Spaghetti alla chitarra with basil-mint pesto and baked ricotta
If you would like to surprise your family or guests with a very special pasta dish, I would highly recommend this recipe from Abruzzo
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20mins
Cook Time 20mins
Resting time 30mins
Total Time 1hr10mins
Course Main Course, main dish, Pasta
Cuisine Abruzzo, Italia
Spaghetti alla Chitarra
400gdurum wheat flour
250gricottasheep’s ricotta, prefered
1lemongrated skin, organic
1lemongrated skin, organic
For the spaghetti alla chitarra
Sprinkle the flour on a work surface. Form a hollow in the middle and let the beaten eggs slide into the hollow. Mix the flour and egg with your hands from the inside out and knead until you have a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes (not in the refrigerator). Then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough 3 mm thin and cut out squares the size of the pasta cutter (approx. 20 x 60 cm). Place the dough squares on the chitarra and press them through the fine strings with the rolling pin. Dust the spaghetti with a little flour on a kitchen towel, possibly sprinkling the towel beforehand.
A note: Spaghetti alla chitarra can also be purchased as ready-made pasta. However, they taste much better fresh.
For the baked ricotta
Pre-heat the oven to 200° C (upper and lower heat). Finely chop the chilli pepper, removing the seeds first. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the ricotta flat on it. Grate the skin of the lemon over the cream cheese and sprinkle it with chilli. Finally, sprinkle with honey. Let the ricotta caramelise in the hot oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown. If you cannot get sheep's ricotta, young feta is a suitable alternative in terms of taste.
For the basil-mint pesto
Roast the pine nuts in a pan without fat. Mix with the mint and basil leaves and the juice of half a lemon and a little olive oil. Season to taste with salt. If you want to avoid the pesto going dark, it is better to crush the herbs in a mortar. While doing so, press the herbs against the walls of the mortar in one direction with the pestle and at the same time turn the mortar in the opposite direction.
Cook spaghetti in plenty of salted water until al dente. Remember that with fresh pasta this only takes a few minutes. Drain and keep some of the pasta water. Mix the spaghetti with the pesto. If the pasta is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water. Crumble the baked ricotta over the spaghetti alla chitarra. Before serving, enhance with some grated lemon zest and virgin olive oil.
Pesto with pistachios: You could also try replacing the pine nuts with peeled, salted pistachios. This gives every pesto an unusual touch of finesse and an even more intense colour.