Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Submitted by admin on 10 Oct 2015

Whenever we are hiking on our Abruzzo tour, we spend an evening with the chef from the wonderful Locanda Sotto Gli Archi in the Sextantio hotel to learn how to make traditional Abruzzese dishes. One of these is the very special spaghetti alla chitarra, a simple pasta dough which is rolled and pushed through an ingenious wooden and wire frame, to produde identical long strands of pasta.  These brilliant machines are named after the musical instrument - the guitar - for which the Italian word is "chitarra".

Spaghetti alla Chitarra x 4

Ingredients for the dough 

  • 300 gr of ‘Saragolla’ (KAMUT) flour 
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt to taste

Saragolla might be described as the “ancestor” of modern wheat. It was introduced into the Abruzzo region as far back as 400 A.D. by populations coming across from the Middle East. Saragolla is a khorasan wheat, originally grown in the lands between Anatolia and the Iranian uplands and between Egypt and Mesopotamia. For this reason it has also been called “pharaoh wheat”. It has a long stalk, up to 180cm, and the kernel is longer than any other wheat. The flour it produces is deep yellow.  It is high in proteins, vitamins and minerals and contains less gluten than other grains, but is perfect for use in pasta-making. Nowadays, it is also cultivated in parts of North America and Doves Farm is the licenced UK supplier of KAMUT® khorasan brand grain.


To make the pasta the flour is placed in a ring with the eggs cracked into the middle, and then gently worked by hand until a nice smooth dough is achieved. This is rolled thinly until more or less the same shape as the chitarra, then pushed through the wires using a rolling pin.  The strands of pasta are collected in little coils and sprinkled with flour, before being cooked for 3 minutes in lots of salted boiling water.


You could serve any meat ragu with this pasta, and sometimes we eat it in Italy simply with cheese and black pepper, a dish called "Cacio e Pepe".

Simone and Francesca from the Locanda Sotto Gli Archi restaurant in Santo Stefano are wonderful and patient teachers.  Our Hedonistic chefs are helped by some litres of local vino sfuso and the cooking experience is a real highlight of our tour in Abruzzo.
This is Simone's recipe for lamb ragu:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot 
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • sauté these ingredients together

Add 300 gr of minced lamb meat and sauté for 10 minutes
Simmer with 3 cups of white wine until reduced 
Add a bit of rosemary, salt and pepper to taste 
Add 300 gr of good quality tomato sauce
Mix well together over a low heat

Buon appetito!