What Is Chitarra Pasta?

Chitarra pasta is a traditional Italian pasta that gets its name from the stringed instrument used to make it.

This unique pasta is made by pressing the dough through a wooden frame with thin, long wires resembling the strings of a guitar.

The result is a square-shaped noodle with a slightly chewy texture, perfect for scooping up sauce.

Chitarra pasta is often served with rich, meaty sauces or simple olive oil and herbs for a delicious and authentic Italian meal.

what is chitarra pasta

Types of Chitarra Pasta

Chitarra pasta is a traditional Italian pasta that is known for its unique shape and texture. It is named after the “chitarra,” which is a wire-strung instrument used in Italian folk music. There are several different types of chitarra pasta, each with its own characteristics and uses.

1. Spaghetti alla Chitarra: This is the most common type of chitarra pasta. It is long and thin, similar to regular spaghetti, but with a square cross-section. It has a firm texture that holds sauces well, making it perfect for dishes like carbonara or tomato-based sauces.

2. Tonarelli: Tonarelli is a thicker version of chitarra pasta. It is often made with egg, which gives it a rich, yellow color and a slightly softer texture. Tonarelli is commonly used in traditional Roman dishes, such as cacio e pepe, where the cheese and pepper sauce clings to the pasta.

3. Maccheroni alla Chitarra: Maccheroni alla chitarra is a larger, tube-shaped pasta. It resembles rigatoni but with square ends. This type of chitarra pasta is perfect for hearty, chunky sauces, as the hollow center allows the sauce to cling to the pasta.

Best Recipes with Chitarra Pasta

Chitarra pasta is incredibly versatile and can be used in various delicious recipes. Here are a few popular dishes that highlight the unique qualities of chitarra pasta:

  • Carbonara: The firm texture of chitarra pasta pairs perfectly with the creamy carbonara sauce, creating a mouthwatering combination.
  • Cacio e Pepe: The square shape and slightly softer texture of tonarelli make it ideal for capturing the cheesy and peppery flavors of this classic Roman dish.
  • Amatriciana: The hollow center of maccheroni alla chitarra allows the rich tomato sauce to get trapped inside, providing bursts of flavor in every bite.

Where to Buy Chitarra Pasta

Chitarra pasta can be found in specialty Italian grocery stores or online. Look for high-quality brands that use traditional production methods and high-quality ingredients to ensure the best flavor and texture. Alternatively, you can also try making your own chitarra pasta at home if you have the necessary equipment.

In summary, chitarra pasta is a unique and delicious type of pasta that adds a touch of Italian authenticity to any dish. Whether you prefer the traditional spaghetti alla chitarra, the thicker tonarelli, or the hollow maccheroni alla chitarra, there are endless possibilities for creating flavorful meals with this versatile pasta.

Origins and History: Tracing the Origins of Chitarra Pasta

When it comes to Italian cuisine, pasta is undoubtedly one of the most beloved and iconic dishes. From spaghetti to penne, there are countless varieties of pasta, each with its own unique shape and texture. One such variety is Chitarra pasta, which stands out not only for its mouthwatering taste but also for its intriguing history.

Chitarra pasta, also known as maccheroni alla chitarra, is a type of pasta that originated in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. The name “chitarra” translates to “guitar” in English, and it refers to the traditional tool used to make this pasta. This tool resembles a guitar, with strings stretched across a wooden frame.

The origins of Chitarra pasta can be traced back to the medieval times when durum wheat, the key ingredient in pasta, was widely grown in the Abruzzo region. The farmers would grind the wheat into flour, which would then be used to make pasta dough. The chitarra tool was used to cut the dough into thin, square-shaped strands, creating the unique texture of Chitarra pasta.

Traditionally, Chitarra pasta was made by hand, with the dough being rolled out and placed on top of the chitarra tool. A rolling pin would then be used to press the dough through the strings, cutting it into strands. This labor-intensive process required skill and precision, making Chitarra pasta a true artisanal delicacy.

Over the years, Chitarra pasta gained popularity not only in Italy but also around the world. Its distinctive texture, which is slightly thicker and rougher than other types of pasta, allows it to hold sauces exceptionally well. This makes it a perfect choice for hearty dishes like ragu or carbonara.

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In recent times, the production of Chitarra pasta has become more mechanized, with machines taking over the manual labor. However, there are still artisans who continue to make Chitarra pasta using traditional methods, preserving the authenticity and craftsmanship of this unique pasta.

Today, Chitarra pasta can be found in Italian restaurants and delis worldwide. It has become a symbol of Italian culinary tradition and is cherished by pasta enthusiasts for its rich history and exceptional taste. Whether enjoyed in a classic recipe or with a modern twist, Chitarra pasta continues to captivate the taste buds of pasta lovers across the globe.

How Chitarra Pasta is Made: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever wondered how the delicious Chitarra pasta is made? In this section, we will take you through a step-by-step guide on how this traditional Italian pasta is crafted. From the ingredients to the final product, you will learn the secrets behind this unique and flavorful pasta.

Gathering the Ingredients

Like any other pasta recipe, Chitarra pasta starts with a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt

Make sure to use high-quality ingredients to achieve the best results.

Mixing the Dough

Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to mix the dough. Follow these steps:

  1. Place the semolina flour in a large bowl and create a well in the center.
  2. Crack the eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Using a fork, gradually mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating more flour as you go.
  4. Once the dough comes together, transfer it onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Shaping the Pasta

Now comes the fun part – shaping the Chitarra pasta. Follow these steps:

  1. Divide the dough into small, manageable portions.
  2. Using a rolling pin, flatten each portion into a thin sheet of pasta dough.
  3. Once the dough is rolled out, place it onto a Chitarra pasta cutter, a wooden frame with strings.
  4. Press the dough down onto the strings, allowing the pasta to pass through the gaps and create long, square-shaped strands.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining dough portions.

Drying and Cooking the Pasta

After shaping the Chitarra pasta, it’s time to let it dry before cooking. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Place the freshly cut pasta on a clean, dry surface, such as a baking sheet or a pasta drying rack.
  2. Allow the pasta to dry for at least an hour or until it becomes firm to the touch.
  3. Once the pasta has dried, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Cook the Chitarra pasta for about 2-3 minutes or until al dente.
  5. Drain the pasta and it’s ready to be served.

Now you have successfully made your own homemade Chitarra pasta! Serve it with your favorite sauce and enjoy the authentic flavors of Italy.

Popular Chitarra Pasta Recipes: Discover Mouthwatering Recipes Featuring Chitarra Pasta

If you are a pasta lover, then you must try chitarra pasta. This traditional Italian pasta is named after the chitarra, a stringed instrument that it resembles. Chitarra pasta has a square shape and is known for its unique texture. Its rough surface allows it to hold sauces and flavors exceptionally well, making it a favorite among pasta enthusiasts.

1. Classic Chitarra Pasta with Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a classic Italian favorite that highlights the simplicity of chitarra pasta. To make this dish, cook the chitarra pasta al dente and toss it with a homemade tomato sauce. The sauce can be made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Top it off with some grated Parmesan cheese for a delightful meal.

2. Chitarra Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Vegetables

This recipe takes chitarra pasta to the next level by adding a burst of flavor with pesto and roasted vegetables. Roast your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, until they are caramelized and tender. Cook the chitarra pasta and toss it with the roasted vegetables and a generous amount of homemade pesto sauce. The combination of flavors will leave you craving for more.

3. Chitarra Pasta Carbonara

If you love creamy pasta dishes, then this chitarra pasta carbonara recipe is a must-try. Cook the chitarra pasta until it is al dente. In a separate pan, fry some diced pancetta until crispy. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the cooked chitarra pasta with the pancetta and egg mixture until well coated. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs and create a creamy sauce. Serve it hot and enjoy the rich flavors.

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4. Chitarra Pasta with Seafood

Seafood lovers will delight in this chitarra pasta with seafood recipe. Cook the chitarra pasta until al dente and set it aside. In a pan, sauté garlic and shallots in olive oil until fragrant. Add your favorite seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, and clams, and cook until they are cooked through. Toss the cooked chitarra pasta with the seafood mixture, and finish it off with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh herbs for a refreshing and flavorful dish.

5. Chitarra Pasta with Truffle Cream Sauce

Elevate your pasta game with this luxurious chitarra pasta with truffle cream sauce. Cook the chitarra pasta until al dente and set it aside. In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Add heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, and truffle oil to the saucepan and stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Toss the cooked chitarra pasta with the truffle cream sauce, and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for an indulgent treat.

In summary, chitarra pasta is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various delicious recipes. Whether you prefer a classic tomato sauce, a creamy carbonara, or a seafood extravaganza, chitarra pasta is sure to satisfy your pasta cravings. So go ahead and explore these mouthwatering recipes featuring chitarra pasta to experience the true essence of Italian cuisine.

Unique Variations of Chitarra Pasta

Chitarra pasta, a traditional Italian pasta, gets its name from the tool used to make it – a chitarra, which means “guitar” in Italian. This pasta is often associated with the Abruzzo region of Italy, where it originated. However, like many Italian dishes, Chitarra pasta has also evolved and developed unique variations in different regions of the country. In this section, we will explore some of the distinctive regional variations of Chitarra pasta.

1. Chitarra alla Teramana

Chitarra alla Teramana is a popular version of Chitarra pasta that hails from the town of Teramo in the Abruzzo region. It is known for its simplicity and rich flavors. The pasta is typically served with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and peperoncino (red chili pepper flakes). It is often topped with grated Pecorino cheese for an added burst of flavor. This dish showcases the true essence of Abruzzese cuisine.

2. Chitarra con Pallottine

Another unique variation of Chitarra pasta can be found in the Lazio region, particularly in the city of Rome. Chitarra con Pallottine is a delightful dish that combines Chitarra pasta with small meatballs, known as pallottine. The meatballs are made with a mixture of ground beef, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggs, and various herbs and spices. The pasta is typically served with a tomato-based sauce and topped with fresh basil leaves. This hearty and flavorsome dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

3. Chitarra al Cacao

In the region of Umbria, Chitarra pasta takes on a unique twist with Chitarra al Cacao. This variation incorporates cocoa powder into the pasta dough, resulting in a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. The pasta is typically served with a rich sauce made from porcini mushrooms, cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The combination of the cocoa-infused pasta and the savory mushroom sauce creates a harmonious blend of flavors that is truly indulgent.

4. Chitarra con le Vongole

Along the coastal regions of Italy, such as Campania and Puglia, Chitarra pasta is often paired with fresh seafood, particularly clams. Chitarra con le Vongole is a delightful dish that showcases the flavors of the sea. The pasta is cooked al dente and then tossed with a sauce made from sautéed garlic, white wine, cherry tomatoes, and fresh clams. A sprinkle of parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil complete this delectable dish.

In summary, Chitarra pasta has proven to be a versatile canvas for a variety of regional variations across Italy. From the simplicity of Chitarra alla Teramana to the indulgence of Chitarra al Cacao, each variation offers a unique culinary experience. Whether you prefer a rich tomato sauce, meatballs, or fresh seafood, there is a Chitarra pasta dish to satisfy every palate. So, the next time you come across Chitarra pasta on a menu, don’t hesitate to try one of these delightful regional variations.

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Pairing Suggestions

When it comes to enjoying Chitarra Pasta, choosing the right sauce and toppings is crucial to enhance its flavors. Whether you prefer a hearty meat sauce or a light and fresh topping, there are numerous options to explore. Here are some delicious pairing suggestions that will take your Chitarra Pasta to the next level:

1. Classic Tomato Sauce

There’s nothing quite like the classic combination of Chitarra Pasta and a rich and flavorful tomato sauce. The simplicity of the tomato sauce allows the texture of the pasta to shine through. To make it even more delicious, add some fresh basil, garlic, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

2. Pesto

If you’re looking for a burst of freshness and vibrant flavors, pesto is an excellent choice. The combination of fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil creates a luscious sauce that perfectly complements the Chitarra Pasta. Consider adding some cherry tomatoes or grilled vegetables for added color and texture.

3. Carbonara Sauce

For a decadent and indulgent pairing, try serving Chitarra Pasta with a creamy carbonara sauce. Made with eggs, pancetta or bacon, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper, carbonara sauce adds a rich and savory flavor to the pasta. This combination is a true comfort food that will satisfy your cravings.

4. Arrabbiata Sauce

If you prefer a spicy kick, opt for an Arrabbiata sauce to accompany your Chitarra Pasta. This sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, and olive oil, creating a fiery and robust flavor profile. The heat from the chili flakes perfectly balances the pasta, making it a delightful choice for spice lovers.

5. Gorgonzola Sauce

If you’re a fan of creamy and tangy flavors, a Gorgonzola sauce is a fantastic pairing for Chitarra Pasta. Made with Gorgonzola cheese, butter, cream, and a touch of nutmeg, this sauce adds a luxurious and velvety texture to the pasta. To elevate the dish, sprinkle some toasted walnuts on top for a delightful crunch.

6. Seafood Medley

For seafood enthusiasts, a medley of fresh seafood is a delightful option to pair with Chitarra Pasta. Combine sautéed shrimp, mussels, calamari, and clams with a light garlic and white wine sauce. The combination of seafood and pasta creates a harmonious blend of flavors that will transport you straight to the coast of Italy.

7. Primavera Topping

If you’re craving a lighter and more vibrant dish, consider topping your Chitarra Pasta with fresh vegetables. Create a medley of colorful veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. Sauté them with garlic and olive oil, and toss them with the pasta for a refreshing and healthy option.

8. Mushroom Cream Sauce

Mushroom lovers will adore the combination of Chitarra Pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce. Sauté a variety of mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms with garlic, shallots, and thyme. Finish it off with a touch of cream and grated Parmesan cheese for a rich and earthy flavor.

These pairing suggestions are just the beginning. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different sauces and toppings to customize your Chitarra Pasta according to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer simple and classic flavors or bold and adventurous combinations, the versatility of Chitarra Pasta allows you to create a dish that suits your palate perfectly.

What is chitarra pasta?

Chitarra pasta is a type of pasta that originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It gets its name from the traditional tool used to make it, which resembles a guitar with strings. The pasta is square or rectangular in shape and has a rough texture, perfect for absorbing sauce.


In conclusion, Chitarra pasta is a unique and traditional Italian type of pasta that is worth trying. Its name, inspired by the guitar-like tool used to make it, adds to its charm and appeal.

The square shape and rough texture of Chitarra pasta make it perfect for holding onto thick and chunky sauces, allowing for a satisfying and flavorful bite. Whether you prefer a classic tomato-based sauce or a creamy Alfredo, Chitarra pasta is versatile enough to complement a wide range of flavors.

Its traditional preparation methods and distinct taste make it a must-try for pasta enthusiasts looking for something new and exciting.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this delightful pasta variety and elevate your culinary experience with Chitarra pasta.

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