Santa Claus brought me a Chitarra!
Jan. 4, 2013 11:49 am
Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 12:02 am
A Chitarra, a handmade pasta guitar from Abruzzo, Italy. How cool is that? I had been wanting one of these things for some time now and, wow.. I got one! The Chitarra ("chitarra" literally means guitar in Italian) is a wooden rack as you can see from the
pictures with metal strings strung across it. A sheet of pasta is placed on top of the strings and then you use a rolling pin to push the pasta sheet through. If the pasta doesn't fall all the way through, you pluck the strings, thereby playing the guitar
to loosen them. The pasta made with the chitarra is unique in that it is square on all sides and wonderfully rustic. Great for holding rich sauces. In Italy there is a saying which is basically, "a pasta for every sauce" so my new pasta guitar will definitely
expand my menu.
My Chitarra has two sides: one with 33 strings and one with 53 strings to make thin or thick pasta. I don't know if they are all like that. The strings are attached to a bridge connected to the main body with adjustment screws. Before using the chitarra, the
strings are made taut for better cutting by tightening the screws. You can "play" the strings by plucking them and listening to their tone so that one side sounds like the other to get the right tension across the guitar.
I made my first batch last night. I used a flour mix of 2 eggs to 1 cup flour (4 eggs, 2 cups) plus a bit of salt and kneaded by hand until I had a firm ball of dough. I let the dough rest for 30 minutes and then cut it into 4 and used my pasta sheet maker
(Imperia) to roll out the dough into sheets from the largest setting down to the second to the last setting. Approximately 1/8" in thickness. When I roll out sheets I typically put it through the machine twice. That is, taking a ball of dough from the largest
setting down to the third from the last (settings 6->3 on the Imperia) and then fold it back again to the width of the machine and take it though once more, this time down to setting #2. I trimmed the sheet to what would fit on the chitarra and then rolled
it with my rolling pin to cut the sheets. I used the larger pasta side (the 33 strings). the chitarra has a wooden sheet that is angled downward so the cut pasta comes out easily at the bottom. The sheet I found should be well floured so the cut pasta won't
stick to each other. The cut pasta can be formed into nests to dry out a bit while they wait to be cooked. I did have some sticky nests so I will dust with more flour next time.
Maccheroni alla Chitarra!
Pasta sheet on the Chitarra ready to be cut
Cutting the pasta (Playing the guitar)
Maccheroni alla Chitarra