The chitarra was most likely invented in 1890 in the Abruzzo province of Chieti. The word means guitar and the reason for this is the piece of equipment used to make this pasta. The chitarra is a rectangular wooden frame with parallel wires running across it from top to bottom. The rolled out pasta dough is placed on the chitarra and pushed through the wires by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the dough. Pasta makers in Abruzzo release the pasta strands from the wires by ‘playing’ them as they would a stringed instrument! The resulting pasta looks like square spaghetti and has a porous texture. In Abruzzo, maccheroni alla chitarra is typically eaten with a mixed meat ragu which includes lamb and tomato sauce seasoned with peperoncino or a lamb ragu with sweet peppers or with tomato sauce and tiny veal meatballs called pallottine.
The selected semolina wheat used in this pasta is strictly of Italian origin and of the best quality, including the Senatore Cappelli variety which is renowned for cooking to al-dente. It also gives the pasta a golden color. Bronze cut pasta molds create a rough and porous texture much like homemade pasta. The low temperature drying method known as cirillo preserves the distinct texture and aroma.