From the Chef: A Downtown Mobster Meal

By Mark Marques

To Celebrate the Downtown Las Vegas, I am doing an ode to how Vegas started. To the one thing that no one talks about, but is always there… Family!
Also, downtown Las Vegas has always been a unique and fantastic playground for adults. The style and sophistication of yesteryear are still present, but also being updated. I think downtown Las Vegas is in the midst of a great climb from where they were and and it is through togetherness and supporting each other that this is being done, to me the definition of family.  I created some recipes for a large gatherings, for family members; be it family from bloodlines, or the ties that bind friends together to become family. Enjoy these recipes with a large group of people, share in great conversation, good drinks, and enjoy life, as one should.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me here at The Informer Las Vegas or at

Golden Martini

(As will all recipes, read thoroughly and have all ingredients ready.) 


  • 2 shots Ketel One Vodka
  • 2 shots Goldschlager Schnapps
  • 1 shot Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • ½ shot Dry Vermouth
  • Ice cubes


In a Martini Glass, place ice cubes and water. Set aside. In a shaker cup with a lid, place several ice cubes, the Vodka, Schnapps, Bourbon and Vermouth. Shake well. Drain water and ice from Martini glass and strain the Golden Martini into the Chilled Martini Glass. Garnish with a large Cinnamon Stick or serve as is. Enjoy.

Antipasto Salad

(As with all recipes, read thoroughly and have all ingredients ready.) 


  • 1/2 pound Hard Salami cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 pound Pepperoni cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 pound Mortadella cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 pound Cappacolla cut into thin strips
  • 1 pound Provolone diced
  • 1 16 oz. jar Marinated Artichokes in Oil (Save Oil for salad)
  • 1 12 oz. jar Kalamata Olives pitted and drained
  • ½ large Red Onion cut into large dice
  • 1 16 oz. jar Mild or Hot Pepperoncini Peppers drained
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 cup seeded and diced Cucumber
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, and mix well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Stir again prior to serving. Serves 10-15.  Enjoy.

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

(As with all recipes, read thoroughly and have all ingredients ready.)

This recipe is for a large family gathering and will serve 10-15 people 


  • 5 links Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 5 links Hot Italian Sausage
  • 4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 16 oz. containers of Ricotta Cheese
  • 5 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Garlic Minced
  • ½ cup Fresh Basil finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Oregano minced
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if you can get them)
  • 1 8 oz. can Tomato Paste
  • 1 16 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Black Pepper (fresh ground)
  • 2 boxes Barilla Penne Pasta


In a large sauce pan over medium heat, place olive oil and sauté ¼ cup of garlic for 5 minutes, add in tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add in Tomato Sauce and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and let cook for ½ hour. While sauce is cooking, continue on.

In a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat, place sausage links in the pan with 1 inch of water and cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat simmer for 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Once they are cooled, slice in half, length wise, then cut into half-moons about ¼ inch thick. Set aside. Turn oven on to 350 and pre-heat.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together both containers of ricotta with the 5 eggs, ¼ cup of garlic, ¼ cup of basil, ¼ cup of parsley, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and mix thoroughly. Add in 3 cups of Shredded Mozzarella, mix well and set aside.

To the sauce, add in remaining ¼ cup of basil and the oregano. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

In a large pot filled with water, bring to a boil and cook pasta as directed to al dente. While pasta is cooking, in a Large Roasting Pan, place 1 cup of sauce on bottom of pan. When pasta is done, drain thoroughly and place pasta in roasting pan on top of sauce. Add in sausage pieces, and sauce, stir well. Add in Ricotta Cheese mixture and mix well. Top the pasta with remaining cup of cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and pasta is bubbly on the sides. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve.

Mark Marques

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas. Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.



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