Italian pasta, the Queen of the table
Surely, when thinking about italian pasta, thoughts of smoking spaghetti with tomato sauce run through your minds, as this is (apparently) indubitably perceived as the most typical italian dish... or is it ?
We will discover that together, and I assure you will have a surprise... or at least I had one when I found out the truth!
But let's go with order: I will tell you about pasta, first of all, and then we'll get to the italian pasta... yes, they're not the same! Or at least there are enough peculiarities to allow for a separate coverage of the matter.
In general, the term pasta indicates foods made from an unleavened dough of wheat or buckwheat and water: an essentially ready made staple food, which can take the most diverse shapes and that can be cooked, prepared and served with the most diverse types of sauces or ingredients.
The italian pastasciutta, of which the word pasta is often referred to as contraction, in english means "dried pasta” and indicates any general meal containing pasta.
The term itself can be traced from the ancient greek term indicating (loosely) “dough with sauce”.
Ok, enough on the etymology of the term, let's quickly see how comes that pasta is so popular, so famous and how comes that Italy is often referred to as its Country of origin.
If you listen to researchers, various experts, historians or simply fans and perform a search on the Web, you will be exposed to all sorts of evidences demonstrating that pasta (with different names and ingredients) was possibly a type of food consumed since neolithic... ca 8000 B.C.: how surprising is this ?
This is surprising, surely, but equally surely linked to a discovery that we now consider as a mere datum or tradition: agriculture was being born and cereals were probably one of the first species that our ancestors were able to domesticate: production of flour or semolina, kneading with water and drying for longer preservation purposes, we now see all this as a natural and inevitable consequence.
Broadly speaking, then, pasta is one kind of staple food that has been known, produced and eaten (in all the different varieties) pretty much throughout our Planet, even though its presence in the daily diet achieved absolute prominence in some specific places, where it has resisted (sometimes, as we will see, almost unchanged) through the millennia.
Which brings us to one of the main topic of our site (we are talking about Italian Traditions, after all!): italian pasta.
Read on by clicking on Part 2 below.
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