Pasta alla Chitarra with Venison-Pear Ragu

 

My brother was kind enough to carry this Chitarra all the way from some small Italian town. Apparently it was quiet a chore to locate a Chitarra even in Italy. So thanks to him and to my cousin (who actually paid for it) I get to make Pasta alla Chitarra. For the dough I went with my usual and traditional recipe using 1 egg for 100 gr of flour. I already knew I was going to serve it with a rich and gamey, albeit not traditional, ragu. With that in mind I mixed the flour a bit and used some semolina and some whole wheat in addition to the all-purpose flour. This gave the noodles a very good texture and flavor.

The dough is rolled a little bit thicker than normal (to setting 5 on the pasta machine). Then the sheets of dough get cut and stretched a bit more on the chitarra’s strings. So we end up with slightly thick perfectly rectangular noodles.

The ragu recipe is straight from Marc Vetri’s “Il Viaggio Di Vetri” book. First I made a sausage with venison and wild hog meat along with a host of spices and thyme. That is then cooked with red wine, water and parmesan rinds for a couple of hours to make a rich ragu. Towards the end of the cooking time, thinly sliced pears are sautéed and added to the sauce. It’s an excellent combination of flavors with the fruit working very well with the rich and slightly funky sausage.

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