Thursday, October 16, 2008
I love pasta and truly believe that it is quite healthy if eaten with the right sauces and in moderation. It has been around for centuries and is actually truly an Italian creation, not Chinese as you may have been taught...
"Many schoolchildren were taught that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo brought back pasta from his journeys in China. Another version states that Polo discovery was actually a rediscovery of a foodstuff that was once popular in Italy in Etruscan and Roman times. Well Marco Polo might have done amazing things on his journey but bringing pasta to Italy was not one of them, it was already there in Polo's time. There is some evidence of an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from the same durum wheat as modern pasta called "lagane" (origin of the modern word for lasagna). However this food, first mentioned in the 1st century AD was not boiled like pasta, it was cooked in an oven. Therefore ancient lagane had some similarities, but cannot be considered pasta. The next culinary leap in the history of pasta would take place a few centuries later."
- By Justin Demetri(The History Of Pasta)
I have a few recipes for sauces to go with pasta on this blog as well as one for an easy homemade pasta. I use the word "easy" lightly as it is easy but can be boring , that actually have a term for this, "getting in to the Zen of pasta making" and it also takes practice, after about the thousandth pasta shape you should have it down, okay it's not easy! But well worth it as there is no taste so divine as homemade fresh pasta, Pasta Fresca. Think about all of the fun shapes; ears, postage stamps, belly-buttons, flowers, bow ties, cork screws..... I think the best shape to start with is the lasagna noodle or spaghetti noodle and then maybe the Orecchiette (little ears). I like using a hand cranked machine (like the one in the picture) but you can also use a matterello, a long rolling pin, although it is a bit more tedious or good for getting in to the "Zen" of pasta making!
I like to make pasta on a day when I have the whole day at home and lot's of free time. I lay a sheet out on my long table and have at it all day long. My Great Nona Cornacchio used to lay a sheet out on her bed and lay the pasta or gnocchi out there to dry and my Mom used to hang her pasta on a rack. You can make it and freeze it in baggies for later use and it is still considered fresh. Once you taste it you will see why Italians love their pasta so much.