Updated: Oct 30, 2021
Carb lovers of the world unite because it's World Pasta Day, and I cannot think of a better holiday on the calendar!
What began when 40 pasta producers from around the world gathered to hold the globe's first World Pasta Congress in 1995 has transformed into a worldwide celebration honouring one of the most adaptable and delicious foods there is. Now every year, on October 25, we think about one thing only: making and eating pasta!
Actually, who are we kidding, we think only about making and eating pasta every day, but it's nice to have an official day for it.
Here's something about pasta you may not realise…
Contrary to popular belief, pasta was not introduced to Italy via Asia. According to Carol Field's foreword in the Encyclopaedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini De Vita, 'Scholars long ago exploded the myth that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China, observing that Sicilians were eating homemade pasta long before he was born.'
Yes, it's true! Pasta is genuinely Italian. In Italy, pasta can unify or segregate a community, and its history is much richer than you can imagine.
'Pasta may be the country's preeminent food, but that doesn't make it a unifying dish. Indeed, for something that begins with such simple ingredients— flour, water, salt, and sometimes eggs— it is both astonishing and gastronomically thrilling to realize that those few basic elements are formed into a dazzling variety of shapes, some with fillings and some not, and then tossed with a wide range of sauces. Unifying? If anything, the hundreds of divergent pasta shapes accentuate Italy's regional differences and draw attention to the distinctions that define precise local identities.'
– Carol Field, The Encyclopaedia of Pasta
Pasta is more than just a bowl of spaghetti with some meat sauce on top. If you didn't know, the shapes are named from the region where they were created or what the shape translates to in Italian. For example:
· Spaghetti — Cord
· Linguini — Little Tongues
· Vermicelli — Little Worms
· Conchiglie — Shells
· Rotini — Spirals
· Fettucine — Small Ribbons
· Ravioli — Little Turnips
· Capellini — Fine Hairs
· Fusilli — Little Spindles
· Cannelloni — Tubes
· Tortellini — Little Cakes
· Penne — Quills
· Rigatoni — Short, wide fluted tubes
· Lasagna — Broad, sometimes ruffled, ribbons of pasta
Pasta can be short or long, handmade or factory-made, stuffed or not, floating in broth or tossed with sauce. It can be made of durum wheat or soft-wheat flour with eggs and/or water. For each shape, there is a recommended sauce (sometimes more than one option), the recipes of which have emerged from local communities.
These days, we have access to many ingredients, and the recipes have evolved over the years to become less traditional and more creative. But in earlier times when people were poorer, and ingredients were fewer, sauces and stuffing often relied on the imaginative use of whatever grew wild in the fields or was left in the cupboard.
To fully celebrate this incredible 'food group,' I will be sharing a series of how-to videos and posts called:
THE A-Z OF MAKING PASTA SHAPES
Follow along on Instagram @_pastajourney_ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pastajourney
Each week I will share how to make a particular pasta shape, starting today (on World Pasta Day) with A for Agnolotti.
Want to find out more and the secret to a great Agnolotti del Plin?
You can find my recipe here.
Tune in to @_pastajourney_ social posts and stories to discover the best pasta recipes and how to perfect the shapes.
I'll also be sharing the interesting history of each pasta, the traditional ingredients and how to ensure that after they're cooked, your palette is dancing from a flavour burst, leaving you wanting more.
Each week you will learn:
How to pair pasta with the right sauce
How to shape and fold each type of pasta, and what flours to use
Where to purchase the right pasta making tools (hint: it's at Constante Imports in Preston, VIC)
The region of Italy each shape of pasta is from plus excellent restaurants recommendations from the area
Where to eat each pasta in Melbourne
The A-Z of Making Pasta Shapes series wants to celebrate all handmade pasta shapes according to the tradition, so if you want to know more about a pasta shape, just put the name in the comments.
Whether you prefer garganelli over gnocchi or cannelloni over cappelletti, you'll love this series.
As Federico Fellini says: 'Life is a combination of magic and pasta' so why not get involved by learning new skills and celebrating World Pasta Day with Pasta Journey!
We hope to see you online.
Stay in touch with me via the Pasta Journey Contact Page