Weekly Dispatch From the Food-O-Sphere #2

On the Home Front
Making extruded pasta at home continues to be a failure.  I’ve tried no fewer than four pasta dough recipes ever since getting the KitchenAid attachment, and each time the pasta ends up having the texture of spaetzle – thick, gummy, and bland.  What was surprising was that one of the pasta recipes was the same dough that I used for rolled and cut pasta, which has always turned out fantastic.  Hopes were high this week when I found a recipe that uses cake flour, which supposedly would deliver a more delicate result.  And yet, whether I’m using semolina, all purpose flour, cake flour, or some combination of all three, the results are still disappointing.  I’ve cooked the pasta for short, medium, and long periods of time, with no change in the outcome. Calls for advice to the Twitterverse yielded nothing but cricket chirps, reinforcing my suspicion that Twitter is worth every penny of the subscription fee.

Regional Happenings
There’s a rumor flying around Philadelphia that a big-name chef is going to bring a “large, Italian market” to the area, with the most optimistic of sources thinking that Mario Batali himself is going to open an Eataly in Center City, although that seems unlikely.  Having gotten lost in the New York City version of same, I can say that having something like that would signal a tectonic shift in the Philadelphia food scene.  Still, even if it turns out to be based on the same concept, with a devotion to the highest quality Italian-sourced pasta, meats, and cheeses, and with on-site dining, I really don’t care who’s behind it, as long as their heart’s in it.  I think Craig LaBan may be getting the exclusive next week, or even this weekend.  If Marc Vetri is the name behind it, it gets my stamp of approval right out of the gate.