Do you know how to play the guitar? – Farro Spaghetti “alla chitarra” with vegetable ragù and ricotta
Sai suonare la chitarra? – Spaghetti di farro alla chitarra con salsa all’ortolana e ricotta
I am going back to my roots with this dish. Once in a while, it feels good to go back to old and traditional ways of cooking even if it it can be time consuming. Cooking being therapeutic for me (like for most people who love cooking), when I am stressed, I cook, and the longer, the better. Sundays are perfect for these rituals.
I am in love with my new pasta cutting tool called chitarra. Eventhough it produces a different kind of music, it’s just wonderful lyrics to my ears. Due to its shape and strings it has the same name as the musical instrument guitar (chitarra in Italian means guitar) due it its strings. Spaghetti alla chitarra is my favorite pasta, anytime I am in Italy I buy it and eat them during a whole week. Those are a specialty from Abruzzi and the neighboring regions further South. Basically the strings of the chitarra are the cutting tool. You can either use the rolling pin or your hands to press the pasta sheet on the strings. The two particularities of this pasta is first, you need to have a pasta thickness, similar to the width of the guitar strings, second it’s an egg based pasta.
When using a chitarra, the texture of the pasta is really different, more rugged and thicker since the width of spaghetti is supposed to be the same size as the depth, basically you get square spaghetti.
Chitarra is available in the US at Sur La Table, so for those who are passionate about pasta and want to experiment old ways of making and cutting it, I suggest you try it out.
The dough has 80% farro (or spelt) that’s why you get a darker and golden color and the sauce is vegetarian. The traditional spaghetti alla chitarra from Abruzzi region is made out of a lamb ragù. Of course, you can use your creativity and taste as far as the sauce is concerned. I am still on some vegetarian funk lately, so this worked beautifully for me.
Ingredients for 4
For the pasta dough
- 100 g white flour
- 200 g farro flour
- 3 eggs
For the sauce
- 6 medium size tomatoes on the vine, well ripe, peeled, seedless and chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbs olive oil
- hot chili pepper (peperoncino)
- basil or oregano
- 4 tbs ricotta
- 1 tbs chopped olives (optional)
- salt and pepper
For the pasta
In a working surface mix flours together, add eggs, and gradually incorporate flour. Add a little water if necessary (if dough is too hard) and knead for about 15-20 min to obtain a round and smooth ball. Wrap in a plastic film and let it rest for about 30 min.
In a flat surface (preferably wood, such as a spianatoia, the Italian flat wooden board to roll the pasta dough), using a large and not tapered rolling pin, roll dough to obtain a thin sheet. You can use a pasta machine if you have not mastered the art of rolling dough. The sheet should be thin but not overly thin, something like 2 mm thick.
When the sheet is ready, take chitarra to cut strings. Place sheet on top of strings and using the rolling pin, roll it from top to bottom of the pasta sheet. The spaghetti will fall into the chitarra, and you just have to remove them. Proceed until you have finished with the sheets.
For the sauce
In a pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and brown them. Add the rest of the vegetables, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and let cook until tender but still firm.
In another pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and stir to get flavors out. Add oregano (or basil) and tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes are starting to form a thick sauce (about 10-15 minutes). Add chili peppers, salt and pepper.
When the vegetables are cooked, add to the tomato sauce and mix well. If you decide to add olives, add at this point. Add extra olive oil.
Bring a pot of salted boiling water to a boil, add spaghetti. Cook for a few minutes, or until spaghetti come at the surface. Remove from stove and drain.
Place spaghetti in a large pasta dish, pour sauce on top. Serve in dishes with ricotta on top and sprinkle with either oregano or basil. Serve hot.
This entry was posted by silvia on May 24, 2010 at 2:37 am, and is filed under Pasta, Vegetarian - dairy. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
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First time here. you have a beautiful space . Love all your recipes. Very nice recipe and I love ricotto cheese. awesome clicks.
Silvia, this sounds like a perfect way to spend a Sunday! I’m like you, when I’m stressed, all I want to do is be in the kitchen. If my kitchen had a door, I would close it.
I have yet to explore making my own pasta, but this is such a romantic method, I really want to try it! Would my hubby’s guitar work? Kidding
your pasta is perfect,the story is beautiful…have a great week!
Hey Silvia, the making of the pasta looks so much fun! Simply fast & easy too. I think I’ll have to build my own pasta guitar first before making this. haha…. Have a great day!
I love the photos of cutting pasta with a chitarra! I’m a little jealous–I have to admit! I’ve always wanted to play with one! This dish looks comforting…my highest complement!
WOW. I have never heard of this method of cutting pasta before, but I am definitely adding the chitarra to my kitchen wishlist. This was a lovely post to read, and I love your philosophies about cooking “the old way” sometimes. That type of cooking is most inspirational to me, and makes me feel closest to my roots.
I remember seeing a Chitarra at Sur La Table. The pasta looks amazing and like your vegetarian take on a classic.
That is super cool. Will love to have one fo those one day
Have never tried it this way, looks so easy love it will have to look further into this method….love the pasta fresh is always the best!~
Comlimenti! I love this kind of pasta (called tonnarelli in Rome)…. And that’s a particularly pretty chitarra you have! You’ve inspired me to go dig mine out of the attic!
Very interesting (as usual)–and all new to me! Congrats to you, by the way, on your #1 post! FANTASTIC!
The next time I am in Seattle I will need to revisit Sur la Table.
Thank you for such an informative post. I have never tried this pasta making technique. It looks so interesting. Love the flavors in this dish. The photo of the bite of food on the fork. Perfect. Great job. I always learn something for you.
I’m so impressed!!
I love homemade pasta. I never buy pasta anymore. I love the veggie ragu, too!
It does sort of look like one of those old fashioned guitars. I thought for a minute you were going to be giving guitar lessons! Your recipe looks delicious and what a great idea to make your own pasta so you can get it the way you want. Perfect!
ahhhhh…There’s nothing like fresh pasta ^_^
Oh! You made your own pasta…looks so delicious and love the idea of topping with ricotta…so healthy and tasty
How interesting that great chitarra pasta tool! Is it easy to clean? A beautiful dish – I love all the fresh vegetables in it and the ricotta on top! Silvia – you’re amazing!
Love fresh pasta, this looks great. And I want a Chitarra!
I’ve always been curious about “guitar” pasta and have never seen it. The idea of farro pasta also is intriguing.
I love the idea of alternatives to simple white flour pastas. Is it hard to find a guitar?
Vraiment je suis toujours ravie de ce que je découvre ici; ces pâtes-là, je ne connaissais pas mais l’idée de la sauce aux légumes me ravie, surtout qu’ici c’est la canicule. Tu fais un travail fantastique et j’ai bien noté la finesse de la pâte. Cette chitarra est une merveille.
Aussi, j’aimerais que tu saches que je suis touchée par tes commentaires, si personnels; des comme toi, il n’y en a pas beaucoup.
Awesome Silvia. I love old school ways of making food-so therapeutic rather than fast and dull. The pasta really is beautiful.
By the way, is that ricotta salata? I love salty ricotta cheese on vegetarian pasta dishes like this…
Oh, I want that! What fun. You are so right that Sundays are the days for leisurely making things and deriving the therapeutic benefits of not being in a hurry. Such a great dish.
OMG Silvia! That is stunning!!!
I love that you are using an old world implement. Fantastic! Thanks to your post I learned something (as I always do)
Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
The thought of homemade pasta is already big enough to open up my appetite for this dish.
Wow I want that pasta gadget! Fascinating! Homemade pasta tastes so much better!
I am a total believer that the shape and size of the pasta makes all teh difference. Interesting about teh square noodle, though. What a cool gadget. And your dish looks so yummy!
De belles photos et comme d’habitude tu fais quelques choses étonnantes dans ta cuisine!
You are so lucky to have one of these! This dish looks delicious.
This is such a unique pasta made with farro! I have to look for this Chitarra tool, very cool!
Wow. Wow. WOW! your pasta making is beyond fascinating to me, particularly as I simply buy my dried pasta at the store! Not only is your pasta delicious, but it no doubt is even MORE appetizing knowing that you made your own pasta. Incredible, incredible. I’m a little nervous about making my own pasta, but you have inspired me! I”m sure my family would be thrilled!
It is good to go back to what we know intimately and where we came from. Sometimes it is exactly what the soul demands! This is a beautiful dish. Square spaghetti – I love it!
The last time I had seen this pasta making tool was in my grandma’s kitchen in Italy. At least once a week, my brother and I used to fight for a turn to pass the roller and see the magic happen.
Great memories, thanks, Claudia
Haha…Silvia, I thought it really amusing when you said cooking is therapeutic…the longer the better! I must give you all my time consuming recipes I only look at the pictures but dare not touch them…no patience…haha Looks like cooking is not therapeutic for me then I love homemade noodles…taste very different from store bought. Love your dish…..looks very delicious. Please take care. Mary
YUM. Beautiful pasta. I could almost feel the power of this noble food. Thanks for the detailed information and photos.
I think I can… I think I can…
everything on your blog looks sooo mouthwatering, but this post caught my eye cos there is nothing that can beat (for me anyway hehe) a good vegetarian tomato based pasta! nothing! :O)
Great pasta recipe. I have been trying to make homemaid pasta forever.