For a person that consumes as much pasta as I do as a vegetarian, you would think by now I would know to make fresh pasta from scratch. Like Dev on Master of None, it’s always been on my bucket list of grown-up activities. Unlike Dev, jetting off to Italy for a few months to learn the craft isn’t exactly an option. Heading to Via Umbria, however, is the next best alternative. D.C Editor Stephanie and I gathered our friends for a Tuesday night filled with tagliatelle.
Via Umbria is prominently located on Wisconsin Ave in Georgetown and has three distinct spaces within the store. The downstairs has a market and wine cellar filled with tons of Italian goodies ranging from specialty cheeses and meats, to desserts, to beautiful ceramics. Classes, brunch, and delicious dinner parties are held on the second floor with a full open kitchen to boot. The space opens up to a beautiful terrace and private gallery that can be used for events.
Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle to enjoy during the instructional lesson. Our group of six began with a few bottles of red wine. We also recommend purchasing some cheese and crackers beforehand to enjoy during the class, as we quickly learned that making pasta is a lot of work! Along with admission, your ticket price includes recipe cards, and your own portion of pasta to take home with you.
Our work space was already floured upon arrival to avoid sticky dough. We started by pouring semolina flour in the center of our work space to create a well. Next we cracked eggs into the well. After beating the eggs and adding more flour, we gathered the dough to form a rounded mass. This sounds easier to execute than it is.
The next step can be tough and tricky, so we recommend taking turns with your pasta partner. Begin kneading the dough with the palm of your hands for added strength. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
We took that opportunity to catch up, drink wine and enjoy the outdoor space on a beautiful evening. You can also head downstairs to grab a snack if you’re feeling inclined. After the break, we divided the dough into two equal pieces. Flatten the dough to a shape that’s narrow enough to go through the pasta cutter. We had a ton of fun feeding the dough into the contraption several times to get the perfectly thin-cut strips of tagliatelle.
You can also cut the pasta by hand. Our instructor told us not to fret if our pasta is poorly cut, as there’s a whole category in Italian called maltagliati or “bad scraps.” (It tastes just as delicious.) We were each given our portion of tagliatelle to take home while enjoying the various pastas prepared by our instructor for dinner. We especially loved the mushroom sauce.
The chef recommended using the tagliatelle immediately, or storing in an airtight container for up to three days before consuming. We knew we couldn’t wait three days to cook these fresh bundles of love, though.
A cooking class at Via Umbria is a great way to break up the week and spend time with your friends, while learning something new. Check out the other classes coming up this summer. We’ll see you there!
1525 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Via Umbria. While this was written independently by us, we do receive compensation from the company.