The History of Pasta
The History of Pasta
The origin of pasta really depends on your definition. The ancient Etruscans, who were around from about 900BC, combined and cooked a combination of cereal, grain and water to make a paste. Some consider that an extremely basic form of pasta. However, if we think about the delicious dishes we enjoy today, it’s best to jump forward a few centuries.
As with most long-existing foods, there are a few stories about pasta's origin. A common story, but one that’s been debunked, dates pasta back to the 13th century and Marco Polo. The myth says that Polo travelled back to Italy from China with a bag full of pasta.
In truth, this was one big misinterpretation of some of Polo’s writing. Historians believe that he was either talking about the sago palm tree, which produces something that looks a bit like pasta, or that he was simply commenting on some Chinese noodles that reminded him of actual pasta from his homeland.
As we move forward through time, there are various references to different pasta types. In ancient Rome they had laganas which resemble the lasagne sheets we love today. We then find maccheroni in the 12th century and fidelli (similar to spaghetti) in the centuries after.
Thankfully, things get a bit clearer when we reach 17th century Italy when pasta production took off in Naples. The Neapolitans took advantage of their perfect pasta drying climate to create sheets and sheets of pasta that were enjoyed by pretty much everyone. From richer people who would include the pasta sheets in their dinner recipes, to less wealthy people who would simply add a dash of olive oil and cheese.
Further into the 18th century, production got tonnes easier with the help of specifically engineered machinery. These machines enabled them to create different shapes of pasta - and these shapes got even more refined when we move into the 19th century as production methods improved. It was super quick to make, and relatively cheap, which meant pasta was exported to and produced throughout the rest of Italy. This exportation became even easier at the advent of dried pasta in the 1900s.
Pasta swept through other European nations and over to America in the 20th century. In fact, the USA became the largest pasta market outside of Italy. And that influenced cultural touchpoints too, as pasta started to appear in everything from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955) to Warhol’s Spaghetti is So Slippery (1958).
And the story doesn’t end here. Pasta is still produced in different ways now - such as gluten free pastas and those suitable for other dietary needs.
Our chefs are always working on new and exciting pasta dish recipes, ready to add to our menu. After all, we’ve come along way from drying pasta sheets in the sunshine.
To taste some of our latest creations, order from the Scarpetta menu now, and we’ll deliver them safely to your door.