If you love pasta and gnocchi as much as we do, we expect you will enjoy our brief history of pasta.
We can pass many a happy moment in an Italian kitchen watching as piles of pasta or gnocchi are created. We don’t just love pasta, we have an obsession for it! We find inspiration in the scenery and architecture of Italy, to create our pasta and so a day in the kitchen with some colorful and flavorful pasta dough, will pass very quickly.
We hope you enjoy browsing our site as we continue to build it because we are constantly working on new pasta creations and a collection of recipes.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PASTA
- 400 B.C. According to the International Pasta Organisation, pasta first arrived in Italy at Naples with the Greeks. Cereals and grain were predominantly grown in Sicily but much was imported from Africa, Lebanon, Spain, Sardinia and Syria at an estimated 400,000 tons per year.
- 1200: Documentation suggests that forms of dried pasta were being created in the 12th century, in the area of Palermo. This pasta was then exported to others regions of southern Italy. Platina, curator of the Vatican library, wrote that macaroni with cheese were a legacy from the kitchens of Genoa and Naples, where its inhabitants eat it every day.
- 1279: Further mention of pasta is to be found in the the last will and testament of a soldier from Genoa in 1279, Ponzio Baestone. He requested ‘bariscella peina de macarone‘, a small basket of macaroni.
- 1400: By the 1400’s pasta was called ‘lasagna’ and pasta makers were referred to as ‘lasagnare‘. Sometime between the 14 and 1800’s the name was changed to ‘vermicellae’. At the same time lasagna, vermicelli and fidelli pastas were born. Pasta makers were therefore also known as ‘fidellai‘.
- 1519: The Spanish explorer, Cortez, had brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico yet it would be some 200 years later before the Italians began to make them into sauce. The bright red colour of the tomato had put them off as they believed them to be poisonous.
- 1700: At the beginning of the 17th century, rudimentary machines for making pasta were created which enabled improved products and the ability to make much more and at low cost. Much of this work was concentrated in Gragnano where the drying of pasta developed due to the climate there and before long pasta became the staple diet.
- 1740: Paolo Adami was granted a license to open the very first pasta factory, in Venice. 100 years later to the south in Amalfi, water mills and stone grinders were being used to separate the bran from semolina. In fact, you still walk the ancient paths from the town of Agerola which sits above the coastline of Amalfi, and see the reminents of where it all began. It was at during this time export markets were expanded to reach across the seas.
- 1789: Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing macaroni to the United States. It seems that he fell in love with a certain dish he sampled in Naples, while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. In fact, he promptly ordered crates of “macaroni,” along with a pasta-making machine, sent back to the States.
- 1800: Pasta was mostly eaten by nobility but during this time dry pasta became popular among the masses of Italian society and its offering to guests became a sign of distinction. Until this time, pasta was eaten with the hands. With the addition of tomato sauce, the fork was introduced to the Italian table.
- 1848: The first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn, New York, by a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega. Mr. Zerega managed the entire operation with just one horse in his basement to power the machinery. To dry his spaghetti, he placed strands of the pasta on the roof to dry in the sunshine.