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Tips for Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Whether you’re sheeting your pasta dough through a hand-cranked pasta machine or rolling it out by hand, be sure not to roll it too thin. You want your sheet of dough to be the same thickness as the spaghetti alla chitarra are wide. This is because spaghetti alla chitarra should be “square” and have a bit of a bite to them.


1. Aim for about ⅛-inch thick pasta sheet. For hand-cranked pasta, this is usually the third or fourth setting on your machine.


2. Leave a border between your sheet of dough and the ends of the chitarra strings.

When laying the sheet of pasta on top of the chitarra, leave at least 2 inches open on the top and bottom ends of the dough. The dough will stretch out a bit when you use the rolling pin to press it through. By leaving some margin, you’ll help prevent the pasta dough from running over the edges.


3. Semolina flour is your best friend.

When rolling out the final sheet of dough, if you’re using a pasta machine, dust it with coarse semolina flour before running it through. Then, dust it again on both sides before pressing it through the chitarra strings. Once the spaghetti are cut, drag them across more semolina flour to coat each strand before setting them out on the tray.

Coarse semolina will not only prevent the spaghetti from sticking to the machine and to each other but also adds an extra layer of texture to your pasta!


4. Press it.

One of the keys to successfully using a chitarra is to apply an even amount of pressure on the rolling pin when pressing the dough through. It can be helpful to start at the end of the dough first, as they’ll help the middle part of the sheet fall through. Keep repeating the rolling motion until all the spaghetti have been cut.

 

If you are having trouble pressing the dough through, the chitarra strings may be too loose. Over time, the strings will become less taut so it’s important to tighten the strings on your chitarra. To tighten the strings, simply use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the large screws until the strings are tight again. Just be careful not to turn them too much or you might break a string!

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