Why the World Loves Pasta

The world loves pasta.

A culinary staple across many cultures, pasta is the ultimate comfort food.

Which is precisely why we are here—to celebrate World Pasta Day together!

World Pasta Day was first commemorated in 1998 and occurs every year on October 25th. It is aimed at drawing attention to pasta as a healthful, versatile and affordable meal choice.

What Is Pasta?

whole wheat rotini pastaPasta is a noodle made from unleavened dough which is then mixed with water (or eggs). The word ‘pasta’ comes from Latin and means ‘dough, pastry cake.’

While pasta is usually made with wheat flour or semolina, it can also be created with other whole grains including barley, buckwheat, rye, rice, and maize.

It is then formed into a variety of shapes and either boiled or baked.

600 shapes of pasta exist. Some of the most popular types (and their English translations) include capellini (‘fine hairs’), conchiglie (‘shells’), fettuccine (‘small ribbons’), fusilli (‘spindles’), linguini (‘little tongues’), penne (‘quills’), rotini (‘spirals’), spaghetti (‘cord’), tortellini (‘little cakes’), and vermicelli (‘little worms’).

Pasta can be eaten as a main dish or a first course. It can be a light lunch or a substantial dinner. It can be served hot or cold and wed with an infinite assortment of sauces. And as a general rule simple sauces (like pesto) are ideal for long, thin pasta while tomato-based sauces blend best with thicker pasta.

Pasta: The International Dish

whole wheat bow tie pastaWhile pasta is most often linked to Italy, it is a global food consumed on five continents. From Germany’s spaetzli to Greek orzo and Polish pierogi, pasta is enjoyed by cultures around the world.

Here are five other popular pasta dishes you may be less familiar with:

  1. Pho: A Vietnamese dish made of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, and spices like ginger, star anise, and coriander seeds.
  2. Saimin: Originally from China, saimin has been perfected by the Hawaiians. It combines noodles, dashi (a Japanese-style broth) and green onions.
  3. Mee Goreng: Popular in places like Indonesia and Malaysia, mee goreng is made with noodles that are fried with garlic, onion, Chinese cabbage, and tomatoes.
  4. Laksa: Known for its bright orange color, laksa is a curry-based noodle soup which uses vermicelli rice noodles with a coconut or tamarind base.
  5. Ash Reshteh: A hearty Persian soup, this dish is made from linguine-shaped noodles, khask (Persian whey) and a variety of healthful ingredients like spinach, lentils, chickpeas, turmeric, and parsley.

Seven Fun Facts About Pasta

whole wheat penne pastaLearn more about pasta with this interesting trivia.

  1. Pasta is likely the descendant of ancient Asian noodles; the Chinese ate pasta as far back as 5,000 B.C.
  2. A cave carving 30 miles north of Rome showing pasta-making instruments is evidence that the Etruscans made pasta as early as 400 B.C.
  3. The legend that Marco Polo discovered pasta in China and brought it to Europe in the 13th century is false—Italians were eating it long before his arrival.
  4. Thomas Jefferson is believed to have been the first to introduce pasta to America. On a visit to Italy during his tenure as the Ambassador to France, he fell in love with pasta and ordered crates of macaroni and a pasta-making machine to be sent to the US.
  5. The first American pasta factory was opened in 1848 in Brooklyn, New York. The owner, Antoine Zerega dried his spaghetti on the roof!
  6. The average Italian eats about 60 pounds of pasta annually while the average American consumes 20 pounds per year.
  7. Pairing tomato sauce with pasta occurred at the end of the 18th century. Before that, pasta was eaten dry, using your fingers.

Dr. Rosane Oliveira and Fall Harvest PastaHow to Celebrate World Pasta Day

To commemorate World Pasta Day, how about throwing a party and inviting friends and family to share their favorite pasta dishes?

If you want some inspiration, make sure to read our 10 Best Pasta Recipes.

Also, check out our new plant-based recipe for Fall Harvest Pasta. It is guaranteed to impress everyone!

Happy World Pasta Day!