The History of Pasta

I’m sure you have eaten many different pasta dishes before. There are also many places where you can buy authentic pasta dishes like Grapevine Shoreditch, an Italian restaurant in Shoreditch. However, do you know the history of pasta?

Whilst many may not know this but pasta actually played significant roles within some of the greatest of classic films during the 20th century. That being those such as Goodfellas, Night at the Opera and Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.

Italian’s began the loving relationship with this epic creation whereby tortellini, spaghetti and ravioli have been household staples for many centuries. 

A simple context made with the flour of durum wheat, the name pasta derives from the pasty texture of the dough in which it is formulated from when the dough is first mixed. The names of the pasta are mostly decided through the shapes that the dough is moulded into, for example Orecchiette is the name of the ‘Ear’ shaped pasta, with Orecchio being the translation for Ear.

Often pasta when cooked fresh is best eaten right away and traditionally this is how the Italian’s would gather with their families to enjoy this delicacy amongst their loved ones on an evening.

Whilst the production process is fairly simple, the finalization can differ when it comes to shaping, from long strings, twists, tubes and spirals which are stretched and filled in over two hundred ways and all used with a combination of meats, accompaniments and sauces to create the tastiest and most flavorsome dishes known to the world.


Whilst there are several theories that have been banded around to suggest how pasta came to light in this world, one of those has bizarrely been debated that in fact Pasta came from China to Italy, which stemmed from the writings of Marco Polo who mentioned briefly something relating to a tree in which pasta was made. However, this became likely it was the sago palm, which produces a starchy food, which could potentially resemble pasta, but is not pasta.

Traditionally, pasta was originally known as the ‘food for the common man’, a painting known as ‘Macaroni Eaters’ became famous by Domenico Gargiulo, displaying three Neapolitan beggars in the 17th century eating a dish of macaroni on the street where rising meat prices and cheap wheat were shaping pasta into a staple diet essential.  Though this soon changed and it became that pasta was eventually a dish for the wealthy at high-end banquets during the Renaissance as dishes became more adventurous and exquisite with their ingredients.

As time has gone on, pasta has developed, altered and various thing have been swapped and changed to alter sweetness with savoury, sugar swapped for vegetables to ensure the nutritional balance is improved. The 19th century saw the addition of tomatoes added to the dish, thus bringing out the most iconic dish known to many ‘spaghetti in tomato sauce’ that was established around 1844.

Pasta has come a long way since the start with revolutionary pasta factories being brought in to make the art of making pasta much more easier and efficient with the kneading machine and screw press being item staples. Thus contributing to ensuring the nation gets to enjoy the most delicious tasting pasta in all parts of the world.

About Deny Smith

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