Fuhget about discussing the city’s culinary scene without mentioning Italian food. But good luck getting anyone to agree on where to find the best. Enter Ronzoni’s La Sagra Slices, which throws down the gauntlet to over two dozen chefs to battle it out for the best pizza and meatballs.
There’s something for the home cooks, too. You’re already familiar with the Bongiovi family’s most famous product, singer Jon Bon Jovi, who will be in attendance to launch his father’s new line of pasta sauces.
Ahead of the big cookoff, we let a few of the participating chefs brag about what they do best — then give props to a fellow chef. Plan your next outing accordingly.
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Danny Ye, Harlow
What dish do you do really well?
One dish that stands out is the cauliflower. As a side dish, it gets marginalized but it is special because of its simplicity and it introduces Asian flavors to our diners. The cauliflower is crisped up with the aid of potato starch and then tossed with a spicy Korean miso, cilantro and roasted sesame seeds.
Recommendation: The spaghetti carbonara at Mario Batali’s Otto. It is absolutely special because it is a dish that is often screwed up.Everything about Otto's carbonara lives up to what it’s supposed to be. It’s also cheap on the menu and for me it’s a diamond in the rough.
Ryan Hardy, Charlie Bird
What dish do you do really well?The gnocchi rosa is one of our most famous dishes and the most surprising to our guests — on the surface, it appears to be the token “vegetarian”pasta dish that somehow always shows up on menus. We never put something on the menu with that in mind! Rather this dish was an inspiration from my mother-in-law who grew up in Campagna, Italy, just outside Napoli.The dish is ricotta gnocchi that are light as air with special tomatoes from Abruzzo.
Recommendation: If you’re looking for New York-style pizza, it has to be the margherita at Lucali’s in Carroll Gardens.
The romance of the room, watching Mark roll out the dough with a wine bottle and the crispy crust all combine to make magic. If it’s Neopolitan style – it has to be Franny’s clam pizza in Park Slope. The cream, the clams and the chiles are magic in chewy shell.
Joey Campanaro, The Little Owl
What dish do you do really well?Since we opened The Little Owl back in 2006, one of the most popular orders has been our gravy meatball sliders. People just go crazy for them, and I think it is because they are simple and well executed.
Recommendation:I am completelyobsessed with the zucchini, toasted almonds and pecorino at my boy Jimmy Bradley’s place, The Red Cat.When I first started cooking with Jimmy, it was a dish I could never perfect no matter how many times I attempted. He took it off once and I threw such a fit that he put it back on the menu. I can never replicate it so I will never let him take it off the menu.
Mike Cariglio, Nicoletta
What dish do you do really well?Pizza! We make the dough every day, allowing it to mature for 48 to 72 hours before we use it. We have been using the same sourdough starter for over two years now. Pizza is special to me; I started making pizzas as far back as I can remember and eating pizza since I could chew.
Recommendation: Gnocchi pomodoro at Frank in the East Village; my wife and I eat there often and love everything including the wine. I absolutely love this place; it reminds me of Sunday dinners at home.
Ronzoni’s La Sagra Slices
Oct. 16, 7 p.m.
Esurance Rooftop,Pier 92
$125, must be 21+