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Joseph R. Gannascoli plays the character of Vito Spatafore. His character role has been expanding steadily since he can on the scene as Vito in February 2000, in the second season episode "The Happy Wanderer". Joe's character has always been one of the more entertaining ones. Who could forget when he shot Jackie Aprile, Jr. and in season 5, Vito's dirt little secret was finally revealed when Finn accidentally caught Vito in the construction site parking lot, with the security guard, looking for his keys.

Joseph R. Gannascoli, besides The Sopranos, starred in VH-1's Celebrity Fit Club, recently married the love of his life, Diana, and in January 2006, his mystery novel, "A Meal to Die For" was released with positive reviews. The large print hardcover edition, will be released on May 10, 2006.

An updated interview with Joseph R. Gannascoli who plays the character of "Vito Spatafore" from The Sopranos

Joseph R. Gannascoli


What day is your birthday?


Your first role in The Sopranos, was the character Gino, who accidentally walked into the bakery when Christopher Moltisanti was menacing the bakery clerk, how does it feel looking back, not realizing that that had been your big break?

I really didn’t want to do the role, I had to be talked into it. Casting said that I should do it, this show is going to be big.

It’s been a while since your last interview with Soprano, what other projects have you been working on besides the Sopranos?

I have been shooting a pilot for a new show, “Foodfellas” with Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy) and Tony Darrow (Larry Boy Barese). Also, I recently came out with a food line which includes several different pasta sauces, as part of the food line. To complement this food line, I also have special vintage of wine, which will include Chablis and a robust red wine. For outdoor chefs, a have developed a tangy barbeque sauce. We also have an olive oil which contains herbs and spices, perfect for dipping bread. And of course, my new book, “A Meal to Die For”.

How has your experience with VH-1 Celebrity Fit Club changed your life?

It hasn’t changed my life. I found it embarrassing being on a reality show. I despised it. The good thing was that I won a lot of prizes, got paid and lost 42 pounds on show.

Playing the character of a gay mobster, has this given you any insight to many of the obstacles that gay people experience on a daily basis? Do you think that your role as a gay character will change the public’s awareness and perception on this subject?

I don’t have any idea what they go though. I don’t think my portrayal will change anything. I never had a problem playing the gay character of Vito Spatafore. Playing a gay, I am playing a character who is the total opposite of what I am. I never had a problem playing a gay character, it was a challenge. There are gays in every walk of life.

You recently wrote a new book, “A Meal to Die for” with Allen C. Kupfer, and it has been said that is a biographical fictional story based on your life, can you give us some examples from the book where there are similarities?

We both dreamed of a being a great chef and we both gambled that’s way I became an actor.

As a kid I was a food fence, there were always guys who were ambitious. They would come up with creative and very different schemes to make money. It wasn’t unusual for them to peddle phony and stolen food.

The main character, “Benny” what did he do before he was involved with the food industry, did he hold any unusual jobs?

No, he was probably originally going to school to be a lawyer

Page 147 you have a recipe for that chapter which includes the ingredient Periatelli with sardines, what exactly is this and where can a reader purchase it if they are interested in re creating this recipe?

Periatelli is hollow spaghetti, which is served on St. Joseph ’s Day. As a kid, I grew up eating it.

You’ve owned several restaurants in the past, one of which I fondly remember, “Soup as Art”. Do you have any future plans for another, possibly a family restaurant with you lovely wife Diana?

I would like to open one up in long island and call it Gannascoli’s. I definitely see myself having a restaurant in the future.

In the book, several of the fictional restaurants mentioned have some ties with organized crime, in reality yes this is probably true, but does the involvement also include the top echelons sending a consultant in to evaluate the actual management of the restaurant. This would include an consultants report on how to help the restaurants maximize its profit potential?

Without a doubt, they have there on bookkeepers they send it to do audits. It is common for the purveyors to pay a kick backs.

Is there a sequel to this book presently in the works?

I am starting to think about it right know I’d like to see this one turned into a movie and yes I could see a squeal

I recently tasted the pasta sauce you are co marketing for the book, “A sauce to die for”, what is the secret ingredient which makes it so tasty?

A dry Sherry

Can you give us a recipe for those special biscotti that Benny serves?

It is essentially a twice baked cookie.

3 eggs
1/2 cup hazelnut or vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil; add sugar and continue beating 5 minutes until mixture is thick and pale. Fold in nuts. Sift flour with baking powder. Add to egg mixture and mix using wooden spoon or hands. Shape dough into 2 logs about 3 x 10-inches. Arrange on cookie sheet. Using a wet spatula, flatten top and smooth sides of logs. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden.

Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Let logs cool on cookie sheets about 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2 inch slices using serrated knife. Arrange slices flat on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes longer, until surface is dry and crisp. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Interested in the book, order it here from Amazon.

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