Chef Jared Van Camp and his kitchen staff at Nellcôte make pasta noodles with personality. The noodles are made entirely in-house, starting from whole grain wheat obtained locally from a farm in Ottawa, Illinois. Taking the rare, labor-intensive step of milling the flour on the premises for Nellcôte's noodles (as well as its bread and pizza doughs) allows Van Camp to create a truly whole wheat pasta capable of exhibiting all the same delicious textural properties of fresh noodles made with white flour. What's more, milling and consuming new flour on a daily basis ensures a level of freshness that bagged flour, in all likelihood, can't match. Oh yeah, and it tastes better, too.
I met with Van Camp recently to see what's involved in the pasta program at the cavernous West Loop restaurant—his second in the city after Old Town Social. By the end of our discussion, I was standing over a gorgeous plate of comforting spaghetti noodles tossed in a chunky tomato sauce kissed with Calabrian chiles. But to get there, we had to start with a visit to the walk-in fridge.
Click on the slideshow to see how Van Camp creates the noodles from scratch.