In our figure-watching, constant dieting society it seems pasta has earned a bad reputation as an evil carbohydrate. But let us remember why pasta has persisted as a dietary staple for cultures worldwide, why it prompted director Federico Fellini to say that Life is a combination of magic and pasta.
When one thinks of pasta one thinks of Italy. Italians invented pasta right?
For a long time it was widely accepted that the origins of pasta came from Asian cultures and were introduced to the Mediterranean diet by Marco Polo on his travels. Recently though, scholars have rediscovered pastas origins in an ancient text The Book of Roger written by a geographer, Abu Abdullah Mohammed al Edrisi, in the 12th century. The text mentions the town Trabia in Sicily producing a product that we would know as pasta. Pasta became a dietary staple because it could be dried and stored for long periods of time. Though, fresh pasta only has a shelf life of a couple of days if refrigerated.
Today we now have hundreds of types of pasta in many different shapes and textures that make the combination of pasta and sauce endless. But matching the right pasta to the right sauce is an art form that takes into account the texture of the pasta and sauce and how well they combine. The pasta has to have a relationship with sauce, one that is mutually beneficial. An inappropriate match could produce a poor result with the sauce running off the pasta, and one overpowering the other. For me it is trial and error, practicing, tasting. I am on a constant search for a beautiful pairing of pasta and sauce. It is a search that allows me to revel in the different textures of linguine, vermicelli, penne, and tortellini. I throw caution to the wind, ignore our carb-obsessed society, and enjoy the luxury of a bowl full of pasta.
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