Pasta was first introduced to Sicily by the Arabs and not actually brought to italy by Marco Polo from China as is often thought.
Dry pasta was once very expensive in Italy becasue of the time it took knead the semolina to a dough by hand. After the industrial revolution in Naples it could be made by machine on a much bigger scale so became the inexpensive food it is today.
FUN FACTS AND FIGURES
- In 1957 the BBC did an April fool's day joke on television claiming that spaghetti grey in long strands on trees and was harvested by hand. At this time pasta was quite exotic in the UK so rather a lot of viewers beleived this joke.
- There are more than 600 different pasta shapes and they all have different textures and ways of suiting and holding sauces.
- There are some great pasta names such as; spaghetti meaning string, Vermacelli meaning small worms, Farfalle meaning butterflies, Orechiette meaning small ears, Linguine meaning little tongues and Ravioli meaning little turnips.
- In Italy only a fork is used to eat spaghetti and you roll it against the side of your plate. It was the Americans who started the trend for using a fork and a spoon when eating this dish.
- Italian pasta exports counted for 41 billion euros in 2017.
- 1 in 4 plates of pasta eaten anywhere in the world is Italian.
- More than 6000 companies and 30,000 people work in the pasta industry in Italy.
- Most pasta is made with semolina or durum wheat though some can be made from rice or corn.
- Spinach, pumpkin and tomatoes are often used to colour pasta.
- Pasta should be served 'Al Dente' which means 'The Tooth' as it should have a little bite to it and not be too soft.
- The most popular pasta dishes are spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne and macaroni cheese.
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Let's Make Pasta!
Try this super simple recipe using only eggs and flour and make your own pasta.
- 6 large free range eggs
- 600g tipo 00 flour
- Place the flour on to a wooden board (the traditional way) or into a large bowl (less messy)
- Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs one at a time
- Whisk the eggs with a fork untill smooth
- Using the tips of your fingers start to mix the eggs with the flour just a little at a time until it all comes together as a dough.
- You must knead this to develop the gluten within the flour so the pasta will not be floppy.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it into the fridge for half an hour.
- Now you need to knead it again stretching, bashing and pulling it until the dough is all silky and smooth.
- Dust your work surface with the same flour and taking small pieces use a rolling pin roll out as thin as possible. Ideally you should have it so thin you can read a newspaper through it!
- Cut into long straight lines and cover with a damp tea towel if you are going to use it now or hang it up to dry to create dried pasta like you buy in the shops.
- Heat up a big pan of water and bring to the boil then add salt and the pasta and cook at a boil for 2 - 4 minutes for fresh pasta and longer for dried.
- Drain and serve with the sauce you like best.
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Check out our Pinterest Board for great pasta recipes.