Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Girl and Her Chitarra

3 cups of flour, 6 eggs, and a couple of hours later . . . .

Cutting Pasta with a Chitarra

Prepare pasta dough as demonstrated in my previous article Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket . . . .

Cut each sheet of dough into 4 pieces to fit the chitarra strings. If you want uniform pasta, cut your sheet into a rectangular shape. I don't mind if my pasta is assymetrical (personally, I think that is part of the charm of food from scratch) so I simply cut my pasta into quarter circles (quarter ovals?).

Flour the sheets of dough liberally, as though dredging fillets of fish or chicken for pan frying, and shake off the excess. I discovered quickly that the flour was my friend and not to be afraid of it. Too little, and the pasta stuck to the strings and created a mess.


Once the sheets of pasta are on the chitarra, roll pin over the sheet, firmly pressing down. Once the pasta is pushed into the strings, continue moving the pin over the pasta, but in long, smooth pushes, instead of rolling.


I plucked at the strings with my fingers, and tapped with the end of the rolling pin, to remove any stubborn strands of pasta.


Remove the tray from the chitarra. At this point you can either slide the pasta directly in boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Or lay out to dry. Optimally, you would use pasta drying sheets, basically a mesh frame, so that the air can circulate on both sides of the pasta. As I don't have the pasta drying frames, I just laid the pasta out on cookie sheets, etc.




From Scratch -- The photos

I made a large batch of pasta to last throughout the week. I am letting the pasta dry completely for 24 hours before I store it. When I store it, each layer of pasta will be separated by paper towels in a box. If the pasta has any moisture remaining in it, and is sealed tightly in a container, mold will develop. I found this out the hard way! Pasta dried this way needs to be handled carefully, as it will become brittle and break if handled carelessly.

As my chitarra didn't come with directions I found this article at, My New Italian Chitarra Pasta Cutter, very useful.

Pasta tossed with sauteed onions, anchovies, bread crumbs, dill, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and olive oil.

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