Can I Still Cook Like a Top Chef? Pasta Dough

Another week, another pasta dish. I had to post this recipe for fresh pasta, after Xavier made his pasta dough without Tipo “00” flour. The importance of using this Italian flour is paramount for the outcome of the dish. Tipo “00” flour is finer than all-purpose and offers a softer less elastic-like dough. Being an Italian flour, the percentage of gluten is not published on the package, as is is on North American flours. The “00” stands for how finely the flour is milled and how much of the germ and bran have been removed. In Canada you find Tipo “00” at your local grocery store.

The high stakes quick fire challenge, had the chefs make two dishes of macaroni and cheese for pop singer Keshia Chante. (This is where I would usually make a comment about how random her visit to the Top Chef kitchen was, but the visitors get weirder as the episode progresses). It was a pretty boring challenge, but I did notice how tired Carl seems. When asked why he picked lobster for his “at home” mac and cheese dish, he couldn’t really give an answer. All he said was, because it was a protein and it was available. I hope he wakes up for next weeks episode.

This week the chefs were challenged to make a six course Italian feast for their guest judge, Chef Lidia Bastianich. I felt for Trevor, the poor guy messed up on his dessert last week, and he gets stuck with the “dolce” course yet again.

With the chefs cooking in McEwan’s Fabricca restaurant, they needed more than four people to serve to, so they invited every Italian-Canadian with some exposure to the feast. Alright I get Chef Lorenzo Loseto, he’s Italian and knows food, but Rick “The Temp” and actor Carlo Rota? All they had to offer was a disgusted scoff and how much Jonathan’s dish would be great after a night of drinking.

In the end Xavier got sent home for his poorly executed and over salty pasta. I felt like Xavier had a bad attitude this week, I get he doesn’t like Italians, because of the whole soccer thing, and I don’t think that is what affected his dish. I feel his French nationalism was getting in the way, he was so focused on his way of cooking he forgot it was an Italian cuisine challenge. When you make Italian pasta, the key ingredient is the Tipo “00” flour, which Xavier’s dish lacked.

Fresh Pasta
3 cups of Tipo “00” flour
6 large eggs

1. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre
2. Crack the eggs into the centre, and beat the eggs until smooth.
3. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour a little at a time.
4. Once it is all combined knead the dough together until smooth. (you can do this in the bowl, but I recommend on a floured counter top)
5. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Rolling the Dough:
*If you don’t have a pasta machine, that’s okay, you can roll your dough with a regular pastry rolling pin. Roll in a rectangle shape and as thin as possible on a floured surface. (you may have to do this in a couple of batches)*

1. Lightly flour your work surface with flour and set your machine to the widest setting. Take a lump of the dough (about the size of an orange) and roll it through the machine. (if it sticks lightly flour the dough)
2. Click the machine down one setting and roll the dough through again. Fold the pasta in half and repeat about six or seven times. (What this is does, is it works the dough, so you’ll have soft and smooth pasta)
3. Roll through the machine on all the settings, from the widest to the narrowest. Make to lightly flour the pasta each time you put it through the machine.
4. Once the pasta is rolled out, shape or cut it right away.

The Results:
I must admit the task of making fresh pasta seemed daunting and time consuming, but it was a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be. The pasta was light and fluffy, and had a great taste.

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