Mafia Pasta Sauce Convo Sends Reputed Boss Michael Mancuso to Prison

Posted on: August 1, 2023, 05:34h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2023, 01:26h.

Reputed Bonanno Mafia boss Michael “Mikey the Nose” Mancuso will be dining on prison food after a wiretapped conversation about pasta sauce helped land him in the soup.

Michael Mancuso, The Nose, Bonanno, Mafia
Michael “The Nose” Mancuso, above, in March 2022, will return to prison after conducting an illegal conversation about pasta sauce. (Image: Noah Goldberg/New York Daily News)

It wasn’t the nature of the conversation that got the New York Mafia man in hot water, but the person with whom he was having it.

Mancuso was released from prison in 2019 after serving 14 years for organizing the murder of Mafia associate Randolph Pizzolo. As part of his parole terms, “The Nose” was prohibited from contact with other convicted felons. And that included mundane conversations with them about cooking.

Are you gonna do the gravy today or make the sauce?” Mancuso asked alleged Colombo soldier Michael Uvino on Oct. 24, 2020, according to federal court documents.

“No, I’m making it in the morning … cause we’re not gonna eat early,” replied Uvino, who was convicted of racketeering charges in July. “What time you want to eat tomorrow?”

Mancuso responded, “I don’t care, five o’clock or so?”

Nose Out of Joint

This wasn’t the only conversation that landed Mancuso in the chow hall. “The Nose” had also been using his girlfriend’s Long Island eyeglass shop, Real Eyes Optical, to rendezvous with other wise guys, according to prosecutors. He had also been meeting suspected mafiosi at local restaurants, they added.

On Oct. 7, 2020, Mancuso attended the Salvatore’s of Elmont restaurant with Uvino, Colombo captain Vincent Ricciardo, convict David Del Franco, Gambino associate Vito Cortesiano, and convict Joseph Russo, federal prosecutors claimed.

Mancuso was named the official boss of the Bonanno family in 2013. At the time, he was in prison for the 2004 murder of Pizzolo, an associate of the family who had developed a reputation as a reckless, heavy-drinking liability. Mancuso was following the orders of then-boss Vincent Basciano when he arranged the hit.

Back in 1984, Mancuso was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his wife.

Mafia Recipe Book

Mancuso isn’t the only Mafia man known to have had a preoccupation with culinary matters. In the movie “Goodfellas,” dinner was always a “big thing” in prison, with a pasta course and then “a meat or a fish,” even if Vinnie famously used too many onions.

“Goodfellas” is based on the book, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family, by Lucchese associate turned informant Henry Hill. The character Pauly, who developed a technique for slicing garlic thinly with a razor blade, is based on the real-life Lucchese capo Paul Vario.

You also get a mean spaghetti with meatballs recipe in The Godfather.

Al Capone was reportedly very particular about what he ate and was known to rustle up stunning pasta with walnut sauce. His recipe is widely available online.

However, not everyone is thrilled about the Mafia’s association with Italian cuisine. In 2016, the Italian farmers’ organization Coldiretti called out foreign food manufacturers for employing Mafia nicknames to sell their Italian-style products. These included a range of sauces in the UK branded “Chilli Mafia,” a Napa Valley wine named “The Godfather,” and Belgium’s “Saucemaffioso” pasta sauce.

Coldiretti’s Sara Paraluppi described such products as “a double insult” to Italy.

“Global producers are marketing foreign products as Italian by linking them to the worst Italy has to offer, organized crime,” she scolded.