Can you get more Italian than pasta? Many say that spaghetti didn’t appear on our dinner plates until Marco Polo returned from China just before the end of the 13th century. Inspired by noodles no doubt. But it seems that combining water with flour and boiling it in salty water was certainly known to the Etruscans. Some of their tombs in Cerveteri near Rome even depict surprisingly familiar utensils for working the mixture.
We may never know when and where the first pasta was made but it’s invention is certainly linked to the origins of civilization and the regular cultivation of cereals. The word itself seems to be Greek term meaning ‘flour mixed with water’. So far so good. The Romans produced their own ‘lagana’, father of today’s lasagna, and confirmation can be found in ‘De re coquinaria’, the famous collection of recipes from around the 3rd century BC attributed to Marco Gavio Apicio or ‘Apicius’.
The first documented pasta recipe appeared in the book “De arte Coquinaria per Vermicelli e Maccaroni Siciliani” by Martino Corno who was cook to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the turn of the first millennium. Dried pasta seems to have appeared two hunded years later in Trabia, Sicily, near Palermo.
It was known as ‘itrija’ which is a strong hint of Arab culinary influence and the pasta was probably prepared for ship provisions during long Mediterranean sea journeys. The word “tria” still refers to dry lasagna in Puglia today.
18th century Naples saw pasta combined with tomatoes for the very first time, the latter introduced from the New World. There followed a culinary and social revolution and the dish was soon impressing local royalty and noble families in Naples. It was also in Naples that a certain Gennaro Spadaccini of the court of King Ferdinand II invented the four pronged fork to make eating pasta easier. A genius.
By Delicious Italy.com