Top Moments of Chopped After Hours: Italiano

The judges cook with the same basket ingredients from the appetizer round of Chopped: Competition Italiano.

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Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Going Super Italiano

Amanda, Aarón and Maneet are ready to cook with sopressata, limoncello, pasta dough and baby fish. Ted jokingly says, "We gave them only 20 minutes, so I think you should be able to do it in 10." But in the end, one of the judges will run into some problems that time just can't fix.

Fry, Baby Fish, Fry

"These little teeny fish are very difficult to cook perfectly," Amanda says. But as soon as she saw them, she "thought about frying them." And she wants to fry the gnocchi too. "This idea of transforming the pasta into this dumpling is phenomenal," says Aarón. Both he and Maneet appreciate the heat of some jalapeno. Amanda says, "That was for my spicy friends."

A Sticky Situation

"I think the sopressata, this very aggressive pork product with a spice to it ... is going to be the real foil here," says Aarón. But once he gets deep into making ravioli he realizes it's the pasta dough that gives him the most trouble. His attempt at making ravioli uovo goes terribly wrong when the egg yolks leak — so much for saying he's making "the best pasta ever."

Mexican-Indian Fusion

"I'm actually going to teach Aarón how to make Mexican food," Maneet tells Ted. She's making a tostada with a twist by cooking fresh paneer, an Indian cheese that's a lot like ricotta. Combined with the sopressata, it becomes the filling in the tostada, which she finishes plating just in time. When Aarón tastes it, he says, "What I love about it is, you transformed the pasta dough almost into a naan."

Onto Plan B

Just before time runs out, Aarón changes his dish completely and decides to make hand-cut pasta in a baby fish sauce with crispy fried sopressata. Where's the limoncello? Ted says, "You're seizing victory from the jaws of defeat." Aarón blames his stubbornness for trying to take on too much, but his dish turns out great.

Plating Down to the Wire

It's down to the wire for Amanda. Aarón runs over to her station to help her finish plating her fried lemon garnishes. Maneet runs over saying, "C'mon, guys, seriously?" as Ted counts down "3, 2, 1, 1.5, 1.25, 1.1, and time's up!"

Living La Dolce Vita

Ted toasts everyone as he says: "Judging from the deliciousness of these appetizers, I think the three of you ought to go into a spectacular Italian villa and host dinner parties every night." Amanda replies, "And we'll hire Scott Conant as our chef." But Maneet and Aarón disagree. "He would be our prep cook so I can teach him how to make real Italian food," says Aarón.

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