Named FDNY Fire Chaplain and a cookbook released in April 2022
It’s one success after another for Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In February, he was named chaplain for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). A fire chaplain’s role is to provide spiritual, personal, and grief counseling, conduct funerals and officiate weddings when needed, and other forms of support for FDNY staff and families.
“I am very honored and humbled to be part of one of the greatest fire departments in the country,” Gigantiello said in a statement. “The fires I will put out will not be the fires that destroy buildings and take lives, they will be the fires of suffering and loss.”
Gigantiello became one of eight chaplains to serve the 17K firefighters working for the FDNY. He was sworn in by Daniel Nigro, the FDNY Commissioner at the time. It was Nigro’s last official act as commissioner before his retirement. Gigantiello’s sister and brother were in attendance.
“[Fire chaplains are] with us on our good days and they tell us this is a blessing from God, and on our most dark days they’re with families and tell them despite a tragedy that God will remain with them,” Nigro said. “it’s just so valuable to the department, I couldn’t picture the department existing without chaplains.”
According to the Brooklyn Paper, this isn’t Gigantiello’s first rodeo in serving as a chaplain. He is also chaplain of New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), transit and corrections officers, plus local chapters of the Knights of Columbus, the Columbiettes, and Lions Club.
But his skill extends far beyond being a priest and counselor as chaplain. Before becoming the monsignor he is today, Gigantiello graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and was a chef for 10 years. His passion for cooking has led him to earn the titles of professional chef, TV star, and author of a new recipe book.
In April, Gigantiello released his cookbook full of meals from his TV show Breaking Bread on NET TV. Some of the dishes he cooks on his show include farfalle primavera, chicken quesadillas, and bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed shrimp.
All proceeds made from the cookbook will go to the Emmaus Center (288 Berry Street), a new performing and visual arts center dedicated to Catholic evangelization, of which Gigantiello is the chairman. You can purchase the book here: emmauspress.com
“Besides sharing my recipes with people, the book reminds us how important it is to sit down with family and friends to share a meal together. It’s not just about the food and sharing a meal together but about spending quality time with people you care about and sharing life’s ups and downs,” said Gigantiello.
Linguini and Clam Sauce
“I first met Judge Patricia DiMango about fifteen years ago when we were both involved with the Cathedral Club in Brooklyn. I asked Patricia to join me to make her linguini with clam sauce, a dish that we first made years ago after a group of us had gone clamming in the Hamptons. The meal was so memorable that I wanted her to share it with our viewers. So for this recipe we switched roles—she presided over the cooking, and I became the judge of her meal.”
36 fresh manila clams, or 1 to 2 10-ounce cans of unseasoned chopped clams
14 or 15 additional fresh manila clams (optional)
1 pound linguini
Extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
- If you are making fresh clams, cover the bottom of a large pot with water. Add the 36 fresh clams (or the canned clams), cover, and steam for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shells open. Take them out of the shell and chop. Discard any that don’t open, and keep the broth they cooked in.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the linguini until it is al dente, then drain and set aside.
- In a pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic in olive oil until fragrant and brown. Then season with the crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Add ½ cup of water and the additional 14 or 15 whole clams to the pan, discarding any that don’t open as they cook. Note: You can omit these whole clams, in which case omit steps 4–7 and proceed to step 8.
- As the whole clams start to open, add ½ cup reserved clam broth (from step 1) to the pan.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice from a fresh lemon over the pan, if desired.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped clams from step 1 as well as the remaining broth (or the canned clams, their juices, and a little water if necessary). Simmer until hot.
- Add the cooked linguini to the pan and sauté.
- Garnish with ½ cup of parsley. You can also add fresh lemon juice and/or Parmesan for added flavor.