“Goodfellas thin”: The unofficial measurement of a slice of garlic cut extremely thin using a razor blade.
In 1990, Scorsese teamed up with Robert DeNiro to tell the story of Henry Hill, the young kid who worked his way up through the mob hierarchy, only to see it all fall apart.
Ray Liotta is brilliant as the young mobster, and DeNiro plays James Conway, the guy who helps Hill get into the mob, only to betray him in an effort to save himself.
Joe Pesci won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of psycho gangster Tommy DeVito – I have included the infamous “but I’m funny HOW?” dialogue at the end of this post, one of the film’s many iconic moments.
Scorsese’s Mom Cooked For Them!
Scorsese’s mother, Catherine Scorsese, plays Tommy’s mother. She and the cast ad-libbed the dinner scene. Scorsese’s father, Charles Scorsese, plays the prisoner who puts too many onions in the tomato sauce…the prison scene that introduced America to the “Goodfellas thin” slicing of the garlic!
The term is a reference to the famous scene in which lead character Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) describes in detail how mob boss Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) prepared dinner while in prison:
“In prison, dinner was always a big thing. We had a pasta course, then we had a meat or a fish. Paulie was doing a year for contempt and had a wonderful system for garlic. He used a razor and sliced it so thin it would liquefy in the pan with a little oil. It’s a very good system.”
Here is the scene:
How can you not love that?
Here is the three-meat meatball (just like Goodfellas “Veal, beef and pork… you gotta have the pork.”) recipe to try at home:
First, slice the garlic “Goodfellas thin!”
Meatballs a la Goodfellas
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, sliced razor thin then minced
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup olive oil
Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still hold it’s shape if rolled into meatballs. (I usually use about 1 1/4 cups of water). Shape into meatballs.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches. When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
Place cooked meatballs into Marinara Sauce and cook for 15 more minutes.
There you have it, Meatballs ala Goodfellas….the best “dinner in a movie” you will ever have!
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