve meat to one side.

4. Add remaining oil and reduce heat to low. Cook onion and garlic until softened. Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, then add the flour, stirring constantly for three minutes.

5. Slowly stir in two cups of the reserved marinade liquid, blending constantly for a few minutes until there are no lumps. Stir through stock and passata. Transfer lamb and juices back into the pan, along with chopped carrot and celery. There should be enough liquid to cover the meat (add a little more of the reserved marinade if necessary).

6. Cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour until meat is tender and sauce has reduced. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with mashed potato.





recipe to die for How to cook risotto


Start with a good carnaroli rice, which produces superior results (Acquerello brand is one of the best). When it's time to add the rice, stir the grains until they become translucent, add a good lug of dry white wine and cook until it has evaporated. Key to a perfect risotto is a good-quality homemade stock that must be gently simmering before it is slowly added, one ladleful at a time, to the rice. After 20 minutes or so, fold in butter and parmesan, turn off the heat, cover and let the risotto rest for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.



recipe to die for. How to cook a rib-eye steak



Adopt the "less-is-more" approach. If you want to cook like an Italian, you take a beautiful rib eye steak, cook it on a very hot barbecue over coals and serve it sliced thinly, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with rock salt. The most important step is to ensure the barbecue is searingly hot before you add the steak. Also, forget about serving the steak with condiments or sauces that hide the flavours of the meat, and instead allow the star ingredient to shine.


recipe to die for Fresh pasta v dried pasta





If you want a soft, slippery mouth-feel use pasta all'uovo (fresh egg pasta). It's great for simple dishes such as tagliatelle with butter and parmesan. Dried pastas are good for soups or when paired with robust sauces with ingredients like capers and anchovies. Dried pasta takes longer than fresh pasta to cook. When you strain the pasta in a large colander, reserve a bit of the cooking water, which can be added in small measure to a thick sauce to help bind it to the pasta.


recipe to die for. How to make a great ragu




Spaghetti Bolognaise is an American creation – designed to please American-Italian workers who wanted a quick one-plate dish. In Italy, a good ragu Bolognese is not served with spaghetti; it's served with tagliatelle. There's no definitive recipe when making a ragu but cooking with a piece of meat rather than mince is what elevates the sauce. Start with a pork shoulder and slow-cook it until it falls apart. Meanwhile, fry off garlic, onion, celery and tomatoes, rosemary, sage and thyme. You can also use a mixture of pork, veal and a little bit of yearling beef. It's the subtle nuances – like nutmeg or milk – that will make this dish your own.



To die for. Lemon Chicken Breast



Lemon Chicken Breast:
Ingredients:
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
3 Tblspn minced garlic
1/3 C white wine
1 Tblspn lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 Tblspn fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
4 ea 8 oz chicken breast
1 ea lemon
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium low heat, add the garlic and cook for just a minute, don’t allow to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 tsp salt. Pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Pat dry the chicken breast, and brush with olive oil, sprinkle them with kosher salt and coarse ground pepper. Cut lemon into 8 wedges and tuck among the chicken breast.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until chicken is done and lightly browned. You can place them in a broiler and brown them if needed. Cover the pan tightly with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve on sautéed spinach with the pan juices.




Valentine's Day: Recipe for Italian jam tart


———
Italian Jam Tart
Start to finish: 1 hour
Servings: 6
•  13 tablespoons (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
•  1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
•  1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water or vanilla extract
•  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•  1/8 teaspoon sea salt
•  Generous 1/2 cup (about 6.5 ounces) fig, apricot, cherry or berry jam
Heat the oven to 350 F. Position an oven rack in the centre of oven.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is very light in colour, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the orange water or extract and blend well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix by hand just until the dough is thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Measure out a scant 1/2 cup of the dough and smooth it out on a small plate, then place the plate in the freezer.
Meanwhile, press the remaining dough evenly into and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. If the dough is too soft to work with, chill it briefly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Once the tart has chilled, spread the jam evenly in it, starting from the centre and leaving a border of about 1/2 inch around the edges. The jam should be thinly spread and not resemble a filled pie. Remove the reserved dough from the freezer and crumble it into small pieces over the jam.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely. Remove the tart from the sides of the pan and cut into wedges.
Nutrition information per serving: 470 calories; 220 calories from fat (47 per cent of total calories); 25 g fat (16 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 59 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 29 g sugar; 4 g protein; 60 mg sodium.



Italian man adopted black cats he later cooked and served to friends





A man who was thought to be giving black cats a good home turned out to be a cat cook! The 50-year-old from Brianza was adopting the felines — often "meaty" and around 3 years old — from a nearby shelter. He would then kill and cook up the animals before serving the meal to his friends.

BY LEE MORAN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

An Italian man was thought to be a cat lover, but it turned out he was adopting black cats like the one above so he could cook and eat them — and serve them to his friends.
He appeared to be the perfect animal lover.
By adopting 15 black cats from shelters, volunteers assumed he was just a kind-hearted gent giving the needy mousers a good home.
But cops now believe the 50-year-old from Brianza in northern Italy was in fact killing and cooking up the cats — before serving them to his friends for dinner.
Il Mattino reports that the suspected murderer took in the cats — which always had to be "meaty" and around 3-years-old — over several months.
By apparently doing a good deed, he managed to avoid calling attention to himself.
The man was adopting the cats from shelters in Lombardy, Italy.
But refuge staff became suspicious when the married dad-of-two refused to have routine checkups on his new pets.
Thinking he could be part of a sect targeting black cats for sacrifice, officers from animal rescue charity AIDAA raided his house.
They allegedly found him preparing to kill a cat he was later going to eat.
Il Mattino reports that the man confessed to having eaten other cats in his care.

Arrested and charged with animal abuse, he faces up to 12 months in jail if convicted.