A staple dish for many families for generations upon generations, pasta is enjoyed all over the world with a variety of its own global variations. With over 600 shapes and over 1300 names, as well as a multitude of grains used for making it, the history of pasta is extensive and rich with facts you might not be aware of.
While pasta is widely considered to have originated in Italy, there’s some evidence that people of Asian descent in 2000 BC made pasta-like noodles using millet. Regardless, Italy can claim title due to pasta’s strong affinity to the territory, the evolution of regional manufacturing techniques, and a robust array of culinary combinations attributed to Italy, itself. Originally, pasta was a luxury item in Italy due to the high labor costs from kneading semolina, the hard grains left after the milling of flour. Only after the industrial revolution in Naples, when a mechanical process allowed for large scale production of dry pasta, did it become affordable and popular among common people.
Now, here are a couple of fun little tidbits for you to nibble on.
- Pietro Barilla, founder of one of the world’s leading pasta makers, is said to have had a daily quality assurance practice of dusting flour on the sleeve of his black suit. If he could blow the flour off without a trace it meant that the flour was perfect for pasta making.
- In 1957, the BBC pulled what’s consider to be the biggest April Fools Day hoax that any reputable news establishment has ever conceived. They ran a three-minute report broadcast purporting that spaghetti grew on trees. At the time, spaghetti was considered by many as an exotic delicacy.
- Did you know that a typical Italian person eats over sixty pounds of pasta per year? The International Pasta Organization claims that if Italians ate their average yearly amount of pasta in spaghetti shape, they would eat approximately 600 million kilometres of spaghetti — enough noodles to wrap around the planet 15,000 times.
- A 2013 Barilla World Pasta Day survey found that Americans’ three favourite pasta varieties are, in this order, spaghetti, penne and rotini.
- Eating pasta will make you happier! It’s true — the carbohydrates in pasta increase the body’s production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that scientists believe trigger feelings of happiness and well-being.
Pasta is much more than a meal; it’s a lifestyle. At Abrusci’s, we have over a dozen pasta dishes on the menu, including Gluten Free options! We’re proud of our community-oriented pasta cuisine, honoring the historical tradition of food as a labor of love, family, and community. As always, we are excited for the opportunity to serve and welcome you as Italians do: like family!