“The Godfather” – Clemenza’s Meatballs! “GoodFellas” Garlic! Great Mobster Dinners And A Movie!

The Godfather movie

Here’s To A Tasty Celebration Of Mobster Meals!

Time to bite into the greatest film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”…and it’s also time to enjoy one of Martin Scorsese’s finest achievements as well…

Goodfellas Poster

Aside from being two of the greatest movies ever made, they both deal with the Mob – gangsters who lived large, and ate well too!


Corleone Family Meatballs

Behold Clemenza’s Meatballs!

Not only is “The Godfather” the greatest movie ever made, but it is chock full of food – family meals, wedding cakes, executions that take place in a diner that serves “the best veal”…food as part of life, and death. For example, Don Corleone’s daughter Connie makes a meal for her obnoxious husband, who announced that he’ll eat out later – you know, with his mistress…

The Godfather movie

Connie goes into a fit and flings the dinnerware around the house, causing her husband to beat her…what we find out later is that this was instigated for one reason: to lure Sonny out of his compound, and to one of the many iconic death scenes in the movie: at the toll booth.

The Godfather Sonny Corleone

Time To “Go To The Mattresses!”

When the five families start their mob war, they go “to the mattresses”, which means they all sleep in one place to be ready for battle at any time. Clemenza teaches Mikey how to make Sunday sauce for this house full of guys…here is the scene, and the recipe – first, the scene from the movie, courtesy of “The Godfather” blu-ray!

the godfather blu ray special edition

And here is that recipe again, courtesy of Clemenza:

“Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh? And a little bit o’ wine. An’ a little bit o’ sugar, and that’s my trick.”

Godfather meatballs

Let’s Get Cooking!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (whole, crushed or chopped)
1 (10-ounce) or 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
3 to 4 Italian sausages, grilled and sliced
1 pound cooked meatballs (use your favorite recipe)
Dry red wine
¼ cup sugar
Hot cooked pasta

godfather movie meatballs

First, take whatever ground meat you like and add some fresh minced garlic and onion, plus some italian herbs….roll those into meatballs and sear them off in a pan…now, make the sauce.

godfather meatballs

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes; do not let the garlic burn. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously so that a relatively smooth consistency is reached.

Godfather meatball recipe

Add sausages and meatballs. Stir until the meat is coated. Add a splash of red wine, then the sugar, according to taste. As you can see, Clemenza is very serious about making a good meal for his men…

Clemenza meatball recipe

Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Serve over hot cooked pasta.

Corleone Family Meatballs

And whatever you do, don’t insult the head of the family when it comes time to eat:

The Godfather meatball recipe

The Godfather – “Dinner IN A Movie!”

So, make the meatballs, put in the movie’s special edition blu-ray, and enjoy!

The Godfather real horse head

With that iconic “Gordfather” image in mind, let’s visit Martin Scorsese’s world of gangsters – who are just as hungry as Coppola’s boys!

“Goodfellas Garlic!”

Yes, there really is a style of cooking pasta known as “Goodfellas Garlic thin!”

GoodFellas thin, garlic

“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!”

goodfellas garlic

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
2 eggs
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

catherine scorsese cooking

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.

goodfellas gravy

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!

Goodfellas movie food

Thomas Keller’s Ratatouille!

Oh, and if your movie food hunger hasn’t been satiated, try THIS!


Yep, click on my story about Chef Thomas Keller’s ‘Ratatouille” recipe!


Let me know what you think!

Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Bloopers, Books / Media, cookbooks, Director Martin Scorsese, Film Noir, Food, Food Review, Golden Globes, Great Films, James Caan, Movies, New York, Recipes, Restaurants, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized, Wacky Food, wine

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9 replies


  1. “The Godfather” Screen Tests! Robert DeNiro IS Sonny Corleone! Godfather Trivia! « johnrieber
  2. “Boxcar Bertha”! Naked Barbara Hershey! Martin Scorsese’s Exploitation Classic! | johnrieber
  3. Scorsese’s Sexy Start! Naked Sex Symbols And Garlic Meatballs! | JR-Sploitation!
  4. Katz’s Deli! My First Pastrami At NYC’s Legendary Deli! “When Harry Met Sally” There! Great Movie Food Scenes! – johnrieber
  5. “The Godfather” – The Film That Started It All For Me! “What The Friday” Says The Horse Head Was Real! – johnrieber
  6. “When Harry Met Sally!” This “Cult Movie Monday” Visits Katz Deli 30 Years Later, Where “What She’s Having” Is A Shrine! – johnrieber
  7. “The Godfather 3” Will Be Re-Cut And Reissued! A Neglected Masterpiece Or Disappointing Last Chapter? “Cult Movie Monday” Has Details! – johnrieber
  8. “The Godfather” Estate Is For Sale! JFK’s Honeymoon Suite Is $90-Mil Off! Here Are Details! – johnrieber
  9. “The Godfather” Turns 50! Here’s A New Trailer For The Upcoming Re-Release! – johnrieber

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