A Father’s Day Tribute by Jasper Mirabile
By D’Ann Dreiling
“Father knows best”, says Jasper Mirabile, Jr., owner of Jasper’s Italian Restaurant, “and it was always ‘modo mio’ (my way). My dad cooked six days a week in his first restaurant at 75th and Wornall. On Sundays and holidays he cooked for the entire family, sometimes as many as 50 people. On Father’s Day, he would complain, ‘why me, it is my day’, and the family would laugh as dad took over the kitchen. He was always the chef and always my inspiration.”
Jasper Sr. had his ways and his dreams. When he opened the original restaurant in 1954, he depended on his parents, Leonardo and Josephine, and his wife Josephine, to help create the legendary restaurant now located at 1201 West 103rd Street.
“My father was one of a kind, he did things his way,” says Jasper. “He told me never to look at anyone else’s restaurant and recipes, that you always need to be creative.”
Jasper Jr. claims his favorite recipe of all the recipes in his cookbook, “Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook”, is the one his dad created. “It’s absolutely delicious! He named the recipe after his brother-in-law and friend, Fredrico DiMaggio. I’m happy to share this recipe in honor of my wonderful and incredible dad.
Bere mangiare e bene! (Eat and drink well!)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 whole chicken
- 6 Italian sausages each
- 1 medium onion, sliced into strips
- 3 green or red bell peppers, sliced into strips
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon each dried basil, tarragon, rosemary, and thyme
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup green peas
- 6 baby red potatoes, quartered
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the chicken into legs, thighs, breasts and wings and season with salt. Cut each piece of sausage into three. Preheat oven to 450ºF. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil, add chicken and sausage and brown for 10 minutes. Add onion and peppers and cook until onions are translucent. Transfer chicken, onion, peppers to a baking dish and add wine, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, dried herbs, and mushrooms. Cook in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Add potatoes and peas and cook another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8-10.
Think about serving with a side of rice or pasta or on a bed of mashed potatoes. Talk about delicious!