Italophile chowhounds know the phrase fare la scarpetta (“to make the little shoe”), which describes the act of mopping the plate with a morsel of bread to punctuate the end of a meal. So enamored are Italians with the magic that happens when crusty bread meets tangy ragù, in fact, that they have another word for it: cuzzetiello. Cuzzetiello, according to our Italian sauce-sopping consultant, is Neapolitan for plunging the hollowed-out heel of a rustic loaf (called a cafone) into the pot of Sunday sauce when Nonna isn’t looking. A few years ago, fast-casual gastropreneurs took to the streets of Naples riffing on the tradition, cramming half-loaves with all manner of saucy foodstuffs. And now, you can get this street-food-inspired cuzzetiello in New York at the new Mani in Pasta pizza kiosk, where Giuseppe Manco is stuffing sturdy housemade cafone the way cartoon bank robbers stuff greenbacks into sacks marked $$$. Of the three fillings—including Philly cheesesteak and eggplant parm—we’re partial to the meatball with smoked provola cheese. It’s suitably saucy but surprisingly neat—a meatball sub as sturdy and leakproof as a submarine. (At the Deco Food and Drink, 239 W. 39th St., nr. Seventh Ave.)
*A version of this article appears in the January 20, 2020, issue of New York Magazine.