The popular belief that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy after his exploration of the Far
East in the late 13th century has been founded untrue many times over, but what Marco
missed the most from his voyage was the Chinese green onion pancake, so when he
arrived back in Italy he tried to find a chef willing to reproduce his beloved pancake for him.
One day Polo met a chef from Naples at a dinner at a friend's home and persuaded him to
try recreating the dish according to his recollection. Without success, Polo suggested that
the filling be put on the top rather than inside. This created a dish praised by everyone at
the party. The chef returned to Naples and by adding herbs and other ingredients he
created something similar to today's white or "Pizza Bianco". Since the discovery of the
New World and the tomato by the Spanish was about 200 years away, using tomato
sauce was not even a thought until the late 1800s after the tomato was determined safe to
eat after centuries of being considered a poisonous fruit from the "Garden of Eden".
History shows us that the first knowledge of pasta in the western world comes from the
discovery of some tools that were used in making pasta that were found in an ancient
Etruscan (ancient Italy) tomb, and then shortly after the birth of Christ, the famous Roman
chef Apicius wrote about something which resembles a lasagna in his book of recipes,
and shall we not forget the Chinese who were making a pasta like food (Lo-Mein or boiled
noodles) some 4000 years ago.
In 2005 the oldest noodles ever found were discovered inside a sealed bowl buried in
northwest China. Scientists determined that the 4,000 year old noodles were made from
millet and showed great sophistication in it's process.
Just like rice and the potato, pasta become a staple of life, even today with so many
people going on low to no carb diets, pasta still stands out as a favorite go to food.
Pasta has been the pride and joy of Italy through out it's history ever since the 13th
century, and when Italians emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century,
they brought their pots and pasta with them and pasta found its way into everyone's
hearts and stomachs.
From the ever so popular spaghetti and meatballs to the now health conscience pasta
salad generation, to the millions of kid preferred boxes of macaroni and cheese sold every
year, to the high end restaurants making their own specialty pasta, this simple mixture of
flour and water has captured our culinary scene with it's versatility, and whether you like it
dried, fresh or make it yourself, pasta remains at the top of the list of foods enjoyed all
over the world.
|"It will be macaroni that will unite Italy"
(Giuseppe Garibaldi liberating Naples in 1860)