It’s hard to imagine going to an Italian restaurant and not having a variety of pasta dishes available. Pasta is featured in many different ways at Mangia Brick Oven Pizza and just about every other Italian restaurant in the US and abroad. What made this simple wheat and flour based concoction so popular and how did it come to be? That’s a question often asked, which will garner a variety of answers.
The Beginning of Pasta
There are a few myths surrounding the origins of pasta. There are examples of similar items to lasagna in Greece and the middle east as early as the 1st and 2nd century AD, but pasta with the traditional ingredients of semolina, wheat flour, egg, and water has it’s start in the 14th century of Italy—and more specifically—Sicily due to its easy storage. The myth that Marco Polo brought it back from China is believed to be a story created for advertising in the early 20th century.
At this time, pasta was eaten dry with the hands and stored dried. Here’s a fun fact, while most of us can’t imagine eating pasta without tomato sauce or pesto, that wasn’t possible until at least the 18th century when tomato sauce was invented. Before that it was served dry. The ability to store it dry and boil it for a meal in a matter of minutes made it ideal for long voyages at sea, which led to it becoming popular in other countries by as early as the 15th century.
What began as a small simple item has evolved and become a staple across the globe, but still has its home in Italy where the average person eats about 60 lbs. of pasta a year! You can get dried or fresh pasta easily in America and there are now over 300 different kinds of pasta from long, stringy ropes and fat noodles to tiny balls of dough used in soups. There are hundreds of different ways to prepare and serve pasta today, which makes it such a versatile meal and base for any dish. We even have gluten-free pasta at Mangia Brick Oven Pizza so feel free to visit one of our three locations in New Jersey today and try one of our delicious pasta dishes.