You just can’t beat pasta. It comes in all shapes and sizes: alphabetti spaghetti, sea shells, rolled tubes and thick strips. You can lather it in pesto, butter, tomato sauce, ketchup, cream, all manner of cheese or just have it plain (if you really must). Pop it on the hob for 8 minutes, preferably with water, stir it once or twice and voila, pasta.
Aldi sells bags of the wholesome stuff for 27p. You can make it yourself, it’s probably easier than you think. A staple of corner shop stock, if it’s raining outside you can see what you can knock up. It is, essentially, everywhere.
Pasta is a food of the world. Appearing in nearly every country in some form or other, the wheaty treat is Orzo in Greece, Peroegi in Poland and happiness in the belly worldwide. Historians have generally agreed that the Chinese were first to develop the ‘noodle’. That simple combination of flour and water or eggs has spawned into national chains (hello, Prezzo) and given birth to mythical stories of travel.
A wonderful tale although dubious in its formation, The Travels of Marco Polo (13th c.) relay Polo ‘discovering’ China (it might’ve already been there, making noodles), and bringing back to Italy the mysterious recipe of ‘pasta’. Whilst a heart-warming tale of wanderlust and adventure, in truth pasta was probably being toyed around in Europe long before Marco went on his big walk. His original texts haven’t survived as long as pasta, so I guess we’ll never know.
The basic idea behind dough is certainly older than Polo too. The Jewish Talmud discusses the legitimacy of boiling dough and whether it counts as unleavened bread. We can fairly assume that Marco didn’t infact ‘discover’ pasta, rather, pasta has been present long before the idea of ‘Italy’ was even born.
Innovation using durum flour gave birth to dried pasta, giving us the chance to stock up on half eaten bags in the back of cupboards and fill jars of it to put on Instagram. Fresh pasta will always be a special treat, finding the time to make it or squeezing the pennies to buy it is definitely worth a go. Plus, you’re reducing that all important cooking time to about 2 minutes with fresh pasta – let’s see McDonalds rattle up an extra-pickle Big Mac in that time.
More than anything pasta fills you up, so a huge collective thanks to all the pasta out there that has quelled hungry bellies and seen us through many pit stops in the kitchen. Never change pasta, we love you.