Fabio Trabocchi Plays a Mean Chitarra

fiamma chitarra

You can hear him in the back room strumming... Photo: Jed Egan

One of the most fundamental tools of Italian cooking is the chitarra, or guitar, a long board strung with sharp wires used to create handmade pastas. Fabio Trabocchi, of Fiamma, has had his since he started culinary school; he bought it in Teramo, in Abruzzi, and has used it for his entire career. Its really like a guitar, he says. You have to keep the strings stretched, with the tension just right. But if you use it right, you get pasta that has a certain porosity that you could never get from a pasta machine. That makes it absorb the sauce better and gives it a rustic kind of flavor. Trabocchi uses the chitarra most frequently on Fiammas carbonara, but hes used it for hundreds of pastas over his career. Its from my home region, he tells us. Ill always use it.