My Chitarra pasta cutter finally arrived from Italy and I couldn’t wait to play around. Spaghetti alla Chitarra is a type pf pasta that comes from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Chitarra translates into guitar and it essentially means guitar string spaghetti due to the special pasta cutting tool called chitarra which a wooden frame strung with wires that cut the sheets of pasta. Traditionally this is paired with a meat ragu like beef or veal. I however decided to play around and do a wine sauce with it.
Spaghetti All’ Ubriaco or drunken pasta is a typical tuscan pasta in which the pasta is partially cooked in a red wine and butter sauce by the technique called pasta risottata, i.e. Risotto style pasta. Here the pasta is cooked like a risotto, in which it almost completely absorbs the liquid in which it is cooked. This is done in pastas which have a more clear liquid or emulsion rather than a chunky sauce. I tasted this in Chianti last year and instantly fell in love! We were staying at this vineyard called Vignamaggio in Chianti. It has some award winning Chianti wines and is a spectacular place to stay whilst in Tuscany.
It was dusk, a slightly chilly evening and we had just finished the wine tasting .We were seated in the garden, near some rose bushes. Sipping on some wine and gorging on the bread basket, we were simply taking in the rolling hills and vineyards in front of us. The waitress brought over plates of this rich, ruby red pasta. It was love at first sight. The tanginess from the wine, the richness from the butter! That garlicky chilli kick! It was heaven on a plate.
A Sangiovase based wine is traditionally used, like Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino.
I decided to take inspiration from this and flavour my spaghetti with this. The pasta just absorbs that reduced buttery winey liquid and turns into the most beautiful red. It has this deep blushy hue that just screams beauty. It’s s rich, it’s hearty and its rustic.
1 tbsp Olive oil
a little water ( as required )
a little 00 Flour ( as needed )
8-12 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Chilli flakes
6 tbsp Unsalted butter
375 ml Chianti
a pinch of Salt
a handful of pine nuts
a handful of Basil
shavings of Parmesan
For the pasta dough.
Take the semolina on a work surface and create a well. Add in the salt. Put the eggs in the centre of the well and begin kneading. Combine it together. Add in the 00 flour as required and knead for about 5 – 7 mins on the work surface to develop the gluten. The dough should come together as a smooth, silky dough. Cover and let it rest for 1/2 hr.
For a chitarra shape, roll the dough into sheets. It should be about 3mm thick. Place the sheet on the chitarra and with a rolling pin press down and roll. The strings should cut the dough and the spaghetti will fall down. If it is not cut at places, use your fingers and strum the strings like a guitar. It should get cut. Dust with flour and keep aside. This pasta can be used interchangeably with a regular spaghetti or a bucatini.
For the sauce.
Take a pan, add in the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. To this add the chopped garlic and chilli flakes. Sauce for a couple of mins, till the garlic is aromatic. Add in the wine and let it simmer. Add in the salt. Let the wine reduce down and thicken to 1/2 or 2/3rd its original volume.
Simultaneously, start pot of water with some salt and oil. Let it boil. Put the pasta in and let it cook. It should be just about al dente i.e. it should just about start to soften and still have a bite to it. Take it out and drain.
Toast the pine nuts in a pan.
Add the pasta to the reduced wine, and let it continue cooking in the wine mixture. Add in the rest of the butter to this.This is known as pasta risottata ( risotto style pasta). The pasta absorbs the wine mixture and turns into a wine colour. The butter cuts through the tanginess of the wine and adds a richness to it. The flavours are all absorbed by the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Finish off with some chopped basil, toasted pine nuts and parmesan shavings.
Pour yourself some Chianti ( this time to drink) while you dream of those rolling vineyards and indulge in some delicious pasta!