The squared edges on Setaro’s spaghetti chitarra are your first clue that this is not your usual spaghetti. This geometric shape is a specialty in the southern province of Abruzzo, where it is made with a wooden frame strung tightly with wires that is called a chitarra (literally "guitar"). After pressing the dough into the wires using a rolling pin, the pasta maker “twangs” the strings as if they were playing a guitar to shake the finished pasta loose. Invented in the late 1800s, it’s a deceptively simple way to create such a mathematically precise shape. While it remains a favorite in Abruzzo, spaghetti chitarra has found fans across Italy for its ever-so-slightly rough texture and hearty versatility.
Since 1939, the Setaro family have been making pasta on a winding street in Torre Annunziata in Naples. Their factory is on the same street, in fact, where Giada's grandfather once made his own pasta. The semolina flour they use is minimally processed, creating a more flavorful product than those commonly found in the U.S. The company air-dries its pasta in the cool, salt-tinged breezes that blow in through wild rosemary bushes from the Mediterranean coast, a practice that makes for a delightfully chewy finished product.