Tagliatelle alla Chitarra al Ragù d’Agnello

Rosa Cianciosi and Antonietta Argentieri are friends and neighbours in Furci, Abruzzo and they showed us how to make two pasta dishes which are popular in Abruzzo. The first is tagliatelle alla chitarra al ragù d’agnello – tagliatelle made with a wooden guitar like gadget, served with a lamb and tomato sauce.

This dish is served on Sundays and special occasions as it takes a while to cook and uses comparatively expensive ingredients like meat. I didn’t see any sheep roaming the Abruzzo countryside – they must have been still in their summer pastures – but lamb is hugely popular in this part of Italy. Rosa’s husband Mario looks after their large orto, or vegetable garden, and their chickens – so a lot of the ingredients are home grown and this of course makes the dish taste even better. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted sweeter tomatoes.

The chitarra has steel wires on both sides – one side is set thinner than the other and Antonietta used the wider set wires to make tagliatelle. Like a guitar you can ‘tune’ or tighten the wires – which is necessary after they’ve been pummelled with a rolling pin. I bought one in Furci’s ferramenta or hardware store for 13 euros and it had been locally produced, which suggests to me housewives are still using them on a regular basis. If you’re going to start making tagliatelle using hard wheat flour – it’s chewier – then it’s a worthwhile purchase. So here’s the video – I hope you enjoy it. Rosa’s recipe follows in the next post.