Italian Food: History Of Italian Pasta

It’s hard to talk about Italian food and not mention pasta in the first sentence. Yes, this country has given us so many culinary miracles, but there’s something about pasta that makes us skip a beat every single time we have a bite.

If you’re interested to learn more about pasta in Italy and how it all began, we’re here to tell you about it. In this blog, we’ve briefly explained the history of pasta along with a few more exciting details.

Keep reading and learn the origin of pasta with Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar. And, if all this talking about Italian food makes you hungry for some, come to our place and try the best of what America has to offer.

The History of Pasta in Italy

The history of pasta in Italy is kind of a touchy subject. First, there’s a myth that Marco Polo brought pasta to the Mediterranean from China in the 13th century. However, that was debunked since it was proven that pasta existed in this part of the world way before Marco Polo and his travels.

But the exact origin of pasta still isn’t certain.

Some stories claim that the Etruscans (a pre-Roman civilization from central Italy) invented pasta. The basis for this is that a tool, which is considered to be a pasta maker, was found in one of the Etruscan tombs. Though this story is a bit shaky, many still choose to believe it.

Others, however, claim that authentic Italian pasta history begins somewhere around the 8th and 9th centuries. According to those stories, it was the Arab traders who brought pasta to this part of the world, Sicily, to be exact.

The warm climate of Sicily was ideal for durum wheat, and Italy is still one of the biggest producers of durum in the world. This sort of wheat is used to produce semolina flour and, of course, pasta.

Though the real Italian pasta history has plenty of unknowns, there are few details we can be sure of. For example, we are confident that pasta existed in Italy from the Medieval period onwards.

The literature from that time mentions pasta often, and the dishes are even featured in numerous artworks. Boccaccio’s The Decameron, from the 14th century, features pasta makers rolling macaroni and ravioli over a hill of Parmesan to a group of hungry people.

How Did Italians Eat Pasta?

It didn’t take long for pasta to take over Italy and to become consumed by everyone, from the rich to the poor. 

The poor used pasta as a valuable energy source, while the rich added various ingredients to make it more attractive for consumption. Pork belly, cow udders, and raisins are some of the most popular additions at the time.

And these features are still seen in some of the Sicilian recipes. So, don’t be surprised to try pasta with cinnamon or raisins if you find yourself in Sicily.

The popularity of pasta grew all over the country, but it was the Neapolitans that took it a bit further. By the 17th century, people from this area were known as “mangiamaccheroni,” meaning macaroni eaters. Talk about having a favorite dish.

Visit Mi’talia

To try the best pasta dishes you can find in the country, visit Mi’talia. We’ll show you how real Italian food is supposed to taste.