MasterChef Legends: Time to make the pasta

I have to admit that the last few weeks, MasterChef Legends has actually been living up to its name. First came confectionary master Sherry Yard and that was followed Michael “Mr. Steak” Mina. Quite an improvement over Curtis Stone and She Who Shall Not Be Named Because I Won’t Waste My Time.

This week MasterChef saw the arrival of Nancy Silverton. Now, anyone who read any of my coverage of Tournament of Champions knows how much I admire and respect Silverton. She is one of the true greats of Italian cuisine and better yet, she knows how to put judge Joe Bastianich in his place.

So if you are going to have a legend like Nancy Silverton as a judge on your cooking competition, you better not waste time cooking chicken or some vegan mess. No, this was the week to make everything about pasta. How to cook it and more importantly, how to make it from scratch.

This is one case where the fact these are home cooks really doesn’t matter. If you consider yourself a decent cook, decent enough to be on a show like MasterChef, then you damn well better know how to make pasta using nothing but eggs, flour and water. It’s one of the simplest things to learn how to make yet one with endless possibilities.

This prize on this episode of MasterChef Legends was one of the best yet.

To the winner goes not just a guaranteed place in the Top 10, but also dinner for two at the Los Angeles restaurant co-owned by Bastianich and Silverton.

Now, right out of the gate some of the home cooks really got on my nerves. That’s because as soon as any contestant on a cooking competition hears the word “pasta” and they have any slightest sliver of Italian heritage, they think they have this in the bag.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here. The judges repeated several times that the key to making a successful pasta dish was to keep things simple and not everyone heeded that advice. Including one contestant who practically threw down his Italian gauntlet.

But before we find out who went home, we need to see who embraced the pasta challenge and thrived as a result. It came down to Anne’s pappardelle with pancetta, Autumn and her amazing looking lemon ricotta and beet tortellini with white wine and leek sauce and Kelsey’s tagliatelle with lobster. In a surprise move at the behest of Silverton, Lexi made the Top 3 the Top 4 with her lasagna with Italian sausage.

In the end it was Autumn who came away with the win and a guaranteed spot in the Top 10. This was her first win and she is turning into a cook to watch. She definitely has skills and could easily walk away with the top prize.

That left Miles and his pesto fettuccine, Alejandro and his tagliatelle Pomodoro with octopus (WTF?) and finally Michael and his gnocchi with lobster and pancetta at the bottom. Michael was way too overconfident going into the challenge so seeing him staring at elimination was a nice bit of karma.

But the cook who was sent home was Miles, which was a bit of a shock. He had shown some real talent in the previous challenges and I had him pegged to go much further. Just shows that even a frontrunner can be shown the door if they have a bad challenge.

MasterChef Legends now has its Top 10 and next week Jonathan Waxman, the definition of a culinary legend, arrives to help send another home cook packing.

What did you think Guilty Eats Nation? Did you think Miles deserved to go home? Or should it have been Michael? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.