Wednesday, May 16, 2012





Here's a strange and interesting article found recently on Grubstreet. It's the apparent New Phenomenon of Cooking the Recipes of Deceased Celebrities, and the article includes recipes by Elvis and his Fried Chicken, Miles Davis Chili, and Dean Martins Hamburger.
I myself have long been interested in cooking the favorite foods of celebrities both living and those who have passed on, especially those of Italian ancestry and in particular Frank Sinatra. And so I have included a recipe for Frank Sinatra's favorite of Spaghetti Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce). If you make this recipe, note that frank did not like pieces of garlic in his food. He did love the flavor and the way to achieve this feat as pointed out in the recipe is to start the dish saute whole cloves of garlic in olive oil, and when they just start getting brown, you remove the garlic which has left its flavor behind in the olive oil. Mangia!
"A strange mini-phenomenon is going on: Recipes from long-dead celebrities are resurfacing for no apparent reason. There’s Dean Martin’s spartan burger recipeMiles Davis’s chili, and Elvis’s favorite fried chicken. We wondered how the found recipes held up as actual recipes, so we gave comedian (and amateur cook) David Rees the job of making each, with the stipulation that he report back and rank the recipes against one another.
Celebrities are just like you and me: They wear sweatpants to the coffee shop; they worry about money; and they apparently love to cook!" Article by David Rees, found on Grubstreet. Interesting!



5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Small Onion, minced
1 28 oz. Can Whole Italian Plum Tomatoes
1/10 teaspoon Peperoncino (Red Pepper Flakes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry Basil
1/4 teaspoon dry Oregano
7 cloves garlic, peeled and left Whole
1 lb Imported Italian Spaghetti
Best Quality Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Cooking Procedures:

1) Put Olive Oil and garlic cloves in a 3 quart or larger pot. Turn flame on to medium heat. Cook garlic for about four minutes until it is lightly browned. Remove garlic from pot and discard.
2) Put whole tomatoes in blender or food processor and blend for two minutes.
3) Add tomatoes and all remaining ingredients to pot. Bring the ingredients up to the boil, then lower flame until sauce is a a low gentle simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping bottom of pot to keep sauce from burning.
4) After the sauce has been cooking for about 15 minutes, add Spaghetti to a separate pot of boiling salted water. Cook spaghetti according to directions on spaghetti package.
5) Drain the Spaghetti in a colander. Add spaghetti back to pot it cooked in. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix. Add half the Tomato Sauce and mix.
6) Plate out spaghetti onto four plates. Add a little more tomato sauce on top of already dressed Spaghetti. Serve and pass the Grated Cheesse. Enjoy!



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Monday, May 14, 2012


DiFara Pizza 
 Dom DeMarco
"Yes," Eating Pizza Made by The Maestro DOM DeMARCO
Is a Religious Experience !!!
Much has been said of the now famed Pizzeria (DiFarra Pizza) on Avenue J in Brooklyn, New York the Capital of Thee Best Pizza in the whole United States of America, bar-none, even Manhattan. Brooklyn lays claim to the Top two Pizzerias in the country, the top of the list 1 and 2, number 1, The Best and number 2, the second best. Well no, I don't know if I should put it that way, as it sound s as one is better than the other, which is not ht e case, as they are both equally good, equally Great and equally the Best Pizza and the Best Pizzerias in the United States, though they are are little different than one another. The Pizza at both Totonno's on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York and Di Farra Pizza on Avenue J in Brooklyn are both otherworldly specimens of some the Finest Pizza on other and the Undisputed Best Pizza in America.
Wow, got off on a tangent about both Di Farra and Totonno's when I just intended to talk about Di Farra Pizza, Dom DeMarco the Maestro of Di Farra's and the Religious experience that it is to go there, watch Dominic masterfully make Pizza after glorious Pizza (without the help of anyone else), to watch in awe and anticipation and Salivation til you finally get yours (after about a hour or hour and a half wait), you hold it in your hand like a precious baby, and then to sink your teeth into it, savoring each wondrous bite after the other. "Yes," it is truly a religious experience, that is, if you are a great lover of this wonderful invention, created in Napoli, spread throughout the the Italian Peninsular and then across the Atlantic to America from Italian Immigrants where Gennaro Lombardi opened the First Pizzeria in America on Prince Street in New York City some 100 years ago or so.
Back to Di Farra and Pizzaiolo Extraordinaire, Mr. Dominic DeMarco. It is Dominic that makes Di Farra what it is, it certainly isn't the Pizzeria itself which is ultra plain and even appalling to some. Mr. DeMarco's pizzas are just about as close to absolute perfection in the Pizza Making World, a world in which New York City excels and has only one rival in Naples, Italy and the whole of Italy itself. Mr. De Marco has the magic touch, with perfect dough, the perfect balance of ingredients, tomato and other ingredient ratio to cheese, and this include Mr. Demarcos judicious use of Olive Oil which is right-on and a little magic touch that whoever complains about it, just does not know there Pizza and Italian Food on a whole. We Italians love our olive oil. And those who complain are unaware that it is a condiment that adds the final last touch to many dishes before they are eaten. Dominic knows this and should not be discourage against his generous use of it by those who do not understand the proper essence of the Italian Table. So please, keep your traps shut, if you don't like it don't eat it, this countries finest examples of the Pizza Art.
And on to the religious experience of Di Farra, Dom DeMarco and the mans artistry with Pizza. There is nothing quite like it in the entire Pizza World. There does not exist, to my knowledge any place in the world that has an elderly man making a hundred plus Pizzas a day in a place that has endless lines, day and night. Pizza that are so perfect, words can not describe People line up for greatness and artistry, and for a couple of slices of the most marvelous pizza this side of Naples, and to watch this passionate little old man work his heart out, not getting, not allowing anyone else to make a pie at his beloved Pizzeria. The man is elderly. He's worked his whole life. He makes such a magical thing that people line up each and every day to see him and eat one of his many masterpieces. With business like this, he could hire to other Pizzaiolos to help him, doubling or tripling his business and and financial intake. He could hire two guys and make pizza aloing with them, or sit back and get three guys to do it. At his age, he's entitled to. But know, Dom DeMarco loves what he does, he loves his Pizza, each and every one that passes that counter and into thousands of appreciative hands. The man feels that no one else can make a Pizza the way he does and wants to serve to his customers. No one else who has his skills, his passion and love for the Pizza, thus he does it all himself. And this my friends is the reason that going to Di Farra's to watch Dominic the maestro in action, all by himself while hundreds of people line up every day, waiting an hour and a half to two hours just to get a Pizza (not just any old Pizza mind you). "It's a Religious Experience." Truly! A show and there is nothing like it in the World, Dom DeMarco, a man and his Pizza, America's Best, and something to rival that other World Pizza Capital, Napoli.
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
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Clemenza Shows Michael
How to Make Sunday Sauce "GRAVY"
For a Bunch of Mobsters

Of all the fine traditions of the Italian-American enclave in the United State,  the Sunday afternoon ritual  of  making  and Eating  a Sunday  Sauce is Italian-America’s  most  Time-Honored. Mamma, Grandma  (Nonna)  will make her Celebrated Sunday Sauce. What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday  Sauces are made with Italian Sausages, Braciole, and Meatballs. Some people make  their versions with;  Beef Neck, while others make  their Gravy  (Sunday Sauce) with just  Sausage and Meatballs.  Some may throw some Chicken Thighs into this mix. Sunday Sauces can be made with any combination of these aforementioned meats.  
    The meats are  slowly  simmered for  several hours with tomato,  and minced onions and garlic. 
I generally  like to make my Sunday Sauce with  Saus-ages, Meatballs, and Pork Ribs. Other times I’ll make it with Sausage, Ribs, and Braciole.  An old tradition in some families  is  that mother or Grandma would start the Sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it sim-mering  away 
for a  couple hours on  top of  the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes  to Church. When you  get back home,  the sauce would be ready. Ready to be devoured  
that is.
      We would usually start our Sunday meal with the most traditional Italian-American-Antipasto 
of roast  peppers,  Salami, Olives, and  Provolone.  After that, it’s on to  the Main Event,  Maccheroni and Sunday Sauce. Something so Blissfully Pleasurable and Sub-lime, that it is 
almost “Sinful.”
      When a meal centered  around a Sunday Sauce is announced, one can have visions of Blissful  Ecstasyat thoughts  of  Eating Pasta laden with  Italian Sausages,  Savory  Meatballs,  and Succulent Pork Ribs. All this has been slowly simmered to culinary perfection. Yes just the thoughts can enrapture one into a Delightful Frenzy  of  the Most Blissful Feelings of smelling, seeing,  and consuming  Sausages, Meat-balls and Gravy.  Yes a Sunday Sauce can and does 
have such  effects on  one’s mind, body,  and soul.  And, I do not want to sound prejudice, but this is pure fact,  it  is the Male of  the Italian-American species who Love The Sunday Sauce in all its form,  far more than the  female sex.  True! Meatballs too.  And Italian-American men and boys Love and hold  oh-so-dare, their Meatballs, Sunday Sauce, Sausage & Peppers,  and Meatball Parm Sandwiches.
     The  Sunday  Sauce that  my mother  would makewas with Sausages, Meatballs, and Beef Braciole. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the Braciole with  garlic,  parsley, Pecorino,  and Pignoli Nuts,  then  tying the bundles with  butchers cord to hold  the Braciole  together as they slowly simmered in the Gravy.  Another fond memory was helping my mother 
roll and shape the Meatballs.
      As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary dependingon my mood. One thing I Love to do when makingmy sauce  is  to add Pork Spareribs to the  “Gravy.” “Gravy” by the way is what many people in the New York  area call Sunday Sauce, particularly in Brooklyn. Not many people 
make there Sunday Sauce with the Pork Ribs,  but  to me they are phenomenal, and  anyone 
who tries them,  they are immediately hook-ed.  As I think back, none of the ladies in our 
family put Pork Spare Ribs into their Gravy.  I guess I read or heard  about some people
 doing  it, and I believe it  was  about 14 years ago or so that I  Started adding theRibs into my Sunday Sauce. I  haven’t looked back ever since.  I Love them, as does everyone whom I serve them to.
     Whenever I make my sauce with Pork Ribs, my friends  go nuts for them.  Many are 
surprised,  as they might never have had Ribs in a Sunday Gravy before. They didn’t  know 
that you could use Pork Spareribs.
     The ribs are traditional with some but not all. It is quite a shame for those  who don’t  add the ribs as they give the sauce a quite wonderful flavor, and the Ribs themselves,  “Yumm.”
The Ribs that simmer long  and  slow  and are very tender,” They lit-erally Melt-in-Your-Mouth.
    Whenever I make  the sauce,  and I’m dishing it out to friends and family,  I always make sure that I have my fare share of the Ribs.  Pork Ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so suc-culent and tasty,  they are  Beyond-Belief-Tasty.
    These Sunday Sauce Ribs are, “Out-of-this-World” and friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them.
      I remember the  time I first met my friend John Cataneo.  We were having a  dinner party  with Ada, Jimmy,  Pat  and Gina Parrotta,  Ronny “C,”  Bobby Shack.  Jimmy had invited  John and his wife Maria.
     I  had  never  met either  of  them before.  John and Maria  had  eaten already  and  were  not hungry so Johnny  told  me just  to  give him a small portion when I was dishing the Gravy out.  
I guess it was so good, Johnny shyly came back and asked if he could have a couple more ribs.  
   “No problem  Johnny. Enjoy!” 
   And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? Any  short Maccheroni such as  Rigatoni,   Ziti,  or Gnocchi are best.
     The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a 
quite a beautiful thing, same as making Mole in Mexico or Cassoulet in  France.  They are all wonderful things of Beauty.
     They take time and effort to make, and are made and served with Love. These dishes bring together friends and  family,  and for  Italian-Americans,  the Sunday Sauce is The King of all dishes.
      If  you utter the term Sunday Sauce to any number of  millions of Italian-Americans, they 
start salivating at  the simple mention of  its name.  The wheels start  turning  in their heads,  
with  thoughts of how tasty it is and all the different  components;  the Meatballs,  Sausages, Braciole, maybe  Ribs, Beef Neck, or Pig  Skin Braciole,  the Pasta, and the Gravy itself. 
They think  about  sitting  at  the  table with friends and  or  family,  people  they love.  
     They’ll  ponder  the Antipasti, wondering what it might be; Mixed Salumi, Baked Clams,  
Grilled Calamari?  And  with the meal, there will surely be Wine, Italian Wine, maybe a good  Chianti  or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  With Uncle Frank and Uncle Tony,  the  wine was usually Carlo Rossi Paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgundy, two  solid  Italian-American  winemakers.  
They think about the warmth in the air,  of loved ones, Sinatra,  Dino, the Sunday Sauce.“It’s  
a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never  done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together with friends and  family, soon. Sunday Sauce, It brings people togeth-er, in a most Delightful  way, and as the Big Boys would say, “It’s a Beautiful Thing.”

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Excerpted from Daniel Bellino's forthcoming book  "La Tavola"  Broadway Ffith Press, NY NY


"La TAVOLA" Available on AMAZON.Com  Mid-JULY 2012