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Okie-Gnocchi: Local chef Chris Becker shares pasta expertise

Because October is Italian Heritage Month, I thought pasta would be an appropriate subject for this month’s Chef It Up column, and, in this market, the first name in pasta is chef Chris Becker.
by Dave Cathey Modified: October 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm •  Published: October 23, 2013

Yes, there are more Italian chefs with really good Italian restaurants in Oklahoma, but none of them — none — has more expertise or produces better pasta than the executive chef of culinary operations at the Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Arts.

Becker gained his expertise as any true paisan would expect it: repetition.

Pasta, you see, is extraordinarily simple to make. It calls for a modicum of ingredients. There is no secret code to follow or special incantations to recite. It’s flour, eggs, salt and patient, careful hands to make a dough, and perhaps some equipment to get a specific shape.

This is how it’s been done for centuries in Italy and spread all around the world. The difficulty in making pasta, aside from finding the time, usually comes down to handling the dough.

When you watch chef Becker handle dough, it’s clear he’s been well-trained. Even when he sprinkles a little flour on the work surface to roll the dough, Becker does it with style and aplomb. His hands treat the dough the way a mother handles her child — carefully, purposefully and with 100 percent adoration. This man loves his work, and it shows in the result.

Becker’s passion for pasta began at Lupa then continued at Del Posto in New York. He eventually ran the pastaria at Del Posto, which is regarded among the finest Italian restaurants in the United States. But then boy met girl from Oklahoma, and Del Posto owners Mario Batali and John Bastianich were left to find another pasta impresario.

New York’s loss was our gain, and on top of running the various restaurant concepts at Francis Tuttle’s Rockwell campus, Becker is celebrating two years in business as owner of Della Terra Pasta Co. He now offers both fresh pasta and dried pasta through the company. You can find out more about his products online at eatmywheat.com.

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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