Giuliana Rancic is a big fan of tailgating at home — or as she likes to call it, “home-gating” — for football games. The bubbly TV personality and restaurateur gave The Daily Meal the inside scoop on her favorite NFL team growing up, who she roots for now, and her favorite foods to make and eat during games, as well as explaining how important her home-gating community is to her and her family.
Rancic currently resides in Chicago with her husband Bill and her son Duke, where they own two restaurants (RPM Italian and RPM Steak). Living in the Windy City has been a game-changer for Rancic, who was formerly a fan of the team based in Washington, D.C.
“When I moved to America from Italy when I was a little girl, my uncle had season passes to the Redskins, and so that was my first football game — [growing up] I was a big Redskins fan.”
She credits her husband, entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Rancic, with getting her invested in the Chicago Bears by taking her to many games.
“We’ve gone to so many of the games and gotten to know some of the players and some of the people behind the scenes of the Bears, and they’re just such warm lovely people. We’ve had such a great time at the games. We love rooting for them, so now I’m definitely a Bears fan.”
Rancic even mentioned that her 5-year-old son Duke gets in on the fun. “He loves the games, he watches football with Daddy, especially while I’m getting everything ready,” she said.
When it comes to football and food, Rancic and her family have their own special twist on their tailgating menu.
“It’s not the most traditional home-gating food that you can think of,” she told us.
“You would think burgers, sausage, hot dogs, that kind of thing — and we do that, but we also do pasta at my house. I am Italian and I was taught by the best, my mom, Mama DePandi. So my mom makes the most incredible bucatini pomodoro with the most simple delicious tomato sauce, so it’s a very southern Italian dish.”
She also added that they often drink prosecco, “Because I love prosecco.”
Rancic says her houseguests love the non-traditional menu, and for good reason: Mama DePandi’s Bucatini Pomodoro has been the No. 1 menu item at RPM Italian every single night since its opening. “So when people come over they’re like, yeah, yeah, I know we’re having burgers and stuff for this home-gaming thing, but where’s the pasta?” she joked.
At the end of the day, Rancic says that “home-gating,” even though it entails good food, is really about family, togetherness, and tradition.
“We just try to make a family and friend event out of a game. Some of my fondest memories growing up were hanging out with my cousins on the weekend when the game was on. Kind of just all being together, something that would bring us all together I think that’s what is special about football games. So whether you’re an actual huge fan of the game or not, just the tradition is nice.”
Craving a big bowl of pasta now but can’t get your own Mama DePandi’s? Check out these 16 delicious pasta dishes.