Monday, May 06, 2024

Culinary Maestro Turned Inmate Turned Author Reveals 5 Secrets for Making Perfect Pasta and Meatballs





PUEBLO, Colo. — From owning acclaimed eateries to forging unexpected alliances in a federal detention center, Frankie “Spice” Morelli has made his mark as a culinary maestro who respects the power of authentic Italian food. Now, in his publishing debut, Morelli creates and compiles delicious recipes, healthful nutrition and decades of experience into MOBB Cookbook & Diet: Savor and Slim the Italian Way (May 7, 2024; MOBB Publishing; ISBN: 9798989079612; Hardcover). It’s a pizza box-sized, full-color coffee table cookbook blending 70-plus recipes, along with nearly 200 original full-color photos and tantalizing mob lore with a vital ingredient: a priority on health. Teaming up with Dr. Sandra “Diet Duchess” Frank, Ed.D., RDN, FAND, who nutritionally vetted the recipes in the book, Morelli guarantees that every dish in this book can be enjoyed as part of a well-balanced, nourishing diet. 


Whether cooking on-camera, providing b-roll footage for the perfect virtual demo, or just chatting with the host, producer or editor, Frankie can share his five secrets for making the BEST spaghetti and meatballs … this side of The Clink:


  1. Undercook your pasta because even when you take it out of boiling water it is still cooking!
  2. To prepare the sauce, sauté fresh garlic in oil, deglaze with white wine … and mix in salt and black pepper. 
  3. To make the sauce, use only San Marzano tomatoes—they are imported from Italy and are naturally sweet without an acidic taste. With a stick or a home blender, puree the tomatoes and combine with the sautéed garlic mixture. Do not add sugar! Simmer it all on “low” for 4 hours.
  4. Make the meatballs as big as a softball … the smaller you make the balls, the harder they become when you cook ‘em. Use 80/20 ground beef/ground pork, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, cream, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Says Frankie, “The better the meatball, the more protection I had in The Joint!” Put the balls into the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees … take ‘em out, flip them and cook for the same amount of time … and that’s it.
  5. Simplicity is the essence of Italian cooking!


MOBB Cookbook & Diet includes an array of recipes, like Don Pasquale’s Shrimp Scampi, Lucky Luciano’s Luscious Lady Fingers and even Lou “The Hebrew Hammer’s” favorite Matzo Ball Soup. It’s filled with “fun” facts about notorious and alleged mobsters, including “Tommy Guns,” Jimmy “The Beast,” Jeremy “The Jett” and other members of the author’s diverse circle of acquaintances from the Sicilian mob, Italian Cosa Nostra and the wide multicultural world of gangsters.   


About the Author

Frankie "Spice" Morelli is a resilient culinary maestro and entrepreneur with an innate understanding of delicious and nourishing, authentic yet innovative Italian food. He owned and operated the award-winning Morelli’s Ristorante Italiano in Florence, Colorado, and founded Nona Morelli Pasta, an international pasta and sauce company that supplied prominent retail chains, engaged in private-label partnerships with respected brands like Kraft Foods’ Budget Gourmet, and pioneered the introduction of microwave pasta. After divesting the restaurant in 1990 and selling the company in 1992, he applied his business savvy to taking companies public through reverse mergers. For more information, please visit

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