True Italian Taste 2021 - Pasta Guidebook (English Edition)

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Online guidebook

H I S T O R Y O F -

P A S T A -

TABLE OF CONTENTS THE ORIGINS .......................................




“POP” PASTA ........................................


MAIN TYPES .........................................




BEST ITALIAN DISHES MADE WITH PASTA ..........................................


HISTORY OF PASTA THE ORIGINS The history of pasta begins when man abandon the nomadic life to dedicate to agriculture: the process of grounding and mixing wheat with water gave birth to one of the most widely consumed and loved dishes in history. The first evidence that proves the consumption of pasta dates back to over 3000 years ago: Greeks and Etruscans, a civilization from the center of Italy, used to cook thin doughs of wheat on hot stones called, in ancient Greek, “Laganon”. Hence the Latin word “lagnum”, often cited by Cicero in his writings to describe a dish favored by the Romans. The first reference of the Italian peninsula was made in 1154 when the Arab geographer Al-Idrin mentioned in one of his writings a “ filiform dish made with flour” produced in Sicily, or more precisely in Palermo. The belief that Marco Polo imported the pasta from China in 1295, therefore, is dispelled. The first population to dry the pasta was the Arab with evidences originated in the 9th century: the Bedouin and Berber populations dried the doughs made from durum wheat to allow long conservation. From the 15th century, the drying process has also been adopted in Italy. Invented in this period was a machine called “the carousel” consisting of a wooden wheel used to hung pasta while spinning in a heated environment, allowing the doughs to dry.

The pasta’s most “iconic” recipe was born in 1554, when the tomato was imported for the first time from Peru. The streets of every Italian city were so crowded with pasta makers that Pope Urban VIII even had to issue a papal bull, imposing a minimum distance of 24 meters between one shop and another. Though it was initially perceived as an elite dish consumed only by the noble class, starting from the end of the 19th century, pasta saw its production switching from handicraft to mass production: from an aristocratic side dish, it became the “single dish” for the poorest groups of the population. 03

HISTORY OF PASTA COMTEMPORARY HISTORY The year 1870 witnessed the birth of the first hydraulic presses for grain processing, a process that until then had been made bare feet. The mass emigration phenomenon occurred in the second half of the 19th century along with the rise of fascism (20s of the 20th century) had helped Italian culinary tradition spread all over the world, becoming the characteristic element of the Italians worldwide. As evidence of this statement, 1914 was a record year for the production of pasta: over 70’000 tons of product was exported, mostly to the USA. During the Fascism period, pasta was part of the daily life of Italian families: since they cannot afford meat or fish, it became the main food, the typical single dish. Nonetheless, pasta remained part of the high society. The futurist movement, which saw Tommaso Marinetti as its spokesperson, provided an interesting picture of how this simple dish was transformed into an object of artistic debate. In 1930, in the “Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine”, Marinetti proposed the abolition of pasta as it “kills the noble, virile and warrior soul of the Italians”, as he was inspired by the fascist ideology of Benito Mussolini. This ideology never got the approval of the population, thanks to the fact that Marinetti was immortalized at the Biffi restaurant in Milan for gulping a rich plate of spaghetti.

In 1933, the first machine that allowed the automation of the entire pasta production process was born. In the postwars, pasta, together with bread and potatoes, became the fundamental supply of the army and the only food source for the suffering Italian people. With the end of hostilities, just like its people, pasta was enriched with hundreds of dishes that made it to be loved all over the world. 04

HISTORY OF PASTA “POP” PASTA The kitchen of today is conceived as a true form of art. Michelin-starred and many other chefs enrich the culinary heritage all over the world, inventing new dishes or revisiting the great classics of Italian cuisine with a modern twist (or modern dishes with a classic twist). Not only does the nature of the meal change but also the concept of the menu itself: it is an Italian custom to eat appetizers first, main course second and followed by desserts, right? For world-renowned chefs like Massimo Bottura, who revisited the concept of menu by changing the order of courses, this is not necessarily true. Still, one principle remains untouched: pasta has always been and is a first dish. In all its forms, recipes, classic or revisited, its nature has always remained unchanged, thanks to the multifaceted importance that it has had in

Fig.1-“Allegoria del gusto” Luca Giordano, 1660


the history of Italian people. Will it remain so in the future? The most likely answer is “Yes”, but one cannot be sure. The only certainty is the realization of how pasta is the “POP” food par excellence. “POP” is intended as popular, of the people, as every member of every family, of every age and social belonging has consumed and consumes, at least once a day, a plate of pasta. Nowadays, this popularity also translates into the possibility for companies, food bloggers influencers and privates to reach more people through social networks. On Instagram, for example, the hashtags #pizza and #pasta have more than 60 million posts: #pizza is in first place, with 43 million posts while pasta is in fifth, after #icecream (another Italian excellence), #sushi and #chicken, with 21 million posts.

Fig. 2 - “Uomo che mangia gli spaghetti” Renato Guttuso, 1956

HISTORY OF PASTA “POP” PASTA Not only has pasta had a strong impact in the creation or expansion of businesses but it has also been the subject throughout the history of works of art and, sometimes, the object itself with which the artist produces art. In every art form, from painting to sculpture, from cinema to animation, from high fashion to stand-up comedy, there is at least one example of pasta conceived as art: from here you can deduce the versatility of pasta, which translates into a wide range of dishes that can be created with it and the multifaceted nature being it partly food, partly subject and partly object of art.

Fig. 3 - Totò in “Miseria e Nobiltà”, 1954

Fig. 5 – Pasta Dress, showed by the renowned Italian company “La Molisana” at the Dutch Fashion Awards, 2017

Fig. 4 - “ Lady and the Tramp”, Disney, 1955

Fig. 6 - “Pasta”, Emily Heller, 2018

Fig. 7 - “Pasta On Blue Square”, Ron Magnes, 2019


HISTORY OF PASTA MAIN TYPES Nowadays pasta is the symbol of Italianness abroad, thanks to its great taste, versatility and the history that characterizes it. It is important to distinguish between three main types of pasta:

FRESH PASTA is the first type of pasta produced in Italy, more specifically in Sicily. It is composed by a mixture of water and soft wheat. Unlike the “common” dry pasta, it is not left to dry so the conservation must comply with certain thermal criteria (<+ 4ºC) and also its packaging must ensure that the product is protected from external agents.

FRESH EGG PASTA is the only type of pasta in which the egg is present, as it is used in the knead process. Due to its presence, the “egg pasta” label must be clearly visible on the package. Italian law requires, for fresh pasta made in Italy, a percentage of soft wheat not exceeding 3%.

DRY PASTA is the most consumed and marketed pasta worldwide. Composed only by durum wheat, dry pasta is characterized by much longer storage time than fresh pasta and a better glycemic index. For the Italian law, only durum wheat can be used for its production. There are types of pasta produced with special doughs that must be labeled as “durum wheat pasta”, completed by the ingredient used. 07

HISTORY OF PASTA MAIN TYPES During recent years, many new types of pasta were born such as those based on legumes (spelled, lupine, chickpeas), quinoa, corn, giving the possibility to those with intolerances and food problems, to enjoy the goodness of this typical Italian dish.

I - Almond Flour Pasta

II – Legumes Pasta

III – Kamut Pasta

IV – Chickpea Pasta

V - Short Pasta Types

VI - Long Pasta Types 08

HISTORY OF PASTA THE PRODUCTION OF PASTA IN ITALY AND WORLDWIDE Thanks to its versatility, great taste, ease in preparation and great openness of international markets, pasta has seen its production skyrocket over the years. Here are some data: Country

Per Capita Consumption 2011 (Kgs per year)

Per Capita Consumption 2019 (Kgs per year)











% of production exported









In the last 10 year (2009 - 2019) the worldwide consumption of pasta has more than doubled (+66 %) and Italy is still the first producer in the world. From 1914, a record year for pasta production, with 70’000 tons produced, Italy moves

the innovation and quality that its companies infuse in their product: 120 companies create almost 5 billion of added value, investing 10% of their turnover in research and development to improve the product and its sustainability.

on to 3,4 million tons in 2019, marking an increase of 5000% in pasta production in just over a century. Italy maintains its title as “the best pasta producer” thanks to 09

Other countries have also mobilized to face the ever increasing demand for pasta in the world: Italy’s most avid competitor is Turkey, who in the last decade has increased

its pasta production by almost double, passing from 850,000 in 2011 to over 1.5 million tons in 2019. Due to the huge amount of capital involved in the “Made In Italy” labeled market, many foreign companies create products that refer to Italian products in order to maximize sales, although no phase of their production took place in Italy. This is a sadly known phenomenon called “Italian Sounding” which is estimated to involve an annual turnover of 54 billion euros, almost double the amount of Italian agri-food exports, damaging the image and the market of Italian products abroad.

HISTORY OF PASTA BEST ITALIAN DISHES MADE WITH PASTA • Carbonara Spaghetti • Bucatini all’Amatriciana • Lasagna Bolognese • Linguine with Seafood • Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese • Penne with Arrabbiata Sauce

• Cappelletti in Broth • Pappardelle with Wild Boar • Strozzapreti alla Norcina • Cavatelli Molisani • Spaghetti alla Chitarra • Venetians Bigoli • Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Orecchiette with Turnip

Carbonara Spaghetti

Linguine with Seafood

• Orecchiette with Turnip • Gricia Spaghetti • Trofie with Pesto • Tortellini Emiliani • Maccaroni alla Norma • Fusilli alla Zingara • Strangugghi alla ‘nduja

Lasagna Bolognese

Pappardelle with Boar

Penne with Arrabbiata Sauce 10


“Life is a combination of magic and pasta - Federico Fellini -


Finally, we leave the floor to the immense Federico Fellini, one of the greatest and most influential Italian movie directors ever who, celebrating the best known and appreciated food in the world, said:

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