December 12th be Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. Known for his melodious crooning, charming acting roles and sparkling blue eyes, Sinatra also developed a bit of a reputation for his love of Italian-American food at Patsy’s Restaurant in New York City.
Sinatra used Patsy's like a dining room and kept his own table upstairs in the back. He loved the restaurant and the feelings were mutual. According to the New York Times, Patsy's owner Pasquale Scognamillo kept the restaurant open for Sinatra on Thanksgiving one year. Not wanting to hurt Sinatra's pride, Scognamillo didn't tell Sinatra that he was making an exception for him by staying open—he even had his employees and their families eat at the restaurant that day so that Sinatra wouldn't suspect anything. To celebrate Sinatra and his all-time favorite restaurant, here are five recipes inspired by some of his favorite dishes.
1. Artichokes Stuffed with Anchovies, Garlic and Mint
Patsy’s stuffed artichokes are filled with pungent flavors like black olives, capers and garlic, but the chefs knew to cut back on the garlic for Sinatra, a garlic hater until the end. In our recipe, feel free to adjust the garlic according to your preferences.
2. Arugula and Mint Salad
Sinatra’s favorite salad at Patsy’s was a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and basil. Our recipe swaps out basil for mint and gets a tangy hit of flavor from Dijon mustard.
3. Spicy Clams with Tomatoes
Sinatra loved Patsy’s Clams Posillipo, a simple dish of littleneck clams in a light tomato-basil sauce. This recipe originates in Sicily rather than Naples, but achieves the same bright and delicious flavors with a hit of spice from crushed red pepper.
4. Milanese Veal Cutlets
According to Salvatore Scognamillo, Patsy’s chef and co-owner, Sinatra liked his veal Milanese “paper thin.” Our recipe is extra-crispy and served on a bed of lettuce, tomato and basil.
5. Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
No dinner at Patsy’s was complete for Sinatra without a slice of the restaurant’s lemon ricotta torte. Our delicious cheesecake is an authentically grainy traditional Italian cheesecake rather than a smooth New York cheesecake. It’s incredible with a glass of limoncello.