Imagine a nice, thick spaghetti strand that is square – yes square – well that’s Spaghetti alla Chitarra, a traditional shape originating from Abruzzo. It is superb with big sauces like full-flavoured meat ragu or opulent creamy sauces, but has a refined side too as exemplified with a simple tomato and basil sauce.
Spaghetti alla Chitarra is so called because it is traditionally made with a device that resembles a guitar (chitarra in Italian). It has a rectangular beech wood frame with wire strings pulled across a few mm apart. The pasta dough is rolled into a sheet and placed across the stings.
It is rolled again and cuts away into long strips which fall into the cavity below. The Abruzzo women would then caress the ends of the strings with a finger, just like playing a harp, to make sure all the pasta strips fall through.
Pastificio Granoro have their own bronze drawn version of this classic pasta with a rough surface, perfect for lapping up all kinds of sauces. Spaghetti alla chitarra should always be cooked al dente and it will reward you well for doing so. A guaranteed hit every time!
What makes Attilio Pasta so special?
The range is named after 99 year old Attilio Mastromauro (pictured below), founder of Pastificio Granoro and one of the leading lights of pasta production in Italy.
The quality of his gourmet pasta is chiefly down to 4 key factors. The choice of durum wheat is critical. Only Italy’s finest grain, with a very high protein and gluten content is used in Attilio’s range to give a delicious tasting pasta which cooks to perfection every time.
It is then kneaded slowly and laboriously for a long time before being bronze drawn (trafilati al bronzo). This means the pasta dough passes through special dyes or moulds made of bronze, which gives the pasta a rough surface to attract and bind the sauce perfectly.
Finally the pasta is then dried dolce or very gently at low temperatures over a long period to preserve all its natural flavour and goodness.
When dry, Attilio’s pasta has a lovely golden colour and unlike most other bronze drawn pasta which tend to fade when cooked, Attilio’s actually intensifies to produce one of the most inviting pasta dishes we’ve experienced!
|HOW TO USE – SUGGESTIONS
Attilio Spaghetti alla Chitarra is the perfect pasta for rich sauces with meat or fish but also for more delicate ones too. There are countless dishes featuring this shape – below are just a few suggestions for you to get the idea!:
In Abruzzo, the most traditional dish is arguably spaghetti all chitarra with a nice ragu of minced beef, pork and lamb.
Lamb ragu with pecorino is another classic.
A must try with mixed seafood sauce (alla pescatora or allo scoglio).
It is also delicious with a simple, fresh tomato sauce with basil (often with peperoncino added). A popular version includes San Marzano tomatoes, ground peperoncino and fresh basil.
Rich, creamy sauces of all kinds are absorbed by this pasta.
Perfect too with diced vegetable-based sauces.
In past times in Abruzzo, the eggs for the pasta would be blended with saffron. Nowadays there are a number of dishes which include the addition of saffron eg. saffron with pancetta or saffron with prawns.
Spaghetti all chitarra with Amatriciana sauce is very popular in Italy.
Try it with prawns and green pesto – tasty and looks good too!
Salmon and orange makes for a nice refined dish (tuna also works).
Porcini mushroom sauces are delicious with this pasta.
Two other classic recipes based on use of salami are: Spaghetti alla chitarra alla Ventriciana (use our spicy Napoli sausage for this) and Spaghetti alla chitarra alla Bersagliera with salami and provolone cheese.
Try it with cream of artichoke, guanciale (or pancetta) and pecorino.
A rustic sauce of sausage and rosemary always pleases.
Why not try it with spicy tomato sauce with aubergines and pecorino (or parmesan).
Split the spaghetti alla chitarra strands in half for a slightly different take on any dish you are contemplating.
COOKING TIME: 10 mins
Durum wheat semolina, Water.