In Sara’s dishes the products of her land are always at the center of her recipes. For our Appetibilis readers she proposes “Spaghetti alla Chitarra all’oro rosso” updated.
We are talking about the sought after local ingredient that’s Altino Sweet Pepper, the horn-shaped peppers called also the “golden (precious) red”. Along with there are a julienne of courgettes, some crispy jowls (pork cheek) and a delicious local pecorino.
“The small town of Altino, on a rocky spur looking out over the Aventino Valley, gives its name to small, horn-shaped peppers, bright red in color, also known as a cocce capammonte (“with the head up”) because the fruits grow pointing upwards.” (Slow Food Foundation)
To make this type of spaghetti you’ll need a tool called “chitarra” (guitar), that looks like a wooden frame strung with music wire, which is used to cut the pasta sheets into strands… “Musica Maestro!”
Recipe: Altino Red Pepper “Spaghetti alla Chitarra”
- Author: Sara Scutti
- Category: pasta, main course
- Cuisine: Italian, Abruzzi
- Keywords: spaghetti alla chitarra, handmade pasta
- Servings: 4
- Prep Time: 45 minutes + 30 minutes rest
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Difficulty: medium
- Tools: “chitarra” guitar pasta machine, rolling pin, wooden board
- 400 g durum wheat semolina flour (or Italian type 0)
- 2 tablespoons Altino pepper in powder (or sweet paprika)
- 4 eggs (medium size)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 zucchini (medium size)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons Altino pepper coarsely crushed (or sweet paprika)
- q.b. olive oil evo
- 100 g pork jowl (thinly sliced)
- a chunk of pecorino cheese to be grated on the pasta
“Lay each sheet on the guitar, pass the rolling pin over the dough – making a slight pressure, until you get the strands...”
For pasta dough
- Pour the flour and pepper on a wooden board, and form the typical “well” by making – with a spoon or your fist – a wide hole (or “well”) in the center of the dry mix, almost as to see the surface of the board.
- Shell the eggs one by one in a cup (to avoid unpleasant fragments in the dough) and pour them into the well.
- Add the salt and, with the help of a fork, beat the eggs lightly. Start incorporating the flour mix then, with your hands, begin kneading vigorously (and for a some time) until the dough becomes smooth-n-firm yet pliable.
- Form a ball and let it rest for about 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
- When ready, flour the wooden board and, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a sheet of about 2-3 mm thick.
- Cut each sheet into rectangles, so-called “pettole“, and
- Lay each sheet on the guitar, pass the rolling pin over the dough – making a slight pressure, until you get the strands.
- Flour them, roll them into nest, and place each bundle on another wooden board. Proceed until you finish with the dough.
- Set aside for cooking, covered with a cloth.
The Altino pepper, besides giving its distinct deep orange-red hue, offers also its delicate flavor that goes very well with the condiment.
For the ultimate locavore: zucchini, Altino pepper, pork jowl (thinly sliced), pecorino cheese…
- Peel the courgettes and cut them lengthwise into thin slices (about 2-3 mm) – the same thickness as for pasta. Than, cut the slices into strips, julienne style.
- In a large frying pan pour 6 tablespoons of oil and sautee the garlic, with the sweet pepper for a few minutes;
- add the zucchini and cook for about 7-8 minutes (it’s important that the zucchini stay crunchy).
- Meanwhile, heat a non-stick pan, and brown the jowl slices – it takes about 1 minute per side – or until they become crispy.
Time to prep the dish
- Cook the pasta by boiling it in a medium-big casserole, filled with salted water. Remember to add at least 1 tablespoon of oil (this shall help prevent the fresh made strands from sticking together while cooking).
- Stir until the water returns to a boil. The pasta shall be ready in about 3 to 5 minutes.
- The strands should be very “al dente!” since you’ll need the pasta to be sautéed in a pan with the condiment. If needed, add a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
- Serve immediately with a generous amount of freshly grated pecorino (if you can, try the one made in Abruzzi), and a slice of crispy jowl.
“Serve immediately with a generous amount of freshly grated pecorino (if you can, try the one made in Abruzzi), and a slice of crispy jowl.”