I had a Gallo wine up for tasting last night (well, Ecco Domani, imported by Gallo), so it seemed only fair to cook the Southern Italian dish that mobster Joey Gallo was eating at Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy when his enemies did him in.

(For the record: No, of course Joey Gallo was no kin to the wine-making Gallos. I've just got a sick sense of humor ... )

Anyway ...

Open a can of scungilli (Italian conch, which is not really conch at all but a kind of whelk), drain, rinse, cut into bite-size pieces, and set aside in a dish. I like to marinate it in lemon juice for a while to reduce any residual canned flavor.

Dice fine one stalk of celery and half a smallish onion. Slice 2 or 3 garlic cloves paper-thin (don't be stingy with the garlic). Prepare a seasoning mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon basil (I substituted fresh basil and went with a little more than that).

Start some linguine to boiling.

Heat olive oil in a sautee pan and cook the garlic until it turns golden. Add a good shake of dried red-pepper flakes - although you don't want this to be curry-hot, it's one of the spicier Italian dishes, and you definitely want to be able to taste the peppers. Add in the celery and carrot and sautee until they start to soften. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and boil over medium-high heat until it's almost completely reduced. Stir in 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon tomato paste and the seasoning mix, and reduce heat to a simmer. A minute or two before it's ready to serve, add the scungilli and the seasoning mix and simmer just to warm through. Drain the linguine, add it to the pan, and cook just until it's all mixed together. Pour into bowls and serve with crusty bread and a salad.

It went pretty well with the Pinot Grigio, but it certainly would have stood up to a red wine, particularly a hearty, country-style Italian, Spanish or South-of-France red or the California equivalent.