How to Make Beef Braciole

with Pasta

Rolling The Braciole


Saucing the PASTA

Recipes from My Sicilian Nonna


Tonys Italian Deli Queens NY




White Stone


Great Video

An Italian-American Family Deli, “Tony’s: in White Stone, Queens.

The whole family works there, mother Josephine, father Emilio Polito, and sons Gaetano (Tommy), Mario, and Angelo.

Mom cooks all the prepared food, like; Sausage, Pasta, Meatballs, Eggplant, Soups, and whatever. They make great coffee, including Espresso, Cappuccino, and good old American Coffee. And being a deli, they make great sandwiches, like; Italian Combo Submarine Sandwiches, Chicken Parm, and regular American Sandwiches like, Ham & Cheese, Tuna, whatever.

This is a wonderful Italian-Americana family story, and story of New Yorkers. You gotta love it.

All we can say is, Bravo to to Polito Family, good job, keep up the great work that you all do, making the people of White Stone Queens, New York happy feeding them all the good Italian Food and sandwiches. 

GRANDMA POLITO with her Granddaughter Lidia






Talks about making proper ESPRESSO


White Stone



Sophia Loren Ragu Scene Sabato Domenica Lunedi

Sophia Loren
Buying the meat on Satuarday to make Ragu Npoletana on Sunday
(In America, Italian Americans call it SUNDAY SAUCE or GRAVY
Look at her Face
She’s Pissed!
Arguing at the Butcher Shop on How to make a proper

Sophia Lorens character Rosa goes into a local buthcer shop (Macceleria) i Naples and orders meat to make her Ragu Napoletana.
She orders : ” I’m in a hurry, give me a kilo of “Annechia (Beef Chuck), a kilo and a half of “Tracchie” (Steak Stewing Meat) and “Locena” cuts and some “Pettola” (Pork Shoulder), two side nerves, and some side and back meat.
Butcher says : “What a Fathead you are. Please listen to me. Just take two “Cervalletine Sausages” and you’ll see what a Ragu (Meat Sauce) you get.
Lady 1 says ” “My God! Cervalleine Sausages in a Ragu?”
Lady 2 says : “And what’s the problem? They’re just fine. Indeed, if togtehr with Anecchia, you just add some Pork Braciole stuffed with raisins, Pignoli Nuts, and Parsley, and you’ll see what exquisiteness .”
Sophia Loren ; “it’s just a matter of taste. There are people who like a thicker sauce and those who like a lighter sauce. A classic one.
Lady 3: “Yes, but you can’t call it Classic Ragu (Sunday Gravy) without a Spuntatine di Maiale (Pork Spare Rib).
Lady 4 says: “No Madame, it depends on the Seasons. In Summer, pork is too heavy.”
Lady #2 says:  “Anyway the secret of a good Ragu (Napoletana) is onions.”
Sophia Loren : We” that is the basis. The bed of the sauce.”
Lady #5 says:  “My mother-in-law, who is famous for her Ragu, taught me that you must first brown the meats without onions.”
Sophia Loren :  “Oh come-on Madame! You’re cursing now!”
Lady #2 : “Excuse me if I’m interfering, but madame is right. Because if you cook the meats and onions separately, the Ragu (Meat Sauce) is more delicate. More refined.”
Sophia Loren says: “So you think that by cooking the meat and onions togther, the Ragu would be more common? I’m sorry madame, but where were you born?”
Lady #2 : “What does that have to do with it? I’m from Afragola.”
Sophia Loren :  “Ahhhhhh!!!! Donna Cecila (butcher lady), are you done?”
Lady # 2 :  “Madame excuse me, but I’d like to know what you meant by that Ahhhh?”
Sophia Loren :  “Did I say Ahhhh? No I just said Ah?”
Lady # 2 : “No you said Ahhhhh, as if you understood it all. But what have you understood?”
Sophia Loren :  “I understood that you come from Afragola.”
Pupella Maggio :  “To be born is a circumstance. You’re from Afragola and it’s okay. Do you feel offended by this? That means that you have a guilty conscience.”
Lady 2 : “Well no madame, I don’t have guilty conscience.
Pupella Maggio : “No, you have it madame. You have it. (screaming)”
Woman 2:  “Madam here had a nasty intenet.”
Sophia Loren : “It’s you telling me who has the more refined Ragu. It’s like telling us all, that we mus come to Afragola to learn refinements.”
Lady # 2 : “Do you see the nasty intent? I’m not wrong!”
ALL of the Women it the BUTCHEr SHOP are YELLING at each other.
Women Butcher says: “Hey! What’s Going On? This is a shop! It’s a respected Butcher SHop! Now I’m gonna send you all out of here!”
The POLICE walk in the Butcher Shop
Carabinieri # 1 (Policeman) : “What’s going on? What are they saying?”
Carabinieri # 2 : “They’re arguing over how to make a Ragu (Napoletana).”
Sophia Loren : “She wants to teach me how to make a Ragu. Come On!”
Lady # 2 : “I can make a superb Ragu.”
All of the Ladies in the Butcher Shop start pushing and shoving each other, and actually hitting each other. This is how passionate Neapolitans can be, when it comes for makinga proper Ragu (Ragu Napoletana or Ragu alla Genovese)
, the recipe, and how to prepare these famed recipes.
For Several Great Recipes
On How to Make Proper Meat Ragu
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke



East Harlem Italian



Italian Family Apartment Life

An Italian Family in East Harlem (Little Italy), New York, painting by East Harlem native Italian-American artist Daniel Celentano.



Making Wine

Italian-American family making homemade wine in their apartment in East Harlem Italian neighborhood in New York, 1930s.




by Leroy Neiman

Frank Sinatra getting a Jack Daniels 

at Rao’s Bar

Served by “Nicky The Vest”



Inside RAO”S



Patsy’s Pizzeria Napoletana

Spaghetti House

New York , NY



Frank Sinatra

At Patsy’s with Patsy




Frank Sinatra’s Favorite Pizza

East Harlem



Grandma Bellino

Probably Knew Frank Sinatra’s Father

Martino Severino Sinatra

In Lercara Friddi Sicily





Drinking Positano The Amalfi Coast









Drinking the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Positano, Napoli, what do you drink? Well there’s always wine. Yes wine, Campari, an Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, Mineral Water, Cappuccino, Espresso, and you must drink some Lemonade, for after all, you’re in The Land of Lemons of the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Or if you’re on Capri or Ischia, Sorrento or Salerno, or the Capital City of Napoli, it’s all the same. All the same of what you might drink, what the locals drink, business men, travelers, tourists, whoever.

    Yes, you will drink Cappuccino and Espresso, it’s good all over, and every Barista takes pride in his coffee making skills and prowess. And when it comes to Espresso, the Neapolitans are the World Champions of making it and drinking it. Espresso that is.

   And if on your trip to Positano, Capri, Sorrento, wherever your destination is down there, if you’re in Napoli, try and go to the Gran Caffe Gambrinus for one of the great cafe experiences of your life. The Gran Caffe Gambrinus is heir to the great Neapolitan coffee tradition, for coffee and the art of making and drinking a proper Espresso, is at its highest level in Gambrinus. Espresso in Napoli is rooted in ritual and the habits of each social class. There is a phenomenon in this habitual ritual that makes the simple moment of refreshment an opportunity for culture and socializing. You will experience a moment of great pleasure as you partake in this esteemed ritual known as espresso. But not just any Espresso, but a Neapolitan one. And while at Gambrinus, drinking your Cappuccino, Espresso or Special Gambrinus Caffe, why not treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle as well?

    All over the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and especially popular on the Isle of Capri are Lemonade Stands. It stands to reason that with all the Lemon Groves you find on Capri, in and around Sorrento, and in Minori, Maiori, Atrani, and Amalfi, that they’d be serving that refreshing lemon based drink, Lemonade, yes they do. Though lemons are grown all over the coast and on the islands, there seems to be two places that you see Granita and Lemonade Stands more than in other parts, and those two places are in Napoli and on the Isle of Capri. And when it comes to me personally, I always remember that first Lemonade I ever had there, and that was the Lemonade Stand on the Piazzetta of the Piazza Umberto that’s right there before you, when you get off of the Funicular of Capri, if you happen to be taking it. And if you do take the Funicular from the bottom at Marina Grande, once up are at the top and your ride is over, the first thing you’ll see when you exit the Funicular is that Lemonade Stand that is so very inviting on a hot Summer day. So, just as I did on that day in the Summer of 1988 when I had my first, I got a glass of Lemonade. I got off of the Funicular, saw the Lemonade Stand and I couldn’t resist. I got myself a nice cold refreshing Lemonade made with the Lemons of Capri. Later on, in the trip (i988), I’d have my first Limoncello, that hugely famous after dinner drink made with the local Lemons. So, you see, it’s usually the littlest things that I love most when I travel. Like that lemonade on Capri in the Summer of 1988, my first Campari, Aperol Spritz, and most recently a lovely liquor made in these parts called Finnonchietto (Fennel Liqueur), that the waiter brought for me and my cousin Tony, after dinner at Z’Antonino one night in Sorrento. Wow, I went nuts when I tasted this wonderful liqueur for the first time. It was a revelation. I never had it before, and I absolutely loved it. So much so, that when we finished the dinner and took a little walk, as we passed by a Salumeria that sold Limoncello, Amari, and other liqueurs, including Finnonchietto, I just had to get a bottle, and so I did (8 Euros).

   So, now as we talk of drinking on the Amalfi Coast, we come up to the subject of the Aperitivo and Aperitivo time on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Well, what is Apertivo anyway you say? Aperitivo is a drink that you have before dinner, and is meant for socializing as well as getting your palate going for the meal to come. Most often when you go for Apertivo (aka Aperitif) and order a drink at the traditional aperitivo time (late-afternoon & early-evening), the waiter will bring you some little snacks along with your drink (Aperitivo). The snacks might be as simple as a bowl of Potato Chips and Olives. In addition, some places might serve canapes (crostini) with various toppings, all for the price of the drink. The most popular forms of Aperitivo drinks are anything made with Campari or Aperol, such as Campari & Soda or OJ, a Negroni, or Aperol Spritz. Prosecco or any wine at the apertivo hours are also considered as aperitivo drinks. You can get any other cocktails made with Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey or other forms of alcohol other than Prosecco, wine, Campari, or Aperol, but these cocktails may be quite a bit more expensive than the traditional Aperitivi.

   On a recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, I partook in the delightful ritual of Apertivo on numerous occasions. It was quite wonderful sharing this ritual with my cousins Tony, Mimmo, Marta, and friends in Salerno, Sorrento, in Positano, and Vietro Sul Mare. My trip started off in Rome for a day before I hopped on the high-speed train to Napoli the next day. After landing in Rome, checking into my hotel, I took a shower and then a nap. Well, more thana nap, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I finally awoke and hopped in the shower again.

    Once I showered and got dressed for one more evening out to my beloved Roma, I had a plan. My plan was to walk over to the Metro stop and take a train to near the Piazza Spagna where I would go walk around and enjoy a bit of time at this one of Rome’s most popular spots. I walked up The Spanish Steps, taking pictures along the way and enjoying the scene before me; the people and that view from atop the Spanish Steps is absolutely magnificent. I stayed there to enjoy it for a little while. So, now on to the second phase of the plan.

   After spending a half-hour enjoying the Piazza di Spagna, my plan was to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo from there, a short 8 minute walk away. Yes, my plans included going to Piazza di Popolo to see the beautiful little twin churches of Santa Maria Maracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto and to have a Aperitivo at Rosati afterwards. After that, I’d go on to dinner. So after leaving the Spanish Steps behind I made my way along to the Via Babuino leading me to my destination of the Piazza di Popolo and all its offerings.

   When I arrived about 10 minutes later, I walked towards the Fountain of Neptune to get a good view of the Twin Churches. I took a few pictures of the churches, then asked a couple if they would take a picture of me in front of them. They took a couple nice pictures that are now part of my wonderful memories of that day, and even back to 1985 and 1986 in Rome. After taking pictures of the two churches and the Piazza and myself, I went over to the churches to go inside. The Chiesa Santa Maria Miracoli was closed, but the doors to Santa Maria Montesanto were open, and there was a Mass being conducted. I went in and sat down to relax there. I listened to the priest and parishioners as they responded to the priest. I said a few prayers for my sister Barbara, myself, my Brothers Jimmy and Michael, and their loved ones, and then I left the church.

   After my time at the churches I walked across to Rosati for my little aperitivo. I took a seat at a table outside to watch the World go by the Twin Churches and life on the Piazza Popolo. I ordered a Campari Soda and the waitress brought it to me along with Olives, Potato Chips, and Canapes. And yes, I sat back, sipped my Campari and watched the World go by. I had quite a nice little Aperitivo Time at Roasati and then it was on to dinner.

   Drinking? You can’t talk about drinking in Italy without talking about wine. On this recent trip I was briefly in Rome where I drank Frascati with dinner that night, followed by an Amaro of Capo di Stato digestive from Calabria.

     Now, down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast and the wines down there. This area has some wonderful wines that are sure to please all. There are a lot of very good white wines, as there should be with all the wonderful seafood available and simply for the fact of the heat and being on the coast in Summer, for many people, white wine is the way to go. The White Wines of the area are some of the finest in Italy, in wines like; Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Coda, Falanghina, Biancolella, and a few others, with these being the main ones as well as being most popular. When it comes to reds, Aglianico is King, especially in the form of “Taurasi” the most prestigious red wine in all  of Southern Italy. The red grape Palumbo, also known as Piedirosso which makes up the local wine that is called Lacryma Christi, meaning “The Tears of Christ.” This grape makes wonderful fruity wines as is in the case of Lacryma Christi. Yes, Aglianico is the most renowned red grape varietal of the region, but the grape Piedirossa and the wines that it makes up are not far behind in stature. The more famous wines are made with Aglianico, the grape that makes up the famed Itaian wine known as Taurasi.

   There is a most lovely legend that goes along with the wine Lacryma Christi, which can be found as either white or red wine. As the legend goes, is that when Saint Lucifer (the Devil) was cast away, he took a piece of Heaven with him. When Christ first saw the Bay of Naples, he recognized it as the stolen piece of Heaven and he wept over its loss. It’s said that as Christ wept, where his tears landed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius is where the grapes that make up Lacryma Christi first sprang up from, and these are the grapes that sprung from the Tears of Christ. So the legend goes, and it’s quite a lovely one at that.

   So you see, drinking in Napoli, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, is a very pleasant pastime, whether drinking Cappuccino in the morning, Espresso later in the day, Lemonade or Limoncello, local wine, a Negroni, Campari, or Aperol Spritz, you’re going to have a good time. You have to? You’re in Aamlfi. Enjoy it.



by Daniel Bellino Zwicke  …. Due for Publication, May 2019










Ronzoni Sono Buoni Pasta Its So Good New York Maccheroni Factory

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Rigatoni No. 27
“Ronzoni Sono Buoni,”if you are Italian and grew up in the New York area in the great decades of the 1960’s and or 70s you know the slogan. We Italians do love our
pasta, we’re weened on it! Pasta is the main staple of our diet. Many are fanatical about and love it so, they insist on having it several times a week.I’m one. Pasta, can be covered in a wide variety of sauces,  in some soups like; Pasta Fagioli (Pasta Fazool),in Minestrone’s, with Pasta and Peas, and Pasta con Ceci (Chick Peas). Yes, we are weened on it. Mommy gave me, my bothers and sister Pastina coated in a bit of butter and Parmigiano when we were just toddlers  and every soften I have to pick up a box of Ronzoni Pastina, as I love and crave it still,and of late as with many my age, you start craving things you loved as a child,thus my stints with Pastina. “Ronzoni Sono Buoni,” it means, Ronzoni is So Good, and that it is. This brand of Pasta, born in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century has been a mainstay of not only Italian-Americans of the East Coast but, for all.

For years before the surge of many a imported pasta product in the U.S., Ronzoni, was not the only game in town for Macaroni, there was the Prince and Creamette, as well, but Ronzoni dominated the market and though I don’t have stats, I would wage to say that 85 to 90 % of all commercial pasta sold in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas was Ronzoni, the pasta in the bright blue boxes, Ronzoni Sono Buoni. God I wonder how many plates and bowls of Spaghetti, Ziti and other Ronzoni pastas I ate over the years, starting with Pastina as a toddler  and moving to Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce or Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Stuffed Shells and more. Oh “Stuffed Shells,” they bring back memories of my mother who loved them. We had them often, along with Lasagna made with Ronzoni Lasagana. You don’t see Stuffed Shells around that much anymore, they used to be on many a restaurant and even more home menus. There popularity has waned, but every once and a while I’ll pick up a box of Ronzoni large shells, just for the purpose of bringing back those memories of mommaking them and me loving them as  a child. I’ll make a batch of tomato sauce, cook the Ronzoni Shells, and stuff them with ricotta and Parmigiano, bake them in tomato sauce, and “Voila” Stuffed Shells of days gone by. I do the same with a Pastina as I still love the dish so, dressed with butter and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, “makes me feel like a kid again!” Yum, delicious little pleasure you can whip up in minutes and bring back visions of your youth. All with some butter, Parmigiano and a box of Ronzoni Pastina. That’s Ronzoni, every bit a part of my life and youth as a spring ol Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, The Three Stooges, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and all the favorites of my youth, Ronzon Sono Buoni, “Ronzoni it’s so good!”

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by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


And Other RECIPE