I have a family recipe, one my mom cooked regularly when I was growing up, that I make from time to time. It’s noodle based and I’ve always just used store-bought dried egg noodles.
Then one day I decided to make fresh pasta and I used some in the recipe. And suddenly a mundane dish was a superior one. I’ll never go back to using dried pasta in that recipe again.
Vinicius Turci and his wife, Nathalia Kalil, understand that. Fresh pastas are the centerpiece of their College Park restaurant, Turci Pasta.
The couple bought what had been Trevi Pasta in 2017 and continued to operate it under that name until last year when they changed it to Turci (pronounce it toor-chee). During the Covid years they sold fresh pastas and sauces to go. But now that dining is back, the place looks like any other popular neighborhood restaurant with all the tables full of happy diners.
Except for one giveaway: Just inside the door of the dining room that is otherwise decorated in warm woods and lace curtains is a large industrial pasta machine that rolls dough and cuts it into the various sizes and shapes that are used on the dine-in menu. It looks like a control panel for a time machine, but it is the heart of the operation.
But it’s not all pasta and _____. In fact, one of the best things I had when I dined there recently had no pasta in it at all. It was the prosciutto & burrata bruschetta, served on slices of Italian bread slathered with ricotta. Large and beautiful thin slices of the ham were topped with scoops of creamy burrata, seasoned and drizzled with a bit of truffle oil, which complemented the aroma of the prosciutto. I was sorry that I had to share the appetizer with my companions.
One of my tablemates chose the pappardelle verde ragu for an entree. It featured the thick noodles infused with spinach and served with a meat sauce. Some cherry tomatoes and fresh basil helped pretty up an already colorful dish.
Another guest chose the squid ink shrimp aglio e olio, which had black pasta tossed in the traditional Neapolitan way with garlic and olive oil, then topped with grilled shrimp. The pasta had a coarser texture than my companion had hoped for, though I found it a pleasant al dente.
I went with the build-your-own option, choosing tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and a side order of sausages. Like all the other pastas, the tagliatelle had an obvious freshness and was covered in a meaty beef sauce that only got better when grated cheese came snowing down on it. The pork sausages, filled with pecorino and sun-dried tomatoes, were fat and flavorful.
Another companion chose the bolognese with fettuccine and paired it with meatballs, five dense orbs coated in a lovely red sauce.
Except for an issue with the timing of the entrees, service was swift and attentive.
The last time I was here was when it was Trevi, under the previous ownership, and while it was nice, it didn’t strike me as more than just a place to pick up some pasta. But under Turci and Kalil, Turci Pasta has become a place to have a full-service Italian dinner.