Abruzzo is all about traditions! Symbol of the cuisine of Abruzzo, spaghetti alla chitarra (“guitar spaghetti”), are also known in Abruzzo's dialect as maccarun?, or maccheroni alla chitarra.
When served with Pallottine (tiny meatballs) sauce the dish is typical from the Teramo province.
The spaghetti alla chitarra are squared-section egg obtained by laying the dough on the “chitarra” or “carraturo” strings and pressing it by means of a rolling pin.
Thanks to their square shape and also to their consistence they can absorb and keep the sauce particularly well. See the recipe and method below to make your own Spaghetti alla chitarra at home!!
Use a combination of semolina and all-purpose flour for the pasta dough. This blend creates the perfect texture that is soft but will be strong enough to roll onto the chitarra.
Be sure to let the dough rest before rolling it out. Thirty minutes is ideal. Then, you can choose to roll the pasta out with a rolling pin (with plenty of extra flour), or pass through a pasta machine.
Use the rolling pin as a shortcut for cutting the pasta into sheets.Once the dough is slightly thicker than a lasagna sheet, roll it up around the pin. Take a knife and slice through the dough all the way across along the top of the pin. The sheets of dough will fall to the sides of the pin, ready to be rolled onto the chitarra.
Trim the pasta sheets before rolling onto the chitarra. If the sheet are too long, fold them back onto the strings towards the middle of the chitarra and continue to roll. The pasta will fall through, leaving you with extra long strands!
Put a drop of olive oil in your pasta water. This is an old trick that Angela’s grandmother did, which she believes helps the pasta cook and not stick together.
Do not overcook the pasta. Fresh pasta only needs to cooke for 4-5 minutes for al dente. Check one strand for doneness before straining.
Use soaked, stale bread for the pallottine. Instead of breadcrumbs, soak some stale bread in water or milk. Squeeze out the excess liquid and crumble by hand. This keeps the mini meatballs moist and helps to bind them.
Below we have included the recipes for pasta alla chitarra and pallotine, so that you can enjoy a taste of Abruzzo at home!
Serves 4 people
***Ingredients for the pasta:***9 ounces semolina flour 9 ounces all purpose flour 4 eggs 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a pinch of salt
***Method:***Combine flour on a dry flat surface. Make a well. Add eggs and mix with a fork until completely scrambled. Add olive oil and pinch of salt. Start to push the flour into the center of the well, combining with the wet ingredients. Continue to do this until a cohesive ball of dough forms. Kneed out dough for 10-15 minutes until smooth. Cover with a bowl and let rest for 30 minutes. When ready to make the chitarra, roll dough out into a thin sheet, or pass through a pasta machine until slightly thicker than a lasagna sheet. Roll pasta dough around rolling pin and slice across the pin so that the dough falls to either side of it. This will leave you with cut pasta sheets for the chitarra. Place pasta sheet onto chitarra and with a rolling pin, roll the dough over the strings until the strands fall through to the bottom. Boil water and add a splash of olive oil and a generous amount of salt. Boil pasta for 4-5 minutes until al dente.
Ingredients for the sauce: 1 carrot 1 onion 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce 1 pinch of salt extra virgin olive oil
Method: Finely dice the carrot and onion. Sauté in olive oil until soft on low heat. Add the tomato sauce and a pinch of salt to the vegetables and simmer on low heat. Add cooked pallottine and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Ingredients for the pallottine: 10 ounces ground beef or veal 1 egg 3.5 ounces of Parmigiano Reggiano 1 large piece of stale bread extra virgin olive oil water
Method: Soak stale bread in water. Once soft, squeeze out water and crumble by hand. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined. Roll into quarter-sized meatballs. They should be slightly oval in shape. Fry pallottine in extra virgin oil until golden brown, and then drain on a paper towel. Add pallottine to sauce and mix. Once pasta is done, add it to the pan with the sauce and pallottine and mix until completely combined. Serve with parmiggiano on top. Enjoy!