Talk about Italian cuisine and it is impossible not to mention pasta! A staple food for many, pasta is enjoyed by several people across the world and has its own variations around the globe.
From over 600 shapes and 1300 names of pasta to the grains used for making it, there are several facts about your favourite food that you might not be aware of! We bring you 10 such facts that will enlighten you and change the way you look at it!
1. Pasta’s origin is China and not Italy
It’s a widely-known fact that people consider pasta an Italian food. However, you will be surprised to know that pasta was discovered in China early as 5000 BC by Marco Polo, when he ate it at the court of Kubla Khan. The production of pasta dates back to 400 BC and you can easily find its evidence on the Etruscan tombs in the form for carvings.
2. Shapes and names of pasta
As per International Pasta Organization (IPO), which is the nodal agency dedicated to increase the pasta consumption, this food comes in more than 600 shapes. Based on different regions of countries, pasta’s name changes as well and there are 1300 different pasta names that you can find across the world.
3. Different meanings of the word ‘Pasta’
Literally meaning paste in Italian, which is made using durum wheat semolina and water or flour, semolina and water; pasta in Latin means dough pastry cake.
4. Macaroni’s transformation to pasta
A fact that many of you might not be knowing is that in the olden times i.e., before the 80’s, macaroni was not considered as pasta. It was considered as a ‘blue-collar’ down-home meal to be enjoyed at dinner. However, things changed in the 80’s and people started calling macaroni a pasta.
5. A staple diet of Kings and Beggars
In the late 17th century, Neapolitans were called macaroni-eaters or mangiamaccheroni and pasta became a staple diet for many. And because there was a limited access to meat, the large landowners of Kingdom of Nepal sold wheat at lower rates and thus, pasta became a staple food for the poor as well.
6. Originally made with hands
Before the 18th century, pasta was made with hands and you will not believe it, but the traditional Italians still make pasta with their own hands using different techniques. However, at the request of Ferdinando II, The King of Naples, Cesare Spadacinni designed a machine that could make pasta easily.
7. Pasta was originally eaten by hand
In the modern times, table etiquettes mean a lot and if by any means, you eat a Continental dish with your hands, you will be a laughing-stock. However, in the ancient times, it was a practice to eat pasta with hands as there weren't any sauces in the dish. When the tomato sauce was introduced with the pasta, it became difficult to eat with hands and so came the usage of cutlery!
8. There's a science to the shapes
As a kid, you must have asked your mother about the different shapes of pastas and the reply would have been that the shapes are appealing to the eyes. Appealing yes, they are. However, it’s not the actual reason behind the 600 pasta shapes! Each shape is good at something. Like for example, short and hollow pastas are good to go with scoops of sauces and meat chunks, while the thin pastas are best suited for thinner sauces.
9. Italy is world’s biggest market for pasta
As per a Euromonitor report, the world spent $23 billion on pasta in the year 2016, which brings up the total volume of pasta as 13 million tonnes. That’s true, so stop scrolling your eyes!
10. World Pasta Day
The obsession with pasta can be understood from the fact that there is a day associated with the food. World Pasta Day is observed on October 25!