Preparing a traditional Italian family meal was the challenge on this week's episode of Rocco's Dinner Party, and Rocco brought the Italians to the table. Dinner guests tonight included Caroline Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and her husband, Albert, as well as Joey Fatone, former 'N Sync heartthrob, and a few other lesser known Italian personalities.
Poor Ninamarie, one of the three chefs competing and the only non-Italian there tonight, was up against Italian brothers Fabrizio and Nicola, who were as Italian as you can get. She did beat them both in the initial signature dish challenge and sent Nicola home, but she didn't stand much of a chance against Fabrizio in the long run once things went all Italian.
He was arrogant all the way, and scoffed at her techniques:
"Mayonnaise for chicken? Mayonnaise? That is not Italian food," he said.
Honestly I thought her dishes were better received for the most part by the guests, but he got points for accommodating the guest who was on a low-carb diet (Sara Gore, host of Open House). Ninamarie kind of forgot about her, which may have been her ultimate downfall. It's too bad too, because so far in three weeks not one woman has won, and it would have been nice to see Fabrizio taken down a notch.
Rocco loved Fabrizio's meatballs -- and everyone knows Rocco's mother makes "the best" meatballs -- so that may have been the final thing to tip the scale.
The guests had a good time, and it's always good to see the Manzos together. They're still so clearly in love, and when they talked about their first dates in Little Italy, it was touching. Caroline even got Joey to call her daughter, Lauren, and make her former tween dream come true -- a call from Joey! Now that's a memorable meal.
Overall, the chefs served up two stellar dinner parties with an assortment of great dishes for inspiration. The ones I most want to try to duplicate: Ninamaire's asparagus with figs and pancetta or Fabrizio's panna cotta with coffee.
Finally, was it me, or was Rocco a lot nicer to the chefs this week? Let's hope that's a trend.
Did you watch Rocco's Dinner Party this week? What were your favorite dishes?
Image via bravotv.com