The Origin of Pasta

The Origin of Pasta

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You may know all about the best pizza in Arizona, but there is another wonderful, cheesy and tomato-topped Italian delicacy that is beloved worldwide: and that is the pasta.

Italian-style pasta is popular in United States, but countries all over the world have different versions of the dish. Throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, different kinds of pasta are enjoyed, leading to questions about its true origin. It is still most popular in Italy, where Italians eat about 66 to 77 pounds of the dish per year. As a huge part of their culture and cuisine, and they would love to be able to claim the invention of the food. In fact, the origin of pasta is a subject of heated debate. We, the makers of the best pizza in Arizona, are now on a mission to find out: What is the true origin of pasta? Keep reading to find out.

Myth #1

Greece has their own version of pasta (orzo) and they have their own story for how it all began – it was literally a gift from the Gods. Greek god Hephaestus was said to have created a device that produced strings of dough that was then gifted to mere mortals who used it to make pasta, a food which can only be described as heavenly. This would certainly add to the millennia-long epic rivalry between Rome and Greece, and we could definitely get behind the idea that pasta is a divine gift. Unfortunately, records show that both civilizations already had pasta before the time this device was used, so it must have originated elsewhere.

Myth #2

Many Italians still cling to the idea that pasta originated in Italy. The basis of this claim is that archaeologists found a metal pin used by the Ancient Etruscans supposedly to shape pasta. However, most researchers agree this pin could have been used for many purposes that were not pasta shaping, and other civilizations had pasta before this time period anyway.

Myth #3

Marco Polo traveled East to China in the 12th century going further into uncharted territory than any European ever had before. For two decades, he learned about silk, spices, and precious gems while charting trade routes that would be used by merchants for centuries. And, most importantly, he discovered pasta and returned with it as Italians rejoiced, changing epicurean history. At least, that is how the story goes. In reality, pasta already existed in Italy and Marco Polo simply returned with an Asian version of a food they already had.

Fact (?)

Most food historians (yes, that is a real job) agree that pasta originated in Northern Africa and was brought to Sicily in the 8th century, when Arabs invaded Southern Italy. The rest is culinary history.

So while the Italians didn’t actually invent pasta, if pasta had never infiltrated their shores we may never have experienced the delights of fettucini alfredo or pasta puttanesca or even, dare I say, spaghetti. It may not have originated in Italy, but over the centuries Italians made their own version of it and made our lives so much happier in the process. So if you’re ever looking for something other than the best pizza in Arizona, stop by NYPD for our delicious pastas. If you want more fun facts and news about Italian food, follow our blog!