The word Chitarra in Italian means Guitar. Spaghetti all Chitarra is actually referred to as square Spaghetti. The “chitarra” is the tool used to make the pasta using strings resembling those of a guitar. I paired it with a sauce made from Onions, Fennel, Roasted Peppers Celery, Swiss Chard and Tomatoes. You will need:
1 to 2 Large Onions
1 Large Bulb Fennel
4 Large Red Peppers
6 to 8 Stalks Celery
1 to 2lbs Swiss Chard
1-2 28oz Cans San Marzano Tomatoes I use Cento
1-2 16 oz Cans Stewed Tomatoes I use Delmonte Original with celery and onion.
1 to 2 lbs Spaghetti alla Chitarra I use Maurizio (imported bt Cento) or any other Italian Brands
Salt, Pepper and Crushed Red Pepper to taste.
I like lots of vegetables but you could cut back or adjust your amounts or substitute Kale or a mix of Kale and Swiss chard. You can also use 1 can of San Marzano and 1 can of Stewed tomatoes for 1lb of Pasta.
Start by roasting your peppers and then set aside to cool. You can do them on a grill, top of stove (gas) or in the oven. Let the skins get charred black and then cool and then peel off skin and slice into strips. Don’t rinse, rather wipe with a paper towel if you cant get all the charred skin off . Rinsing washes away the smoky flavor. I also do no recommend putting them in a brown bag as this steams away some flavor.
Next slice Celery, Onion and Fennel into strips and saute in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (about 4 Tbls) Slice Celery on an angle to get a slice similar in size to Onion and Fennel.
Add the Roasted Peppers to the Celery, Onion and Fennel and saute the mixture till the Swiss Chard wilts. Then add the tomatoes either crushing with your hands of cutting in chunks. Do the same with the Stewed Tomatoes. Please note that San Marzano Tomatoes are softer and will crush with your hands. They are a superior taste and well worth the extra cost. Now season to taste with Salt, Pepper and some Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. Cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or while pasta is cooking and then mix some with the pasta and serve the rest on the side. It is easier to get the vegetables that way. Pass the Pecorino Romano cheese and Crushed Red Pepper to those who like it spicy. You can also drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive oil on each individual dish if they like. The smoky sweet flavor from the Roasted Peppers is so delicious when combined with the Celery, Onion, Fennel and Swiss Chard. A delicate taste, with the star of the dish being the Spaghetti alla Chitarra. I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we do!