Rustichelle alla Teramana

Rustichelle alla Teramana
(Squared spaghetti with mini meatballs)

This must be one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time. Of course the recipe is straight from Abruzzo’s tradition, so very close to my heart. “Rustichelle” squared spaghetti dressed with intense mini meatballs tomato.

This funnily shaped spaghetti (also known as Chitarrone) from Rustichella d’Abruzzo are made with an egg base dough and they have an incredible texture which helps them holding the sauce magnetically well.

This pasta is the perfect embodiment of the Abruzzese tradition and the story behind the origins of the Rustichelle truly is a charming representation on how to carry on a family’s traditions into the future. I invite you to ream more about it here

Serves: 4/5
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Categories: Pasta / Main course

500 g of Rustichelle ‘Rustichella d’Abruzzo’
600 g of peel tomatoes in juice
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
½ celery stalk, chopped
1 sprig of marjoram or thyme
1 garlic clove
½ red chilly
4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
50 ml of dry white wine
20 g of butter
Grated cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the mini meat balls:
400 g of minced meat (usually rose veal or beef)
1 tbsp of grated pecorino cheese
1 egg yolk
Plain flour to dust
Salt, nutmeg and pepper (to taste)


For the mini meatballs mix the minced meat with the yolk and the grated cheese and season with a good pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Knead well until smooth.
Now start with the making of the meatballs by rolling little quantities of meat mix in the palm of your hands. They should be between 2 and 4 gr maximum. During the process a little drop of oil on your palms could help a little.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until golden. Dust the meatballs with flour and add them to the pan, increase the heat and toss the meatballs gently around the pan. When they start to color, add the butter and a sprig of thyme and let them caramelize for a couple of minutes. Now pour the wine in, let the alcohol evaporate for 1 minute and remove the meatballs from the pan (do not wash the pan).

In the same pan add a little olive oil and sweat the chopped onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes on low heat. Add a pinch of salt and cook until almost translucent.
Now add the tomatoes, and place the meatballs back into the sauce.
Simmer gently for about 25/30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes are broken. Season to taste and get ready to cook the pasta.

Drop the Rustichelle in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook al dente for about 14 minutes. Drain the pasta but make sure to save a mug of cooking water.
Place the pasta into the pan with the sauce and add a drop of pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce. Stir and toss the pasta in the sauce over medium heat to make sure it is well coated. Remove from the heat and plate.
Top with extra grated cheese and enjoy!!

Recipe by Danilo Cortellini

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