Delving Into The Lesser-Known History Of Pasta
Image Credit: Pasta

Pasta is inarguably one of the most delicious and elegant meals to have ever made it to our plate. From spaghetti to penne, this dish comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. In fact, it’ll come as a surprise to learn that there are believed to be more than 350 varieties of pasta available in the world.

One can only wonder if different pasta shapes have a different taste. Ask a true foodie and they will confirm that so is the case. The shape of a pasta and its texture has a big impact on the overall taste of the dish. “This is because the shape of the pasta determines how much sauce it will hold. Also, different types of pasta are cooked differently. For example, tomato sauce seems to work well with Bucatini - the round shaped pasta. Thinner sauce goes well with thin pasta shapes. For creamier sauce, it’s best to go with a heavier pasta shape. Plus, there’s the obvious difference between the store-bought pasta and handmade pasta in taste - even if they are the same shape,” says Anubhav Tyagi, a home chef from Delhi.

Did you know that the fastest record time to eat a bowl of pasta is less than a minute? According to the Guinness World Records, this feat was accomplished by Michelle Lesco (the US) at Oregano’s Pizza Bistros, Scottsdale, Arizona on September 18, 2017. So, what is the history behind this dish that captures the heart of all food enthusiasts?

The legend of Marco Polo

It is commonly believed that pasta was brought to Italy by Marco Polo on his way back to China. This claim however has been debated by historians, many of whom opine that modern day lasagna actually came from ‘lagana’, which were fine sheets of fried dough. In fact, some writings of Roman poets and Greek grammarians, dating back to as early as the 1st and 2nd century AD have a mention and recipe of ‘lagana.’ 

Source: Shutterstock

It will come as a surprise to you that pasta wasn’t eaten by cutlery before the 17th century. The reason for this was that tomatoes were introduced to Italy only in the 16th century and got integrated into Italian cuisine by the 17th century. Before such time, dry pasta was eaten by the fingers and it was only after the 17th century that pasta was relished with tomato sauce - which of course, required cutlery.

Costliest Pasta in the world

A restaurant in Manhattan, serves homemade tagliolini (ribbon shaped pasta resembling spaghetti) topped with two pounds of fresh lobster and one ounce of black truffle for a whopping $2,013 dollars (₹1,54,910). The dish is also served with veal, fried calamari and a chocolate mousse cake.