A Mastery of Italian Flavors on Beat Bobby Flay

Find out what happened when Bobby and his chef competitor faced off in a meatball battle on Beat Bobby Flay.
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Photo by: Stephen Davis Phillips ©Copyright sdp photography

Stephen Davis Phillips, Copyright sdp photography

From Dark Horse Wine — Bet on the Dark Horse

When you think of Bobby Flay's signature cuisine, you likely picture the flavors of the American Southwest — fresh and dried chiles, of course — or perhaps a perfect taco or the juiciest of burgers. What you're likely not imagining are old-school Italian-American favorites, like meatballs and pasta. But in true Flay fashion, Bobby wasn't fazed by the announcement of meatball sandwiches being the challenge dish in Round 2 during tonight's new episode of Beat Bobby Flay. After his competitor, Chef Rodney Murrillo, declared it his signature dish, Bobby quickly jumped into action and began working on his components, though his experienced rival remained a potential dark horse.

"I've been making these meatballs forever," Rodney declared of his three-meat recipe. He was set on using the pressure cooker to achieve a just-right texture in the allotted 45 minutes of cooking, "'cause you want a meatball to be soft," he told guest Alex Guarnaschelli, who was wowed by the unusual choice. When it came to Rodney's other sandwich fixings, he had thoughtful reasons for the ingredients he chose, like his focaccia and caciocavallo cheese. "I want something that is going to give me a nice herb crust," he said of the bread, adding later that the caciocavallo is "going to add sharp flavor." But despite Rodney's careful picks, the guests worried about his plan and how it would stand up to Bobby's. "Bobby's going to go more of the traditional route, and then maybe Rodney tries to make something that's way too fancy," John Colaneri of HGTV's Kitchen Cousins said. "Now I'm getting a little nervous."

It turns out that John had good reason to be nervous, because when it came time for the judges to sample both dishes, they indeed noted how untraditional Rodney's sandwich was. "This wasn't my regular grandma meatball sandwich," said sandwich shop owner Nick Defonte, though Chef Kristin Sollenne was pleased for that very reason. "I love that the chef was innovative with this dish and gave me something that I wasn't expecting," she said. Ultimately, however, Rodney fell to Bobby, who told Rodney, "I didn't think I was going to get that one."

Tune in to Beat Bobby Flay on Thursdays at 10|9c.

Dark Horse is a collection of bold wines crafted by renegade winemaker Beth Liston, who constantly experiments with different grapes and new winemaking techniques to create exceptional wines that deliver the unexpected. Dark Horse offers seven varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Big Red Blend, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and NEW Limited Release Rosé.

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