Italian like pasta
07.06.2024

Italian like pasta

Italian Sounding is everywhere, especially abroad. Being Italian is a matter of pride, and pasta is at the heart of Italian identity. We’ll share some anecdotes about how pasta has become over time an excellence of Made in Italy and the recipes that, according to us, are the most loved and imitated.

Pasta, a glorious past 

The history of pasta is ancient and millennial, dating back to the origins of civilization when man abandoned nomadic life, devoted himself to agriculture, and began to cultivate wheat. The earliest evidence from classical times dates back to the 4th century BC: Aristophanes mentions “lagan,” a dough made of water and flour, stretched and cut into strips. The same recipe also won over Cicero’s Rome, who speaks of “laganum,” the ancestor of today’s tagliatelle, a recipe that in the late imperial era did not escape Apicius, who celebrates them in his “De re coquinaria,” one of the oldest cookbooks in the world. But it was the Arab populations of the desert who introduced the drying technique, which is still one of the most important processes in production today. Drying allowed pasta to be better preserved during journeys, as the available water was not sufficient to make fresh pasta every day. The first references are found in the Arab culinary manual of the 9th century AD, which mentions “rista,” a dried pasta in small perforated cylinders, considered the ancestor of today’s macaroni. In the 16th and 17th centuries, pasta gained an undisputed place on the tables of the Peninsula, becoming the staple food of the “people.” The success of consumption also determined the refinement of its production process, with the extensive development of production machines, which made it possible to sell at an affordable price.

The most popular and beloved Italian recipes

There is no doubt that pasta dishes’ recipes are a hit on the web. There are many chefs and food bloggers who imitate, create, and spread Italian culture. It is also thanks to them that some pasta dishes have managed to make the “big leap” from regional tradition to national (and global) tables, among great classics and new trends. The most typical example is Carbonara, which has uncertain origins but has become a symbol of Roman cuisine. For purists, there is only one way to make it and 5 canonical ingredients: pasta, guanciale, pecorino cheese, egg, and pepper. The most famous Carbonara is that of Luciano Monosilio, who coined the “carbomix” and the technique of pasteurization of eggs in a water bath, elevating it from a popular dish to a gourmet recipe. And what about lasagna alla Bolognese, one of the oldest Italian pastas? The name comes from “lasanum,” an ancient kitchen container. It consists of pasta sheets alternating with Bolognese sauce, with little béchamel, but the variants are truly countless. Perhaps few know, but the real lasagna dough is green because it includes the addition of spinach in the flour and egg base. And then there are trofie al pesto, queens of Ligurian tables, an evolution of medieval dumplings made of water and flour, to which over time poor flours or other ingredients (potatoes, bread, bran, chestnut flour) have been added. In the dry version, they are made with a dough of durum wheat semolina and water. The quintessential seasoning is Genovese pesto, prepared with Ligurian basil, garlic, Sardinian pecorino cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, salt, and extra virgin olive oil from the Riviera.

Regional dishes, a precious Italian tradition 

From northern to southern Italy, passing through the center, the journey of pasta is fragrant with traditions and typical regional recipes. Speaking of Italian cuisine is really very generic, considering the varied composition of the regional cuisine of our country. And if Italian cuisine is known to be one of the best in the world, each region can speak for itself, with decidedly good results also and especially in terms of pasta recipes. Some examples? The pizzoccheri of Valtellina IGP from the Lombard tradition, bigoli in Veneto, Tuscan pici and pappardelle, bucatini all’Amatriciana, Gragnano pasta with Neapolitan ragù, Sardinian gnocchetti and fregola, Sicilian busiate. Each one more delicious than the other.