Pasta has been a favorite among families all over the world for many years. An interesting fact about pasta is that it’s been eaten by people from different cultures for several centuries. It is utilized in different cuisines even today and enjoys the status of being one of the most loved dishes around the globe. This means the history of pasta is a long story detailing different types that sprouted up around the world.
If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of this versatile food item, or what its various forms are called, you’re not alone. With so many different pasta dishes on our menu, we wanted to know the history as well, and put our curiosity to rest.
What Is Pasta?
Pasta is the collective name for a type of food item made from wheat flour and water, and sometimes egg. When you mix these ingredients in the right quantities, you get dough. The dough is then rolled out and cut into different shapes.
Pasta is generally cooked in boiling water before being served with either a light or heavy sauce. Its different shapes and weight are not just for show – they help impart a unique taste to the dish as each type of pasta has a suitable sauce to go with it.
Thicker or sturdier pasta goes well with heavy or creamy sauces, while delicate pasta fares well in a lighter sauce that keeps it from losing its texture. Given the huge assortment, it isn’t uncommon to wonder about the differences between its various types. From spaghetti to penne, different types of pasta are popular in America, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. So, sit back, relax, pour yourself a glass of wine, and read on.
The History of Pasta
The history of pasta can be recorded back through several cultures and geographically dispersed regions. The dish goes back around 3,500 years with its presence being documented across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. However, despite its various mentions in numerous texts, pasta has been indisputably and unanimously associated with Italy.
Pasta’s earliest origins are believed to belong in China, way back during the Shang Dynasty (1700 – 1100 BC). It is said that during that era, pasta was made with either wheat or rice flour. Africa also had its own version made from the kamut crop. It was also a part of the ancient Greek diet in the first millennium BC.
The History of Pasta In Italy
As far as Italy is concerned, pasta finds mention in as early as the fourth century BC. In fact, evidence has been unearthed that suggests that it existed during the Etruscan civilization in regions now known as Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany. This discovery certainly blew away the theory that suggested it was Marco Polo who introduced pasta to Europe upon reaching there after his adventures in the Far East.
As Italian culture thrived during the Renaissance, so did its prominent culinary art form, pasta. In fact, it became a key food item in Rome and Florence by the 14th century. In the following centuries, pasta became available in dried form and was sold in shops, which skyrocketed its popularity. By the 19th century, it had made a prominent place for itself in Italian cuisine. With Italian cuisine evolving all the time, the wide variety and intricacy of pasta dishes have come a long way too. And even though the Italians don’t have bragging rights for inventing pasta, they certainly have taken to it with a generous dose of enthusiasm, passion, and ingenuity.
10 Different Types of Pasta You Should Definitely Try
Today, you’ll find over three hundred different types of pasta. Here are the 10 most popular types.
Thanks to its pretty bow-tie-like shape, it is also known as bow-tie pasta. It has a good capacity for holding sauces because of the crinkle at its center. Farfalle pairs nicely with sauces that have hints of white wine and lemon. It also works well in salads and oven-baked dishes.
Fettuccine is flat, wide, and long pasta that is used in dishes made with cheese-based sauces. From alfredo to carbonara, this is the noodle you want in that delectable creamy base.
This is another flat pasta that looks like fettuccine, but is larger and cut into a broad ribbon shape. It is traditionally served with rich, meaty sauces, and is well-known to be a winter food.
This one is a classic and a favorite throughout America. Its long, thin, cylindrical shape makes it easy to twirl around the fork and eat. Needless to remind you that Spaghetti Bolognese is a popular dish loved all around the world. This pasta works well with both creamy and tomato-based sauces.
Penne refers to hollow, bite-sized pasta, cut at an angle. Its texture can be smooth or have ridges, which is great for holding sauces. It works especially well in baked dishes made with meat and vegetables.
This pasta is cut short and straight, with ridges along its length. To put it simply, it resembles a tube. Rigatoni pairs exceptionally well with pesto, a delicious sauce made with basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and oil.
Lasagne refers to the large, flat sheets of pasta used to make the dish, rather than the dish itself. It is a layered delicacy made with these unique noodles, meat, vegetables, and bechamel. Lasagne sheets may sometimes have rippled edges. They can be used fresh as well as dried.
This is a stuffed pasta that’s traditionally made with ricotta cheese, green leafy vegetables (like spinach and parsley), butter, and herbs. Another common filling used in some Italian regions is made using pumpkin pulp and amaretti biscuits.
It is said that when you take the best qualities of fettuccine and spaghetti and combine them, you get linguine. When you look at it, it’s almost as thin as spaghetti, but it’s also flat like fettuccine. The best thing about it is that it works great with a variety of sauces.
These are small shells, typically made from semolina. They look like tiny hot dog buns and are usually cooked with garlic and broccoli.
Explore the Different Pasta Dishes at Rikasa
If you’re looking for an elegant fine-dining restaurant in Pittston, Rikasa is the place to be! We have a beautiful dining room perfect for a romantic dinner for two, a family get-together, or a celebration with friends.
Drop in and explore our menu for some of the most delicious meals and the best wines. Our list of different pasta dishes is sure to rouse your tastebuds and get your appetite going. Call 570-362-7777 or make an online reservation at Rikasa today!