Best Pasta Dish

The Red Hen
1822 1st St. NW, (202) 525-3021
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There’s nothing particularly fancy or inventive about The Red Hen’s mezze rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu. It’s pasta in red sauce. And yet, there’s something so satisfying about this simple bowl that it’s no wonder it’s managed to stay on the menu while nearly every other dish has rotated out with the seasons. Chef Michael Friedman makes the perfectly al dente rigatoni from scratch, then coats it in a ragu that’s cooked for four hours with housemade pork sausage flavored by toasted fennel seeds, coriander, black pepper, Hungarian sweet paprika, garlic, and fennel pollen. A sprinkling of pecorino-Romano cheese is all the dress-up it needs.