3 Places Serving Housemade Gluten-Free Pastas

By Rina Rapuano  |  August 7, 2014
Credit: Michael Harlan Turkell

Whether you’ve embraced the gluten-free life or think it’s an overdiagnosed health-industry hoax, there’s no denying that more and more diners are seeking tasty gluten-free options. And while there are easy ways to create satisfying meals that are naturally gluten-free, it’s much more challenging to find acceptable versions of the dishes that gluten-free folks miss most, like pasta.

Most chefs balk at making their own for two reasons — it’s time-consuming and the results often aren’t worth the effort. Some, like Casa Luca, have found success with buying high-quality wheatless pastas instead of fussing with their own recipes. But others, like chef Ethan McKee of Urbana, accepted the challenge of coming up with pastas that come close to the original. McKee worked doggedly for months to craft the perfect blend of alternate grains for his gluten-free pasta.

According to Ellen Gray of Equinox Restaurant, customers truly appreciate the pasta-making efforts of her husband, chef-owner Todd Gray.

“[The pastas were] inspired by all our guests who were thrilled with the idea of still being able to enjoy Todd's pasta gluten free,” she says. “It was a revolution. So many happy people — a lady once had tears in her eyes when she thanked us for making a gluten-free pasta taste so good!”

Here are three local places where you can try freshly made gluten-free pasta:

Cesco Osteria
Dishes: Tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes and basil; ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach
Gluten Substitute: Gluten-free flour
Cost: $15
Good to Know: Chef Francesco Ricchi will share his recipe with those who want to try making it at home. Other pasta dishes can be made gluten-free upon request for a $2 surcharge.
7401 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-8333

Equinox Restaurant
Dishes: They change weekly but have included egg-yolk fettuccini with short-rib bolognese and root veggies; arugula fettuccini with crispy softshells and clams
Gluten Substitute: Chickpea flour
Cost: Varies, but around $12-$27
Good to Know: They can be ordered in whole or half portions, and all incorporate chef Todd Gray’s signature style of using what’s fresh and seasonal.
818 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-331-8118

Dishes: Gigli pasta topped with a wild-boar ragu; squid-ink bucatini with calamari, shrimp mussels and bagna cauda
Gluten Substitute: A blend of chickpea flour, potato starch, whole-grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour
Cost: $21-$23
Good to Know: The Dupont Circle restaurant is currently closed for a renovation but is expected to reopen — with gluten-free pastas and pizzas still on the menu — soon after Labor Day.
2121 P St. NW; 202-956-6650