Scrumptious, Sophisticated, Simple Recipes That Enlighten Your Taste Buds!

Italian Pride: Portions of Pasta’s Past

Italian Pride: Portions of Pasta’s Past

zesterdailySince most all of my recipes will be centered around Italy this week, today, I would like to share a bit about pasta; its origin, uses and soon some of my fondest childhood memories surrounding them.

Italian Immigrant Children Selling Drying Pasta 

“Nothing says Italy like its food, and nothing says Italian food like pasta. Wherever Italians immigrated they brought their pasta along, so much so today it can be considered a staple of international cuisine.

Photo of Aberto Sordi…Scene from the film “Un Americano a Roma”

Unlike other ubiquitous Italian products like pizza and tomato sauce, which have a fairly recent history, pasta may have a much older lineage, going back hundreds -if not thousands- of years. Unraveling the long and often complex history of this dish we have to look at its origins and some of the myths surrounding it.

“Marco Polo Voyage”photo source:

It has been said that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo brought back pasta from his journeys to China. Some may have also been told that Polo’s was not a discovery, but rather a rediscovery of product once popular in Italy among the Etruscans and the Romans. Marco Polo might have done amazing things on his journeys, but bringing pasta to Italy was not one of them: noodles were already there in Polo’s time.

“Taverna Montisi” Tomb of the Leopard

There is undeniable evidence of an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from the same durum wheat used to produce modern pasta: it was called “lagane” (origin of the modern word for lasagna). However this type of food, first mentioned in the 1st century AD, was not boiled, as it is usually done today, but oven baked. Ancient lagane had some similarities with modern pasta, but cannot be considered quite the same. The country will have to wait a few centuries for its most popular dish to make a further culinary leap forward.”

In my next historical post about pasta, we will delve further into the mysteries surrounding one of our most beloved Italian staple dishes. With some wonderful recipes embedded in between!

Story adapted from Justin Demetri’s “History of Pasta”

Related Posts

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah Pane! & a Quick Ciabatta Recipe

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah Pane! & a Quick Ciabatta Recipe

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah pane…“A bread by any other name would smell as sweet.  I can sense Sir William Shakespeare rolling over in his grave as I write this…  Today, I want to briefly delve into a little history of another Italian staple; […]

Northern Italian Peasant Fare: Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Northern Italian Peasant Fare: Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Chicken

This is a quintessential example of vintage Northern Italian Peasant fare. Since we have fountains of fresh rosemary flourishing in our Arizona garden and are always searching for ways to put this pungent, woody, citrusy herb to good use, I decided to showcase a Mama Carmela classic. This luscious, lemony, […]

19 thoughts on “Italian Pride: Portions of Pasta’s Past”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: