1. Make the pasta and let it rest
2. While the pasta is resting, blanch and cut tomatoes, slice garlic and mince shallots
3. Roll and cut pasta and let it dry a minimum of 15 minutes up to 3 hours
4. Just before serving, fill a large pot with water and 1 teaspoon of salt to cook pasta, bring to a boil over high heat
5. Make the sauce
6. Boil pasta about 1 to 2 to minutes, test a strand to see if done, drain pasta and add to sauce
31/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Mound the flour into a well in the center of a wooden cutting board and add the eggs to the center. With a fork blend the eggs and the olive oil in the center of the well slowly incorporating the flour from the sides. When the dough starts to come together into one solid piece remove from the board and scrape off any bits of flour that remain on the work surface. After cleaning the work surface, lightly flour the board and knead the dough with the palm of your hands for about six minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest on the counter for a least half an hour before rolling to desired shape.
Sauce for Pasta
2 cups fresh tomatoes (about 5 medium) peeled, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon butter
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
12 basil leaves, torn or cut julienne
To blanch the tomatoes: Fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside. Fill a 2 or 3-quart saucepan half way with water. Bring to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds and remove to the ice water to stop the cooking. As soon as the tomatoes are cool, you can easily peel the skins off with a knife. Slice tomatoes into half lengthwise. Use your thumb to scoop out all the seeds and juice. Cut into thin strips, lengthwise ¼-inch thick and set aside until ready to make the sauce.
In a large sauté pan, toast the garlic and shallot in the olive oil over low heat until the garlic begins to lightly brown. Add one ½-cup ladle of the salted pasta water to the pan to stop the browning. Add the tomatoes and butter to the pan and allow to simmer until the pasta is ready. Make sure to season the sauce with salt and pepper and then add the pasta to the sauce. Allow the pasta to cook in the sauce so that the starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce as well as the sauce to adhere to the pasta. Finish by adding the basil to the pasta toss with more olive oil and serve.
Cooking Tips from Chef Chris:
Make sure to never refrigerate the fresh tomatoes.
Allow the fresh pasta after being cut to dry on the work surface before storing or cooking.
Make sure to add the basil at the last minute to the sauce so it will stay green.
When preparing such simple recipes it is extremely important to source out the freshest and highest quality ingredients from the eggs to the tomatoes for these types of dishes to be successful.
Pasta alla chitarra is a specialty of the Abruzzo Region of Italy. It is a flat, square shaped pasta, typically made with eggs, and has a shape somewhat similar to fettuccine.
The pasta is made with a metal stringed device called a chitarra.