Interested in the history of pasta in Italy? Read on to discover the long history of pasta in Italy...
The one thing synonymous with Italy is Italian food and a definitive part of Italian food is pasta. Since Italians have immigrated to different countries all over the world, they have taken this quintessential food item with them to each area that they have inhabited. Apart from this, we have become accustomed to consuming pizza as well as tomato sauce from the Italian cuisine. It is interesting to note that there are many myths surrounding the origin and spread of pasta across the world.
Undated Origin of Pasta
Many children have read books on the facts that Marco Polo, a merchant from Venice had got pasta from one of his travels to China. Another version reveals that Marco Polo had actually rediscovered a food item which was already present in Roman times.
However, it was already present while he was alive and there is a lot of evidence reflecting that the lagane, or the modern version lasagna which is the pasta, existed during the Roman – Etruscan period.
It is made from the same wheat called durum as the modern-day pasta is. The original lagane is similar to the present-day lasagna but this was baked instead of being boiled like traditional pasta.
Influence of Arab Cuisine on Italian Pasta
The history of the lasagna dates back to the first century A.D., but it is not exactly pasta. This region was greatly influenced by Arab invaders and the eighth century records show that there was a lot of macaroni style pasta available in that time.
It was produced in large quantities in the city of Palermo during this time and was then introduced to Sicily. The word macaroni actually originates from a word from the Sicilian dialect, which means to prepare dough very forcefully.
Originally pasta was made with a very long and laborious procedure that took almost all day. One may notice the Sicilian recipes include Arabian ingredients like cinnamon and raisins.
From Sicily this durum wheat based noodle like product spread to the rest of the country because the durum wheat grows very well in the Italian climate. In those times you could actually see strips of pasta called macaroni, which is present-day spaghetti, literally being dried in streets from hangers and ropes suspended to keep them in the sun.
Growing Popularity Of Pasta
By the 14th century it had become a popular food item and had a long shelf life, which made it easy to carry on the journey made by ship. This is how it spread from coast-to-coast and became popular.
With the new technologies being developed constantly, the shape of the pasta changed over time. The next improvement or change in the history of pasta came when it was combined with tomatoes.
Although you could find tomatoes in Europe after the colonists had discovered the New World, it was not considered an edible plant until much later. By the middle of the 19th century tomatoes were used for a lot of recipes and this delicious combination became popular very rapidly. Today there are more than 350 varieties of pasta, which are consumed all over the world with great relish.