In the Rancic household, every month is National Pasta Month. Rigatoni, farfalle, spaghetti, red sauce or cream sauce, E! News host and Fashion Police team member Giuliana Rancic and husband Bill will eat it all. And it’s not just a meal, it’s an event.
“We make it a real experience,” Giuliana said.
Think family, friends and an actual table with great conversation, a throwback in the age of TV and takeout. The couple shared tips on how to celebrate National Pasta Month like a Rancic this October.
Giuliana, a lot of people may not know you’re first generation Italian. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Giuliana: I was born in Naples, Italy. I moved to America when I was about seven years old. One of the first words I heard as a child and continue to hear is mangia, which means to eat. Eating pasta is a really big part of being Italian. My parents are staying with us in Chicago and when I walked in the door, within five seconds my mom was like, “The food is getting cold!” Eating in Italy is not just a necessity, it’s an event.
Bill, what are some of the differences you’ve discovered between Italian and American eating habits since marrying Giuliana?
Bill: I just read in an article that Italian families are 80 percent more likely to set the table versus 10 percent of the families in America. It’s all about spending time with the family, connecting with the family. That’s really the Italian family.
Is there a meal that really pops?
Giuliana: My mom makes this delicious pasta that we make at our restaurant called Mama DePandi’s bucatini pomodoro, which is delicious. That’s the thing about it’s very simple. People are always like, “It’s the best pasta we’ve ever had in a restaurant.” It doesn’t have many ingredients. My favorite is the farfalle with spinach and cream sauce. The other one we make a lot is the rigatoni alla vodka.
Bill: My favorite is Bertolli’s rigatoni with a spicy sausage. It’s so easy to cook. You open the bag, pour it in the skillet and 10-12 minutes later you’re eating this beautiful pasta.
Giuliana: It’s hard these days balancing it all. We are so busy. When we come home at the end of the day we don’t want to sit in an hour cooking.
Sometimes, after a long day or week at work, people want to go out and have someone else cook for them. What are some of your favorite places to eat Italian when you’re in New York?
Bill: We love one on the Upper East Side, Scalinatella. It’s a little 50-60-seat restaurant. The owners are from Capri, Italy where we got married. We like going there. It’s very quaint, they have a great wine list, they have great pasta.
What are some of your favorite wines with pasta?
Bill: We never met a wine we didn’t like.
Giuliana: We love red. It depends, too. With the farfalle I’d probably do a white [because of] the cream sauce but we’re more red wine drinkers.
Bill: Leonello is a great wine, Gaja.
Giuliana: Xo, G, my wine. <laughs> We always have wine on the table.