DC Refined: Try a unique noodle at one of these 12 DC restaurants
“If you’re like me and carbs are literally your bread and butter, then you’ll never turn down a good plate of pasta. Luckily, there are plenty of places around town to get your fix. D.C. has had a recent surge in new Italian spots, and there are plenty of standbys that have been rolling in dough for years.
I personally don’t think pasta ever gets old, but for those who are looking to change up the rotation, several spots have created uniquely flavored pasta doughs. These go way beyond squid ink, which is now on almost every pasta menu in the city. Here are 12 places to find nuanced noodles.
The green kale fusilli at Al Volo will make you feel like you’re making a healthy choice while indulging in a satisfying plate of carbs. The dough is made with seminola flour, eggs, and kale juice, so it might actually have some nutritionally redeeming qualities! Enjoy the pasta with basil pesto and goat cheese at one of Al Volo’s locations, or take some home and turn it into a masterpiece of your own.
On the specialty tasting menu in Kingbird’s backroom, find a Maine lobster ravioli that is beet red, literally. The pasta for the ravioli is made with flour, beet puree, eggs, and salt. It’s then stuffed with lobster claw, scallop mousse, yuzu, and herbs. The decadent pockets are served in reduced beet juice and lobster butter, along with a roasted lobster tail, pickled Castelfranco, and braised radicchio.
New on the menu at Beuchert’s Saloon is a graham cracker spätzle. This take on the traditional German egg noodle is made with flour, honey, graham flour, cinnamon, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Graham flour is the coarse whole wheat flour that gives graham crackers their nutty sweetness. The spätzle is topped with braised short rib, sour carrot slaw, sauerbraten jus, and parsnip cream.
Bibiana has found a way to make chocolate for dinner sound like a perfectly reasonable choice: their pappardelle pasta is infused with bitter chocolate. Wild boar ragù and ricotta salata infornata complete the dish.
At Casa Luca, grano arso, which means burnt grain, is used in a few housemade pastas, including bucatini and pappardelle. According to the Casa Luca team, the smoky flour made from burnt wheat is a historical tradition specific to the peasants of Puglia. It refers to a flour that was made from the grains left in the fields after the wheat had been harvested and the fields were burned to prepare for the next season. Impoverished farmers would gather the remaining burnt grain and make a flour that was used to make bread and pasta. The grano arso pasta at Casa Luca is often served with meat ragù or all’amatriciana.
The menu at Centrolina changes frequently as seasonal ingredients ebb and flow, but often features buckwheat chitarra – a square spaghetti made with buckwheat flour. Accompaniments vary, but the pasta dish has included roasted cauliflower, fried chick peas, garlic, anchovy, and hot pepper in the past.
The tasting menus at Conosci feature seafood in a variety of artful preparations. One such creation is the scallop pasta that’s not really pasta at all. The noodles are made from scallop paste. They’re served with scallops, fermented yucca, ink pain noir, and caviar.”
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Featured photo courtesy of Sfoglina.