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Joe Scognamillo

Celebrate Frank Sinatra’s Birthday with One of His Favorite Dishes


Frank Sinatra’s Birthday is coming up on December 12. To celebrate, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is sharing some of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ favorite dishes. Frank Sinatra first met “Patsy” Scognamillo in 1942, and the two shared a lifelong relationship. Whenever Sinatra was in New York, he would often visit the restaurant, usually with his friends. His legacy lives on in the restaurant till this day.


In over 70 years of existence, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant has had only three chefs, the late Patsy himself, his son Joe Scognamillo and Joe’s son Chef Sal Scognamillo, who has been manning the kitchen for the past 30 years. So if you can’t make it to Patsy’s to raise a glass to Frank, you can still cook one of his favorite dishes.


Serves 8


½ small Italian stale baguette (about ½ pound)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch of oregano
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
8 veal cutlets (about 1 ¼ pounds), pounded this to slightly less than ¼ inch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon cut into 8 wedges


Break or cut the bread into large chunks and place in a food processor.  Process until the bread is reduced to fine crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and stir in the cheese, oregano, and parsley.  Gradually add 3 tablespoons of oil, stirring, until thoroughly combined.  Season with the salt and pepper.

Spread the flour on a large plate, place the eggs in a shallow bowl, and spread the seasoned bread crumbs on a second large plate.  Coat each veal cutlet in the flour, then the beaten eggs, and then the bread crumbs, patting with the palm of your hand to ensure adhesion.

Heat 1 cup of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame (to a frying temperature of 350 F) and sauté the veal for 2 minutes.  Turn and sauté for 1 additional minute. Do not crowd pan. If necessary, fry the cutlets in batches.  Remove with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges.


Serves: 4


32 littleneck clams
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, halved
¼ cup onion, chopped
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes with juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish


Scrub the clams with a stiff brush, rinse thoroughly in cold water and place in a large pot. Add cold water to just cover (or slightly less) and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the clams to a large bowl as they open and discard any that do not open.

Strain the cooking liquid though a chinois/strainer lined with a coffee filter. Reserve ¾ cup of the strained cooking liquid.

Return the clams to the pot, add cold water and stir to remove any remaining sand. Drain and reserve clams.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium flame and sauté the garlic halves until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic with tongs and discard. Add the onions to the garlic oil and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, until soft but do not brown. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them and their juice to the saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste if using and add the basil and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Simmer UNCOVERED 5 minutes.

Add the reserved clam broth and clams to the sauce and bring to boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until the clams are heated through. Spoon the clams and sauce into serving bowls, garnish with remaining parsley and serve immediately with hot crusty bread.


Serves : 8


1 3-pound container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 1 lemon
Butter and flour, for greasing pan


Preheat the oven to 400º F.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and juice from the lemon until well blended.

Butter and flour a 9×2-inch round baking pan. Spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. To prevent the spillage of rising batter over the side of the pan, construct a collar around the pan that extends at least two inches above the top with a sheet of aluminum foil folded in half lengthwise and secured with tape.  Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 55 minutes.

Refrigerate for three to four hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow to return to room temperature before serving.

Photos and recipes courtesy of Patsy’s Restaurant.