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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Thursday, October 25, 2012

25 October is World Pasta Day

Yes, you heard me right, today is World Pasta Day, a day specially set aside to celebrate pasta in all its shapes & forms, not that every day should be one to celebrate pasta.
The day came about as a result of the World Pasta Congress held in Rome on 25th October 1995. At that meeting representatives from various countries discussed together the theme of the collective promotion in favour of pasta consumption, exchanging their ideas & experiences. Stress was laid on the importance of spreading to the utmost the knowledge of pasta among consumers throughout the world by various means.
The UN.A.F.P.A. (Union of Organizations of Manufacturers of Pasta Products of the E.U.) is responsible for co-ordinating the initiative world wide.
The objective of World Pasta Day is to "underline the fact that pasta is a global food, consumed in all five continents, having unquestionable merits, appropriate for a dynamic and healthy life style capable of meeting both primary food requirements and  those of high-level gastronomy."
Different types of pasta on display in a shop window in Italy
Many countries have their own types of noodles. IMHO none of them beats the Italiano version known as pasta. The name comes from the Italiano word pasta, which came from the Latin pasta "dough, pastry cake".  There are 2 categories,  dried (pasta secca) & fresh (pasta fresca). While some of the ingredients can vary, (eggs, tomatoes, squid ink for example) most pastas have 1 constant ingredient, semolina flour made from duram wheat. In addition to the 2 basic categories, pasta comes in a wide variety of shapes & colors. Dry pastas are made by an extrusion process, while fresh pasta is usually made by hand.
The types of pasta range from minute (like acini di pepe, orzo, ditilini) that are often used in soups, to short (penne, mostaccioli, rigatoni) to long (linquini, spaghetti, tagliatelli) to special shapes (conchiglie, campanelle, strozzapreti) to stuffed (ravioli, tortellini, cannelloni). In addition the same shape can have various names in various parts of Italia. Italiano pasta names often end with the masculine plural suffixes -ini, -elli, -illi, -etti or the feminine plurals -ine, -elle etc., all conveying the sense of "little"; or with -oni, -one, meaning "large". Many other suffixes like -otti ("largish") & -acci ("rough", "badly made") may occur, too. In Italian, all pasta type names are plural. The endings are often used to describe various versions of the same basic pasta, i.e. spaghetti, spaghettini.
The 1st recorded reference to pasta is from the 1st century BC writings of Horace, where he mentions lagana (Sing.: laganum). Yes, that is the original of the pasta we now use for lasagna. Over the centuries the various types we know today eveolved.  These days we tend to associate pasta with a tomato sauce, but tomatoes weren't known in Italia under after Columbus discovered America. Their usage as a base for a sauce began in Southern Italia & evenetually spread throughout Italia. But there are a wide variety of sauces, from the simple, olive oil or butter based, to egg based, to pesto, etc.
1 of my lasting memories from childhood was when we would make the egg noodles for the Winter months. Grandpa had this huge wooden borad. On it he would pile some flour, make a well & add the eggs, gradually incorperating them into the flour. If needed, more flour was added. The dough was needed, then using this long dowel-like rolling pin he would roll the dough out into a roughly circular shape. At this point a clean sheet was spread on one of the beds to lay it out to dry for a bit. This was repeated until every bed in the house was covered with sheets that had the dough drying. (Note: this is a simplified description.)
When it was dry enough to not stick together, but not too dry to cut, each sheet was then rolled up & cut into strips. These where then all spread out on 1 of the larger beds to dry. Some were frozen, some allowed to dry completely. Throughout the Winter they were used in homemade chicken soup as well as may other ways.
Occasionally we had homemade ravioli as well.
I am not 100% sure what I will be having for Supper, but I am sure it will be some sort of pasta. & I hope you will as well. & whatever you have, Buon appetito!


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