Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Weekend dinners lend an opportunity to take an afternoon off from running around doing errands. When the weather gets cooler, I love to spend the day making home made pasta and sauce. I found these beautiful, dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes in boxes at the farmer’s market last Sunday.

Dry Farmed Early Girls

Dry Farmed Early Girls

They were super ripe and perfect for a slow cooked Sunday sauce. I wash them well and cut in quarters. Cutting into the center rib inside the tomato I remove most of the seeds. This sauce freezes well so I prepare a large batch. I add the tomatoes, a good amount of olive oil, a few smashed cloves of garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper to a stock pot. Cover and cook on medium/low stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once the sauce is bubbling, I turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let cook down for an hour or two. When it has cooked down to a nice consistency, I add freshly torn basil leaves and another splash of good olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Tomato Sauce Cooking

Tomato Sauce Cooking

Meanwhile I prepare the fresh pasta. I use my food processor to make the dough. My general rule is 3 eggs to every 4 cups of flour, but it depends on the size of the eggs. This yields enough pasta for four people. Double the recipe for eight. Once the dough is formed I knead it until it is smooth, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest while I set up the equipment. I have an Atlas hand cranked pasta machine that flattens the pasta into sheets. Chitarra refers to the “guitar-like” strings on the tool I use to roll the spaghetti on. I got mine at Sur la Table.

Chitarra

Chitarra

Once all the spaghetti is pressed I toss it in flour and let dry out a little bit. It only needs about 3 minutes in boiling water to be beautifully al dente.

Spaghetti Drying

Spaghetti Drying

 

Toss the freshly cooked pasta in some sauce and top with chopped fresh basil and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese. It is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Buon appetito!

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