South Philadelphia's homespun Pesto Ristorante Italiano gets national attention Monday, Oct. 26.
Chef-owner Giovanni "John" Varallo and his daughter Maria will cook on the Rachael Ray Show (10 a.m., 6ABC) in what Ray's camp is billing as a Little Italy Showdown, to honor Ray's Italian heritage. The Varallos are competing against neighborhood-style Italian restaurants from New York and San Francisco.
Naturally, the results are a secret - a fact that is simply killing John's wife, Concetta, who is among the chattiest folks I know. "Oh, I wish I could tell you," she said.
John and Maria will make his cavatelli topped with lobster, crab, and shrimp and served in a rose blush sauce. The Varallos sell a lot of the dish at their old-school restaurant across from St. Agnes at 1915 S. Broad St. It opened in 2003, following the 10-year run of the couple's Io E Tu Ristorante at Ninth and Tasker Streets.
Also featured on Monday's show will be YouTube food guy Daym Drops and a bona-fide Italian nonna identified only as Tina, brought in to help judge.