L'Aquila Food & Wine
The Aquilan cuisine is renowned for its taste and simplicity. Many of its dishes originated in the surrounding countryside. Maccheroni alla chitarra, a pasta shaped like a characteristic guitar, can be found in the market stalls. Lasagne, ravioli with a ricotta and spinach filling, and spaghetti with oil, garlic and chili are dishes which require few ingredients, but are wholesome and delicious ones. Leguminous soups are the specialty of the Aquilian housewives. Among these are gnocchetti with marjoram and beans from Paganica, home-made taccozzelle with lentils from S. Stefano di Sessanio, pasta and ceci, chickpeas and pork rind, and a minestrone of fresh vegetables from the fertile Rivera area, which is next to the Fountain with the 99 Spouts. Fresh and dry mozzarellas, mountain ricotta and homemade cheeses, including the tasty burrata, can be found in local dairies.
Abruzzo has excellent sausages prepared according to ancient tradition, among which are those made from liver, the Fegato pazzo with a touch of chilli added, the Fegato dolce sweetened with honey, and the Sanguinaccio, made with blood.
Above all, one must try the lamb and pork, which is roasted, barbecued or stewed. Mutton, called castrato, is easy to find at the beginning of spring, and is deliciously barbecued on an open fire and should be accompanied by a good Montepulciano d'Abruzzo red wine.
Other noble wines are the Rosatello Aquilano, and the white Corfinio delia Valle Peligna.
Traditional sweets recipes are more elaborate. The famous Nurzia Torrone (nougat) is made with chocolate, hazel-nuts, honey and a taste of cinnamon. Biscuits called Ferratelle are also typical of the area and are hand-made with a decorated iron. A sip of Centerbe liqueur must not be missed. It has a high alcohol content, 70%, and is used to flavor sweets, ice-cream and tinned fruit.