Posted by: lisetta | September 7, 2008

Saffron spaghetti alla chitarra

Reconnected with a simple truth tonight: kneading and rolling homemade pasta soothes my soul. 🙂 

Have wanted to try making saffron spaghetti ever since first seeing it on L’Oca’s menu last month.  Have already explained the pasta-making process, so here are a few poorly-lit pics of key moments:


Spaghetti alla chitarra means, literally, “guitar spaghetti”. Unlike its industrial cousins, this square-shaped spaghetti was traditionally made by rolling out sheets of fresh pasta over tightly strung wires (like the strings on a guitar). My handy Imperia pasta machine cuts it for me, thankfully. 

Mistakenly thought that mixing powdered saffron with the beaten egg would flavor the pasta more than it did. I ate it with the simplest of sauces: burro e parmigiano, hoping that once the saffron flavor was in my mouth an idea for its future sauce would come to me. Plan failed, like most of my harebrained ideas, but, hey, at least the color was pretty! Luca is not surprised that the saffron flavor in my homemade spaghetti doesn’t stand out, reminding me that spinach pasta, although green, rarely tastes like spinach. Hmm. Live and learn. 

In other thoughts, why do we wake up with songs in our head? And what messages are they bringing to our conscious minds? Singer songwriter Emily Saliers, who wrote Collecting You, poetically synthesizes even the most complicated inner worlds into a melodious work of art:

I could paint you in the dark Cause I’ve studied you with hunger like a work of art These are very secret days I collect my information then I stowe it all away   Call me when you breeze through to your appointments The work you do Call me, I’m collecting you    The pleading prayer and hairshirt sting My hairtrigger love and faulty spring Motivation smokes a name, but I don’t like that smell applied to me so blindly just the same     Call me When you breeze through to your appointments the work you do Call me I’m collecting you   Turning up my collar to an unseasonal chill you ask a favor, you know I will The rain comes a surprise we fly across the railroad ties I feel the danger the foolish thrill oh yes I will    What it will or won’t be then The shutter pre development the ink full in the pen Mind the mind’s eye’s trickery You might picture killer beautiful much more than it might be    Call me tell me what you’re up to what you’ll do Call me I’m collecting you    I would be foolish to think that I could turn it off and stay alive The way I live when you switch on hand on the dimmer, give me just a glimmer Give me just a shadow hope around the edges, agony and rapture forever uncaptured    Take these secrets to your grave Drug across your landscape and buried in your cave You’re piling up and out of sight But trying to add it up just feels like counting shades of light     Call me when you breeze through to your appointments what you must do Call me I’m collecting you     Hang it in my window let it complicate my view The separation the glass of you But I can paint this picture any way that I see fit The art of pain the subject sits unmoved



  1. I remember you teaching me how to make pasta. Also remember it was a lot more chaotic than those photos. Mainly because I managed to completely cover myself in flour. Still use the Italian apron actually. And in fact it has become somewhat of a tradition that anyone new in my kitchen will have to wear the apron and be photographed in it.

  2. And to think that I no longer even *have* an apron! Your earlier blog comment inspired me to make homemade pasta again, Martin. Thanks for reminding me how great I was/am. 🙂

    When you return to the East Coast, my door is open …. and I hope you find a big beautiful Pittsburgh kitchen that I can come and visit. Get a gas stove! I can’t tell you how tired I am of cooking on electric.

  3. I don’t suppose Luca would give up his secret on how to make the pasta actually taste like saffron?

  4. I think the secret would be to either use lots more saffron in the egg mixture, or more surely, dress the pasta with a saffron sauce. Luca doesn’t make his own pasta! (Nor does he realize how delicious mine is.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: