Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Paul Castellano on a Bad Hair Day.


1985 was a good year for New Yorkers. The Dow was up, a subway ride and a pack of smokes were still under a buck and "New York, New York" became the official song of the Big Apple. As for Paul Castellano, Capo di Tutti Capi of the most powerful Mafia family in the country, the year was a bust. 


Ronald Reagan was in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and Gambino Crime Family Boss of Bosses Constantino Paul "Big Paulie" Costellano was ensconced in his own White House in the upscale Todt Hill section of Staten Island complete with family pet rottweiler, Duke. A homebody at heart, he liked nothing more than lounging around in his 'uniform' of ice blue silk PJs, red satin robe and black velvet slippers ala Hugh Hefner with one major difference...circa '85 Hef had a tall leggy blonde hanging on each arm and a bevy of bikini clad beauties fawning all over him as it's always been. Fast forward to the present and there's just one small addition - a pocketful of Viagra (allegedly) to keep HMH humpin'and pumpin'!
Hef-ty load
Pocketful of Miracles



While uber Playboy Hefner was cavorting with his bunnies at his Holmby Hills hideaway, “Meester Paul" was smitten with only one woman, Gloria Olarte, his short immigrant Colombian maid who was not particularly pretty and barely spoke English. Olarte was unskilled and had done a brief stint as a factory worker, long enough to know this was not what she had envisioned for her new life in America. When opportunity knocked in the form of a job as a maid for a wealthy Staten Island family through her sister's connections, she jumped at it. She saw one thing only...

                      Cha Ching!                                               Almost half the age of her boss/spoiler alert - soon-to-be lover, Gloria set her sights on being the mistress of the manse upon arrival, and within what seemed like a New York minute, Mrs. Boss Nina Castellano became invisible and eventually moved out and Senorita Olarte took over. Besotted with Gloria, Don Castellano desperately wanted to get passed 3rd base with her and hit it outta the park. One major problem: the boss was playing with a broken bat. Being diabetic had left him with a limp dick. Not even a corrupt union operated fork lift could help Big Paulie get the ole braciole up! At her sexual peak, Gloria most likely was persuasive enough to convince the Senor that he could recapture the virility of his youth. To make sure Maid Gloria had her much needed regular beef injections, at 68 the don decided to take a jaunt to Tampa for a penile implant, a decision which would make him look weak and foolish and later contributed to his fateful demise. Rarely wanting to leave the comfort of his domain and becoming more and more reclusive he earned the nickname "The Howard Hughes of the mafia."
Schwing Time


Big Paulie honed his chops on the streets 
of Brooklyn where at 14 he was cutting meat and running numbers for his butcher father. By 19 he had already done 3 months behind bars for armed robbery. He secured his future at 22 when he married cousin and boss Carlo Gambino’s sister-in-law, Nina Manno. Nepotism helped him rapidly rise up through the ranks to caporegime. Castellano fancied himself a gentlemen who didn’t like sullying his hands in the blue-collar crimes of gambling, extortion, theft, running numbers, loan sharking and street and muscle activity. He preferred the image of a CEO overseeing an empire of cement and construction companies, meat enterprises, labor unions, stocks, waste management and the business that would ultimately lead to his final arrest and untimely death - auto theft rings. He even entertained the notion that at some point he would be able to legitimize organized crime in the Gambino Family through these 'white collar' enterprises. Castellano could have added Chairman of the Board to the list as he saw himself more a captain of industry rather than a mafia capo.


Prime Rib Steak for Food or Black Eye
The Boss always kept his hands in the meat business and by the 70s he managed to corner the NY metro area meat "market." 
He set his two non mafioso spawns, Joe and Paul Jr., up in the meat and poultry business and helped them establish several wholesale companies. Dial Poultry nee Blue Ribbon Meats rose to the top. The don knew every angle of the business and was well versed in how to pass off tainted, expired and mystery meat as USDA prime, choice and select grades through unsavory and toxic chemical methods. His son-in-law, Frank Amato became his protege and expert at making the goods salable and appealing to customers. They all learned well from the maestro under the G.I. (Gambino Incentive) Bill. Any MBA candidate could’ve learned how to build a corporate empire from Big Paul. He had made his way from part-time butcher to just short of pulling off a total coup of the New York meat and poultry network, eventually having a near monopoly on the holy trinity of the entire industry: distribution, retailing and labor. His machine purred like a Fortune 500 company. He expanded this Gambino Family powerhouse by roping in two of the biggest NY supermarket chains of that era -  Waldbaum’s and Key Foods. 

    Braciole From the Lower Flank Area Near the Steer's, You Guessed It...Braciole!
Braciole - Capisce?

1-1/2 lb. flank steak
1 cup grated Peccorino Romano cheese (see note below)
1 cup shredded provolone cheese or a 4-in-1 cheese mix of Romano, smoked provolone, mozzarella and Asagio for a little added zest
1 small chopped onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 strips soft cooked bacon 
2 hard boiled eggs quartered
1 large can crushed tomatoes
5 or 6 pieces of butcher's string cut 12" + 1 15" pc.)
8 ozs. + a splash of red wine 
Extra virgin olive oil (Italian of course)
Sea salt and pepper 
Sprigs of fresh basilico

Sandwich the steak between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Take a meat mallet (a must have for doing a kneecapping job) or cast iron skillet (see previous post) and pound the steak like you're beating the crap outta one of those degenerate gambler 'clients' who had a hot tip on the 3rd race at Belmont that lost and is now behind on his "installment" plan (about 1/4" thick).  Remove the top layer of wrap. Mix breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and garlic together and drizzle a little olive oil to moisten mixture and bind ingredients. Spread over the inside surface of the steak. Lay bacon strips, cheese and last the eggs. Roll w/the grain of the meat pushing the stuffing in as you roll just like hitmen roll a body in a rug to stuff into the trunk of a car. Tie 5 pieces of string equally spaced over the width of the roll and 1 lenghwise. Not too tight like you're strangling that strunz who can't pay the vig on the loan he borrowed 2 wks. ago. Next week the left kneecap goes!

Put a little olive oil in a skillet and brown the roll 4-5 mins. per side. In a separate pot or dutch oven add a little more oil and cook the chopped onions 'til they're clear then add tomatoes. Add the meat and pour the wine over it. Season w/a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and braise for 1-1/4 hrs. Remove meat and plate on a dish with a couple of ladles of sauce on it. Let cool 10 mins. and slice against the grain. Make this the only time you go against the grain if you wanna gain favor with the don. Using the strings as a guide, cut about 2 slices per space between strings. Roll should getcha about 10 slices. Simmer remaining sauce a few more minutes adding more fresh basilico. Add another ladle of sauce over the top of the meat, garnish with a couple of more sprigs and serve remaining sauce over side of your favorite pasta.

Buon appetito and don't forget - tuck the dishtowel into that nice white Italian tuxedo!

Lucatelli Pecorino Romano is the best although a little more salty.

braciole: Bra-chee-ole - a big stuffed Italian roll of beef; slang for a man's dick. Hey, ya gonna be stickin' that braciole in your gumada tonight? Snooki loves Jersey Shore braciole. 
vig: rhymes with pig - interest on $$ owed to a loan shark or bookie. If Jimmy "Juiceman" Gambardella doesn't pay the vig on what he owes to his bookie, they're gonna do some Mafia dentistry on him.
Italian tuxedo - a wife beater T-shirt, tank top tee.  

*Woody Allen upon being 'exposed' for his affair with lover Mia Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, 21 at time of discovery. Soon-Yi became Mrs. Woody and the auteur was not prosecuted even though a cache of Polaroids he took was discovered from his bride's nymphet days. Woody musta passed them off as test shots for his latest movie! 

Special thanks again to FBI Agents Joseph F. O'Brien (ret.) and Andris Kurins (ret.) for Boss of Bosses and John H. Davis for Mafia Dynasty both of which were invaluable sources for my research.
All content of  "Dining with the Don" except for credited photos are original works copyrighted by Mafia Cook. No portion may be copied or reprinted without permission of the author.


AnimalSpeaker said...

A super engaging post. The blog is beginning to read like a book :-)

Rita Stafford said...

Hey, this keeps getting better and better. You rock!

Associate Writer said...

Fantastic. Liking how often these are coming up. Very colorful, too.

Countrygirl said...

I'm gonna try making these. Sounds yumm!

Anonymous said...

I laughed my pants off!! Your writing style is so gangsta!! Keep up the good work, Mama! xox

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