Sicilian Meatballs

No, this is not about the Philadelphia Mob

You know what John Gotti's favorite restaurant was? Crack Barrel. No kidding. Why? Because as Gotti said "How much Italian food can you eat?"

Noted Sicilian meatball Frank Nitti after he got drunk and put a bullet into his right temple. Nitti ran a first class, white table clothe restaurant called The Island of Capri, in Chicago for a decade. It was from his booth at the Capri that he plotted the Mafia's take over of Hollywood in the 1940s

Sicilian Meatballs


Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 slices of white sandwich bread

4 large eggs, beaten

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon minced marjoram

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1/2 cup dried currants

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

In a small bowl, place torn up bread and pour milk over it, set aside to soak.

Pour the tomatoes into a large enameled cast-iron casserole and crush them. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, soak the bread in water until saturated. Squeeze out the water and transfer the bread to a large bowl. Mash the bread to a paste and stir in the eggs, garlic, parsley, marjoram, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mash until smooth. Add the chuck, currants, pine nuts and cheese and mix until combined. Add the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until the mixture is firm enough to roll. Form the mixture into 36 meatballs (about 3 tablespoons each), tucking in the currants and pine nuts.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry over moderate heat, turning, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve in bowls, passing more cheese at the table.

What was Crazy Joe Gallo eating when the Mafia shot him full of holes ?

So you axe, what was Crazy Joe Gallo eating when the Mafia shot him full of holes at Umberto’s Calm House in New York’s Little Italy?

He was eating scungilli with clam sauce.


2 lb Fresh scungilli or conch
1 x Wine cork
2 tbl Vinegar
4 tbl Extra-virgin olive oil
1 med Red onion chopped 1/4" dice
2 tbl Fresh thyme, leaves only
1 x Yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded, chopped 1/4" dice
1 cup Dry white wine
3 x Italian Roma tomatoes chopped 1/4" dice to yield 3/4 cup
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste


Instructions: Place scungilli in a pot and cover with water. Add a wine cork and 2 tablespoons vinegar and boil 1 hour until tender. Drain and cool. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and set aside.

In a tall sauce pan (6- to 8-quarts), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, thyme leaves and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine, tomato pieces and scungilli and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve in shallow bowls with lemon wedges.
This recipe yields 4 servings.

Spaghetti with Walnut Sauce, Al Capone's favorite meal

Spaghetti with Walnut Sauce

Spaghettis Sauce aux Noix


This was Al Capone's favorite dish. His, Sonny...liked it as well

Put your gun down
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup walnut pieces
1-3/4 cups parsley leaves, firmly packed
1-3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tomato, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large pot, bring approximately 4 quarts of water to a boil and add the 2 teaspoons salt and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the spaghetti slowly, allowing the water to continue boiling all the time. Cook until noodles are tender, about 10 minutes for dried spaghetti.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, chop and blend the garlic, walnuts, and 1-1/2 cups parsley, reserving 1/4 cup of parsley for the garnish. with the motor on, pour the olive oil slowly into the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and blend again for a moment. Leave sauce in the food processor.

3. Coarsely chop the reserved 1/4 cup parsley. If you are using a tomato for garnish, core and dice it. Set aside.

4. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

5. Place a mound of spaghetti on each plate, creating a small indentation in the middle for the sauce. Now check the consistency of the sauce. If it seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon of the cooking water at a time and blend. The sauce should be dry enough to hold its form as a mound in the middle of the plate, but moist enough to coat the spaghetti when tossed.

6. Place a portion of sauce in the indentation on each mound of spaghetti. Sprinkle each dish with Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and diced tomato.

Note: This recipe can be made Italian style by substituting fresh basil for parsley, but parsley is more traditional to southwest France and is a better companion for the walnuts, allowing them to dominate the flavor of the sauce.