By: Abby Beidelman
Nothing says Italian food like pasta. Wherever Italians emerged they have brought their pasta and so today it is like an international staple. Unlike other Italian foods like pizza and tomato sauce, which have fairly recent history, but pasta may indeed have as much older pedigree going back hundreds maybe even thousands of years. Back then schoolchildren were taught that the Venetian merchant Marc Polo brought back pasta from his journeys in china. Another version told was that polo’s discovery was actually a rediscovery of a foodstuff that was once popular in Italy in Etruscan and roman times. Well Marco did bring many interesting things back to Italy from his journeys but pasta wasn’t one of them. Pasta was already there in Polo’s time, there is some evidence of an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from the same durum wheat as modern pasta called “lagane”. However this pasta was from the 1st century AD was not boiled like pasta today is. No it was cooked in an oven. Therefore ancient lagane had some similarities, but cannot be considered pasta. The southern Italian life of the 8th century would dry their noodles on lines in the streets of Naples circa. The dried noodle-like product they introduced to Sicily is most likely the origins of dried pasta. The modern word “macaroni” derives from the Sicilian term fro making dough forcefully, as early pasta making was a laborious day long process. How it was served is not truly known but many Sicilian pasta still include Arab gastronomical introductions such as raisins and spices like cinnamon.
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