Spaghetti alla chitarra
|Alternative names||Maccheroni alla chitarra|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Region or state||Abruzzo|
|Main ingredients||Durum, egg, salt|
Spaghetti alla chitarra (Italian: [spaˈɡetti ˌalla kiˈtarra]), also known as maccheroni alla chitarra, is a variety of egg pasta typical of the Abruzzo region in Italy, with a square cross section about 2–3 mm thick. Tonnarelli are a similar pasta from Lazio. Ciriole is the thicker version of chitarra, approximately double the thickness of spaghetti. It has a squared shape rather than round.
Origin of the name
The name of this spaghetti comes from the tool (the so-called chitarra, literally "guitar") this pasta is produced with, a tool which gives spaghetti its name, shape and a porous texture that allows pasta sauce to adhere well. The chitarra is a frame with a series of parallel wires crossing it.
History and production
The origin of the chitarra is still not very clear, a traditional recipe from the province of Teramo originated in the early 1800s or even before. It is also claimed that the chitarra was invented in 1890 in the Abruzzo province of Chieti. Before then, pasta was cut with a special rolling pin with notches to obtain its particular shape. Although its origins are from Abruzzo, you can find different versions and names in the southern part of Italy. It gets the name of tonnarelli in Lazio, torchioli, troccoli or truoccoli in Basilicata and Puglia, or maccheroni crioli in Molise.
The dough consists of durum wheat semolina and eggs, but no added salt. It is then worked and, after a rest of about 30 minutes covered, rolled flat with a rolling pin. The dough is then placed on the chitarra and pushed through with the rolling pin, so that the strings of the "guitar" cut it into strips. Pasta makers from Abruzzo bring down the cut dough by passing their fingers over it, as they would "play a guitar."
In Abruzzo, maccheroni alla chitarra are most typically prepared with a ragu of pork, beef and lamb. In particular areas of the Abruzzi (for example Teramo) the traditional condiment is tomato sauce with beef meatballs, so-called pallottine. In Abruzzo, chitarra alla teramana is a long thin squared spaghetti pasta served with tiny meatballs (polpettine). It is a traditional Abruzzo recipe. It is generally a first course (primo piatto). The spaghetti is seasoned with meat or vegetable ragù and served with pallottine.
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