Il Gattopardo’s Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

The acclaimed southern Italian Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo shares two of his appetizer recipes from New York City fine dining restaurants IL Gattopardo and The Leopard at des Artistes just south of Harlem, NY. If you are from East Harlem or West Harlem, these fairly simple and quick tasty dishes will add an authentic touch of Italian to your Thanksgiving table.

Il Gattopardo’s “Sautéed Sicilian Sweet Shrimp with braised artichokes, organic frisee and oven-dried cherry tomatoes”

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 60-120 mins
  • Total Time: 85-120 mins (approx.)
  • Makes 4 servings


  • 20 medium-sized, peeled and deveined shrimp (preferably Sicilian shrimp or Santa Barbara shrimp)
  • 10 baby artichokes
  • 2 medium cloves of fresh garlic
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Oz yellow and red grape cherry tomatoes
  • Splash of white wine
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Organic Frisee to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and set on a baking sheet. Add a drizzle of EVOO, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of oregano. Set in convection oven at 200 degrees (F) for 1-2 hours. Set aside to cool. Peel, devein and rinse the shrimp; set aside Clean the artichokes in water, and split each one into four pieces (if there is any middle part, remove), and set in cold water. Finely chop the anchovies, garlic and parsley; place all in a bowl together. Drizzle 1 Tbsp EVOO in a sautee pan, and put on medium heat. Add the artichokes until golden brown. Add a splash of white wine. Add water if needed, to keep them moist. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a different sautee pan, add 1Tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Add the pesto (anchovies, garlic, and parsley). Let simmer uncovered for 15 seconds. Add the shrimp. Sautee at medium heat until the shrimps are cooked (1-2 mins). Add a splash of white wine. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Place the artichokes on a plate with the greens. Add the shrimps (5 per plate). Garnish with the oven dried cherry tomatoes.

The Leopard at des Artistes’ “Thanksgiving Crab Cake with Arrabiata sauce and wild greens”

Il Gattopardo’s dessert menu changes seasonally, with new dishes being added or deleted according to availability of fresh ingredients, but one of the desserts that always remains on the menu is the “Pastiera – Traditional Neapolitan Cheesecake”. Chef Vito creates his Pastiera filling from organic hard red spring wheat berries, which are high in protein, fiber and iron; they have a sweet, nutty chewiness, and the grains stay fluffy and distinct when cooked. The organic farming movement is also making wheat berries popular, as is the health food industry.

  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 mins
  • Total Time: 42 mins (approx.)
  • Makes 4 servings


  • 1 Lb crabmeat
  • 1 medium sized green zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp mayo
  • 1 Oz plain breadcrumbs
  • Bunch parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Oz Spicy tomato sauce
  • Greens to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Clean the crabmeat from the bones; set in a bowl. Peel the zucchini, and very finely chop the peeled skin. Add the chopped zucchini skin to the bowl with the crabmeat. Finely chop the parsley, and add to bowl. Add breadcrumbs, mayo, and egg to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix very well by hand, until there is a uniform consistency. Form 12 crab cakes, and set aside.

Place a large sautee pan (preferably non-stick), over medium heat, and add 2tbsp EVOO. Place the crab cakes on the hot pan, and brown on one side, flip and brown the other side. Place browned crab cakes on a baking sheet, and cook in the oven at 300 degrees (F) for 3 mins. Remove from oven, and place on paper-towel-lined serving dish (to absorb any excess oil.) Place the crab cakes on plates (3 per plate) with the spicy tomato sauce. Garnish with greens.

IL Gattopardo, 13-15 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019, and  and The Leopard at des Artistes, 1 West 67th St, New York, NY 10023,

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"The Clark Legacy Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark and their work," this post is made in partnership with Harlem Cultural Archives, get more at Harlem History.

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