Firefighter chef and contest spokesman Joe Bonanno showcased some of the pastas for The Saturday Early Show's viewers and invited them to cast their voter online at www.ronzoni.com.
The competition's sponsor, Ronzoni, will also donate money to the NYC Firefighters Burn Center Foundation and the Widows' and Children's Fund for each vote cast.
According to Bonanno, viewers can vote in three different categories: hot pasta dish, cold pasta dish and baked pasta dish. Bonanno brought three dishes (Penne Rigate with Summer Vegetables, Pasta Salad with Bacon and Red Roasted Peppers and Cilantro Spinach Stuffed Shells) for The Saturday Early Show to taste.
The eight final recipes were selected for their originality, flavor, appearance, nutrition profile and ease of preparation.
In the end, the winner in each category will be served to over 15,000 runners — making it the world's largest pasta feast.
Ronzoni chose firemen to participate in the contest because they often cook for large groups who need a lot of energy — just like marathon runners.