(CNN) - Just hours after President Barack Obama's formal nomination of Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense, Hagel joined current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon for dinner.
In Tuesday afternoon's briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little reaffirmed Panetta's support for the former senator from Nebraska. When asked for details on the dinner between Panetta and Hagel, Little tried side stepping with a listing of the dinner's menu that included "corn chowder, filet mignon, and chocolate cake."
He did not comment on the content of the discussion between the two leaders.
"It was more Midwestern themed with a little more steak and corn than Italian this go around," Little quipped - perhaps a sly reference to Panetta's recent remarks in an Esquire magazine interview that should he dine with North Korea's new leader, he'd wow him with some Italian.
"The one thing I make pretty good is gnocchi," Panetta told Esquire. "If I were inviting Kim Jong Un over for dinner, I'd make him a plate of gnocchi. We'd have a glass of wine. And basically I'd try to understand: What's his thinking?"
The one-on-one meeting with Hagel was a chance for Panetta to express his support prior to the Senate's confirmation process. In the coming weeks, Hagel will receive numerous briefings on all things Pentagon, from the budgetary process to current force structure and capabilities, Little said.