Cucina Al Volo serves up a wide array of unique Italian options with six different restaurants across the DMV area.
One of their restaurants is a tiny, inconspicuous stall located inside of Union Market at 1309 Fifth St. NE. Although the kiosk is small, it serves up big flavors with a selection of different fresh homemade pastas and sauces to take home or eat at the market. Everything the stall sells is made of organic ingredients from local farmers.
All of Cucina Al Volo’s pastas and sauces can be mixed and matched to fit whatever type of mood you’re in the day you visit. They also switch up both the pasta and sauce options every few weeks, so there’s always something new to try.
Some of the pasta options they often have include fettuccine, pappardelle, fusilli and cavatelli shapes in a variety of flavors such as spinach, ricotta and smoked paprika. Sauces that can be poured over the already flavorful pasta include a creamy wild mushroom ($11), duck ragu ($15) and a simple pesto sauce ($11).
The day I visited Cucina Al Volo, they were offering a tomato and burrata sauce ($15) that I knew I had to try. I paired it with pappardelle and I was not disappointed.
Pappardelle is a very broad, flat pasta noodle and the name derives from the Italian verb “pappare,” which means to gobble up. Cucina Al Volo makes all of their pasta in-house, so the texture was smooth and fresher than any dried, boxed variety. The pasta was cooked for my plate right in front of me, and it came out tasting perfectly al dente.
Although I could’ve eaten a bowl of the pasta on it’s own, the tomato and burrata sauce was an added punch of flavor atop the fresh pasta.
The sauce was made with fresh, cherry tomatoes that had been stewed but were still served whole and bursted with flavor whenever I took a bite. The rest of the sauce surrounding the pasta was thick and filled with aromatic Italian spices like basil and thyme.
The tastiest and most unique part of this dish is by far the fresh burrata scooped to sit on top. It is incredibly creamy and adds a luscious texture to the sauce. After a while, the burrata will melt on top of the steaming, pasta and become a cheesy layer that drips over the entire dish.
If that’s still not enough cheese for you, Cucina Al Volo tops this dish with generous shavings of parmesan cheese to add a tangy flavor.
If you’re in search of a rich pasta dish that tastes straight out of Italy, Cucina Al Volo’s six locations around the District will do the trick.