National Pasta Day
Today is National Pasta Day. Choose your favorite pasta shape, there’s over 600 of them, add your favorite sauce, and chow down! For many of us, the first sauce that comes to mind is red tomato spaghetti sauce. There’s plenty of other sauces and toppings to choose from, including alfredo sauce, clam sauce, and cheese sauce, to name a few. To celebrate this special day, it doesn’t matter what sauce you use. All that is important, is that you use pasta noodles. … sorry, no spaghetti squash today.
When we think of pasta, Italy and Italian cuisine comes to mind. Pasta has a long, long history, and it did not originate in Italy. Pasta noodles are made from dough consisting of water, flour, and sometimes other spices and ingredients. Ancient cultures were making and cooking pasta noodles long before they were introduced to Italy and other parts of Europe. Marco Polo has been erroneously credited with bringing spaghetti and pasta to Europe. Historical records show Europeans cooking pasta well before Marco Polo began his travels. Historical records also show that Arab cultures were selling dried spaghetti-like noodles in open markets in the early 1200s. The Chinese were the first to make pasta, cooking pasta noodles as far back as 5,000 B.C.
While ancient cultures were making and eating spaghetti and other pasta well before it came to Europe, it’s the Italians who popularized it in cuisines of Europe and America. It was introduced into the United States through the travels of Thomas Jefferson, who brought it back from Naples, Italy in 1789. Italian immigrants also brought it over with them to the U.S., where its popularity quickly spread.
Pasta is the Italian word for dough.