Facts about Pasta

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1. Pasta making dates back to 13th Century
The popular tale has it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following his survey of the Far East which happened in the late 13th century. Even so, pasta can be traced back as far as the fourth century B.C, where an Etruscan tomb indicated a group of natives making what appeared to be pasta. The Chinese were making a noodle-like food as early as 3000 B.C. The first remark about pasta in a book was in the year 1154.

2. Pasta was made by hand till the 18th Century
Pasta was initially made by hand and continued to be prepared like so until the 18th century when Cesare Spadacinni designed the first pasta making machine. The design of this machine resulted from a request made by Ferdinando II, The King of Naples. Thomas Jefferson is attributed credited for bringing the first “macaroni” machine to America in 1789 when he went back home after serving as ambassador to France. The first industrial pasta factory in America was constructed in Brooklyn in the year 1848 by a Frenchman, who laid out his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.

3. Pasta is an Italian term derived from Latin
The Italian name pasta comes from the same Latin word that connotes “dough”. It also has one and the same root as the word pastry and in actuality, it was the Italian pastry makers who first spread the art of edible pastry making to the rest of Europe.
4. There are more than 600 types of Pasta
There are over 600 kinds of pasta in existence, and some have over 1300 names. In the year 2000, 1.3 million pounds of pasta were sold in American grocery stores. If one lined up 1.3 million pounds of 16 oz Spaghetti packages, it could circle the Earth’s equator almost nine times. About 2.75 million tons of pasta is made in Italy annually while the United States produces about 1.9 million tons per year. There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.

5. Top quality pasta is made from durum wheat
The durum wheat makes the best top-quality pasta. American-grown durum wheat is deemed among the best in the world. This wheat has the pick of the crop earmarked for domestic use, assuring a finished pasta product second to none in the world.

6. Pasta is a source of carbohydrates
Pasta is a good source of carbohydrates and also contains protein. Carbohydrates help fuel one’s body by giving energy that is released slowly over time. One cup of cooked spaghetti gives about 200 calories, less than one gram of total fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, no cholesterol and only one gram of sodium when cooked without salt.

7. Dried pasta increases when cooked
Most pasta falls into two categories; it is either fresh or dry. Dried pasta doubles in size when cooked and is often served with thick hearty sauces. Fresh egg pasta contains eggs, which makes it all the more tender when cooked. It is served with meat in dishes such as ravioli.

8. October is the National Pasta Month
October is national pasta month. During this month, a worldwide group known as the National Pasta Association enjoys consuming and discussing pasta, and its history.

9. Myth links Pasta to Greek mythology
There is a belief in Greek mythology that the god vulcan invented a device that made strings of dough. This mythology was the earliest reference to a pasta maker.

10. Macoroni and cheese is the most preferred pasta recipes in the US
The three most popular pasta dishes are macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognese, and lasagne. The most favored pasta recipe in the United States in the present day is macaroni and cheese. Much of the attribute for its introduction goes to Thomas Jefferson who is believed to have served it at a presidential dinner in the year 1802.

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