Margarita's International Recipes


Maccheroni alla Chitarra

maccheroni alla chitarra

When Margarita first recruited me to do the cooking for the Abruzzo region, she insisted that I make something with the Chitarra pasta. It is indeed a specialty of the region, named after the instrument used to cut the pasta. A special beechwood frame is strung with fine metal wire making it look kind of like a "chitarra" or "guitar". The resulting pasta has a distinctive square cross-section, otherwise it is very similar to spaghetti noodles. I managed to find the pasta at AG Ferrari's( and it's also available at

I decided to serve it simply with butter, mushrooms and crushed chile peppers, though it's also traditional to serve it topped with the juices from a lamb braise or spicy tomato sauce. Sprinkle with freshly grated pecorino cheese and you're in business.

Spaghetti alla Chitarra

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced (I used Crimini)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp crushed chili peppers
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano (1 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 lb cooked chitarra pasta (boiled in salted water until al dente)

    On medium heat, in a small, heavy skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and add one tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted, add sliced mushrooms. Saute for about two minutes or just until mushrooms lose their crispiness. Drain and set aside.

    In a large skillet, put the remainder of the olive oil and butter. Add garlic and stir on medium heat for about two minutes. Add mushrooms, crushed chilies and oregano and saute for about 20 seconds. Add cooked pasta, salt and pepper to taste and toss all together until well mixed. Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

    Serves 7  
    Recipe adapted from's Abruzzi Kitchen

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