Anyway, Carla served minestrone soup with basil oil, tomatoes, and homemade focaccia. Bourdain thinks it walked the line between old and new very well, but one of the diners thinks it's a soup you could find in Wisconsin. That statement outrages Lorraine Bracco. Wisconsin? They don't have good Italian food in Wisconsin! It's all cheese and bratwurst and football out there! Tiffany serves polenta terrine with Italian sausage, roasted peppers, and kale. Colicchio points out that she called it Italian sausage, whereas real Italians just call it sausage. Jeez, what is with the Italians and their need to prove how Italian they are all the time! Annoying. They all love the polenta (or as Frankie No calls it "polenda"). Antonia made mussels with fennel, white whine, garlic, and parsley ciabatta. The judges find that it is confident and brings up warm family memories, and they can't stop eating it. Colicchio has to tell yet another story about his family. Great story, Colicchio.
Meanwhile, the primi group of Mike, Dale, and Tre start cooking. Tre thinks his flavor profile is tight and he wants to emphasize the vegetables. Mike is worried about making his pasta; you have to cook fresh pasta last minute, or it will crack, but his pasta isn't finished and there are only a few minutes left. Will he make it? Mr. Italian-American?
Mike serves spicy calamari, fresh rigatoni in tomato sauce. The judges note that the pasta is undercooked, and Junior reports that he did tell them that they could use dried pasta. If Mike had, he'd be a lot better off, although I do wonder if Colicchio would have called him on it, since he was mad previously about someone using canned beans. Dale made fresh pasta, pancetta, Brussels sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms, pecorino romano. The judges don't like that there's no sauce and nothing to pull the components together. They figure that he cooked everything separately and then just tossed it together at the end. Dale mentioned that he cooks this dish for his girlfriend and Lorraine cracks that her boyfriend wouldn't get laid for that dish. Oh, ho ho ho. You are so bawdy, Lorraine Bracco. Tre made grilled vegetable risotto, marinated tomatoes and fresh basil. The judges think that he focused too much on the vegetables, and the rice suffered for it. Bourdain says it's a dish you would use to cover up a body. In fact, Bourdain is outraged at the group overall for fucking up the pasta course completely.
Finally, the secondi group starts cooking. Blais points out that Fabio always looks like he's not going to finish on time, and Fabio even admits that he might not have left himself enough time. Angelo wants Fabio's approval for his food, because he doesn't really feel comfortable cooking so traditionally. I have to say, Fabio's chicken looks amazing, and it does get finished on time.