September 17, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Murder’s on the menu in The Mafia Cookbook (Simon & Schuster, $15) by Joseph ”Joe Dogs” Iannuzzi, former henchman-chef to Florida mobster Tommy ”T.A.” Agro and his hungry associates. For 10 years, Iannuzzi made a lot of pasta for a lot of wiseguys, then turned FBI informant in 1981 after a few of his so- called compares beat his head into something resembling a meatball. In this, his second book since leaving ”the club” (the first was this summer’s Joe Dogs: The Life & Crimes of a Mobster), he dishes out recipes for mainly Italian fare: manicotti marinara with mint, osso buco, shrimp scampi Gambino-style. ”Mobsters love to eat. They’re always sitting around the table. They even get killed around the table,” Iannuzzi says by phone from a very undisclosed location (he has been in the federal Witness Protection Program for a year, ever since a close encounter of the ballistic kind). Along with sinfully rich recipes, requiring ingredients like a half pound of butter and a jar of Kraft Old English cheese-though his marinara sauce is low-cal, he insists-Iannuzzi serves up spicy stories surrounding each meal: Hit man Billy Ray bragged about offing his wife over vegetable giambotta; a nonfatal $143,000 drug heist-”We hadn’t capped anybody. This had been a straight boost”-was celebrated with panacotte. Then there was the time Agro put a finger (not his own) in Iannuzzi’s pickle jar, to make a point. Today, the former Joe Dogs is bored. ”I miss my friends,” he says, expressing the paradox of the stoolie’s plight. What’s more, the food’s no good: ”The federal marshals, they say they’re taking me out for Italian food. Sure, out here, if it’s got red sauce on it, it’s Italian.”

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