Italian culture has much to be proud of from designer sports cars like the Ferrari to the exquisite and sophisticated opera. And while many aspects of their culture have been greatly received and honored throughout the world, it is perhaps their recognition as the originator of the modern pasta that has truly made a deep and lasting influence, not just to the specialized culinary circles, but on everyone who enjoys food.
When we talk of Italian cuisine, the center of attention is definitely the pasta. Tracing its origins, there is evidence to believe that the history of pasta goes back to the ancient Greeks who had a form of flattened dough which they called “laganon”.
This earlier version however had a stark difference from modern pasta in that it was not boiled but rather roasted. The Arabs on the other hand, as written in the Talmud as early as 5th century AD, had the first documented record of noodles being cooked by boiling.
They called the noodle itriyah. It is predominantly believed that they introduced pasta to Sicily when they conquered it. An Arab geographer named Al Idrisi writes that a product made of flour that was shaped like strings were produced in the then Arab colony of Palermo.
The next great occurrence in the development and history of pasta as we know it came during the 16th century when the Spanish brought back their discoveries from the new world. Among these new discoveries was a variety of tomatoes they called promo d’oro or golden apple.
It was then that this new ingredient called the tomato encountered the pasta, which until that time was eaten dry using the fingers. The advent of tomatoes, and eventually tomato sauce, would change not only the way pasta was eaten but the eating habit of the world as well. And so at present, the history of pasta continues to be written as many of today’s chefs and foodies reinvent the more established pasta recipes, turning them into new varieties and bold creations.
The creation and origin of lasagna has three popular theories. The first is that it came from the Greek laganon which is a form of flattened dough which was roasted. The second theory is that it comes from the Greek lasana which means a stand for a pot.
The Romans then took this term (turned it into lasanum) and used it to refer to a cooking pot, which was eventually used by the Italians to refer to the dish where lasagna is made.
The third theory as to the history of pasta, and lasagna specifically, comes from England. It is believed by some that the cuisine traces its origin from an English dish called loseyn. This theory primarily bases its contention on the similarities in the way both dishes are prepared and the likeness in their names.
In the end, although the exact origin of the dish is uncertain, modern lasagna is widely accepted as an Italian dish and it is there, particularly in the southern portion, where the definitive lasagna can be experienced today.
Recommended pasta cookbooks
One part cooking course, one part kitchen reference, and one part foolproof recipes, The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles tells the story of flour and water like no other book on the market.
Extensively covering the basics of pasta and noodles, this thoroughly researched and taste-tested guide is dedicated to the home cook who needs practical advice on everything from penne to pad thai.
The experts at Cook’s Illustrated present their knowledge and techniques in a hands-on way so that each and every step of the cooking process can be understood and easily executed.
The authors leave room for interpretation and taste, of course, but you will not walk away from this book without knowing which olive oil to buy, why egg pasta tends to complement cream sauces, or how to mince garlic.
Learn how to use the best ingredients and simple, classic techniques to make fresh, homemade pasta in your own kitchen with Making Artisan Pasta.
Calling for just the simplest ingredients and a handful of unique kitchen tools, making pasta at home has never been easier, more fun, or more delicious.
Celebrating pasta in all its glorious forms, author Domenica Marchetti draws from her Italian heritage to share 100 classic and modern recipes.
Step-by-step instructions for making fresh pasta offer plenty of variations on the classic egg pasta, while a glossary of pasta shapes, a source list for unusual ingredients, and a handy guide for stocking the pantry with pasta essentials encourage the home cook to look beyond simple spaghetti.
No matter how you sauce it, The Glorious Pasta of Italy is sure to have pasta lovers everywhere salivating.
Every conceivable type of Italian pasta or Asian noodle is presented, and we mean every conceivable this comprehensive volume includes dried, fresh, gnocchi, dumplings and even chocolate pasta.
Featuring step-by-step instructions for making and cutting fresh dough; recipes incorporating cheese, fish, meat, game, and poultries; and homemade soups and sauces.
This book is a James Beard Cookbook Winner.
The Three Must-Have Pasta Machines
Here are 3 pasta machines that, in my opinion, are the best there is. Let’s say that even if you plan to make a pasta restaurant you won’t need anything else.
- Makes spaghetti, fettuccini, angel hair, ravioli, and lasagnette
- All attachments included
- Made of chrome coated steel
- Electric pasta maker effortlessly mixes and kneads pasta dough
- Transparent viewing window; quick-reference icons on the side panel
- Removable measuring spoon built into chamber’s lid; on-board tool storage
- Includes 8 pasta discs, 1 biscotti disc, knife, and cleaning tool
- Measures approximately 12-4/5 by 13-8/9 by 15 inches
This newly improved model features heavy-duty, durable wooden rollers- guaranteed to cut and form perfect dumplings every time! Easy to use. Prepare a whole meal in minutes. Make cavatelli or seashells- by feeding dough strips of different widths, you can control the size of the dumplings you prefer. Recipes included, potato cavatelli, ricotta cavatelli and more!
A Fresh Pasta Recipes
Fresh pasta is differentiated from dried pasta as it is made by combining the flour with egg rather than a liquid (which is usually water). Because of this, it does have a distinct flavor and characteristic.
Generally, it is more perishable than dried pasta and must either therefore be refrigerated in an airtight container or totally frozen to prolong its life. Additionally, it also cooks much faster when compared to dried pasta. Here we bring you some of the more popular fresh pasta recipe collections to expand your appreciation of this truly wonderful cuisine.
Grandma’s Noodles II
Sample one of the best fresh pasta dishes by following this recipe. It’s a tasty and unique cuisine that will surely be a hit with every member of the family.
Ingredients: (serves approximately four persons)
- Beaten egg – 1 piece
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk – 2 tablespoons
- Sifted all-purpose flour – 1 cup
- Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Simply mix the egg, milk, and flour. If you are looking to make thicker noodles, the baking powder may be added at this point.
- Once the ingredients have been properly mixed, separate the mass into two balls. Once they are properly separated, carefully roll out the dough and let it stand for approximately 20 minutes.
- After this time, cut the rolled out dough and allow it to dry for around 2 hours (you can place and sprinkle some flour at this point).
- When it has been properly dried, drop it into some hot soup.
- The approximate time for it to cook is roughly 10 minutes, after which you can serve the dish and enjoy it.
Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
This is one of the variations of fresh pasta using a special type of flour called Semolina. It is a simple fresh pasta recipe that is flavorful and healthy.
Ingredients: (serves approximately eight persons)
- All-purpose flour – 2 cups
- Semolina flour – 2 cups
- Salt – 1 pinch
- Large eggs – 6 pieces
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Start by mixing together the all-purpose flour, semolina flour and add a pinch of salt. After mixing thoroughly, make a mountain of the mixture over a clean surface.
- Afterward, carefully make a deep well in the center, break the eggs inside it and add some olive oil. Whisk the eggs as you slowly mix them with the flour surrounding them.
- When it is already thick, you may start using your hands to knead it until it becomes smooth. Use dough and semolina to keep the mixture from becoming too sticky.
- Then, wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Finally, roll out the dough with a pasta machine, or use a rolling pin, if there is no pasta machine available.
- Separately, boil water in a large pot while adding about 4 teaspoons of salt. From here, cook the pasta- drain immediately when cooked and combine with your favorite sauce.
Chicken Pasta Recipes
Pasta, being one of the most adaptable dishes in the world, has been combined with numerous ingredients- from the meats to simply some olive oil.
This ability to complement a variety of ingredients and tastes is one of the reasons why pasta, as a whole, is so well known and continues to endure. One of the most successful marriages pasta has had was its combination with chicken.
Their successful union has brought about some of the world’s most beloved dishes. Follow us as we take a look at some of the most delicious chicken pasta recipes created.
This yummy casserole is a favorite for those who love pasta and chicken. In many instances, chicken may be replaced with turkey depending on ones preference.
It is relatively easy to prepare and is a nice break from the more conventional pasta dishes. Learn this chicken pasta recipe well and you will be sure to impress come culinary gatherings.
Ingredients: (serves eight persons)
- Spaghetti – 12 ounces
- Vegetable oil – 1 ½ teaspoon
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Butter – 1 ½ tablespoon
- Chopped onion – 1/4 cup
- Minced garlic – 1 clove
- Condensed cream of mushroom soup – 2 cans (10.75 ounces)
- Chicken broth – 1 cup
- Seasoning Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Shredded American cheese – 3 cups
- Cooked and cubed chicken – 4 cups
- Fresh parsley chopped – 2 tablespoons
- Red bell pepper diced – 2 tablespoons
- Begin by making sure that the oven is properly heated to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get the spaghetti and cook it as instructed on its wrapper adding salt and oil as you do and making sure you drain it afterward.
- As you are doing this, get a large saucepan to melt the butter in. You may then add soup, broth, salt, and 1 ½ cups of cheese to the mix. Make sure to stir well with the goal of making the cheese melt and for it to eventually turn smooth.
- When the cheese has reached this point, add the spaghetti and the chicken (or turkey).
- Mix all the ingredients well and proceed to transfer it to a baking dish where you must then cover it with foil.
- When this is all set up, bake the dish at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it becomes hot and bubbly.
- From here you must remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese over it.
- Then we come to the final baking, melting the newly added cheese. Finish it off by sprinkling parsley and bell pepper over it.
- The dish is now ready for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Classic chicken noodle soup
A true classic in every sense, the chicken noodle soup has been a favorite for many generations. This warm, soothing broth is a household staple and is considered the ultimate comfort food by many.
Follow our easy recipe as we take on this delicious chicken pasta dish.
Ingredients: (serves approximately eight persons)
- Fast chicken soup base – 1 recipe
- Egg noodles – 3 cups
- Frozen green peas – 1 cup
- Chopped fresh parsley – 1/2 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Boil the Fast chicken soup base until it is simmering.
- Add the three cups of egg noodles and let it simmer some more for about 10-20 minutes.
- Stir in a separate cup the 1 cup of green peas and ½ cup of parsley.
- Finally, add the salt and pepper to taste and adjust to your preference.
Simple Pasta Recipes
It is one of the most famous and beloved dishes in the world. With numerous variants, creating a pasta dish range from the ultra-complicated to the refreshingly simple.
Here, we present some of the best simple pasta recipes that let you enjoy the cuisine without the unnecessary hassle and headache.
A staple in many Italian restaurants, the Pasta Carbonara is easily one of the most famous variants of pasta.
Follow this simple pasta recipe and enjoy Carbonara to the fullest.
Ingredients: (serves four persons)
- Linguine or spaghetti – 1 pound
- Diced bacon – 6 strips
- Egg yolks – 4 pieces
- Grated Parmesan cheese – 1 cup
- Kosher salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Black pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley – 1/2 cup
- Begin by cooking the pasta normally or according to the directions in its package. Simultaneously, fry the bacon while making sure to keep the drippings.
- Then on a separate bowl- whisk the egg yolks and add the drippings from the bacon. From here, we can now add the pasta into the mix.
- Follow it up by adding salt, parsley, fried bacon, and some pepper. When all of this is done, it is ready to serve (The ideal scenario would be that the heat from the pasta will be the one to cook the eggs).
Macaroni and Cheese
The mac and cheese is a certified classic. Enjoyed by kids and adults alike, this pasta dish is a favorite because of its taste and the relatively easy preparation.
Make sure to know this simple pasta recipe by heart and you can never go wrong.
Ingredients: (serves six persons)
- Butter – 5 tablespoons
- Elbow macaroni – 1 pound
- All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
- Whole milk – 6 cups
- Grated gruyere – 2 cups
- Grated Cheddar – 1 ½ cups
- Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
- Kosher salt
- For the initial preparation, make sure that you have a baking dish already buttered. Also, the oven should be at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When this is done, cook the pasta according to the cooking procedure in its wrapper. Get the pot and melt the butter on it before adding the flour.
- Once you are at this point, stir continually while adding the milk. Stir some more until it thickens.
- Then we add the Gruyere, Cheddar, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon of salt and wait until the cheese melts. Now we can transfer the pasta and proceed to bake it until it turns golden.
We give a simple version of this famous pasta dish. As the name suggests, this simple pasta recipe can be prepared in approximately 45 minutes.
Just follow this simple, step by step procedure and you will find yourself rewarded not only with a dish that is easy to prepare, but extremely tasty as well.
Ingredients: (serves six persons)
- Pasta sauce – 1 jar(26 ounces)
- Unthawed large cheese ravioli – 2 pieces (30-ounce bags)
- Frozen chopped spinach which is thawed – 1 box (10 ounces)
- Shredded mozzarella – 1 bag (8 ounces)
- grated parmesan – 1/2 cup
- First off, the oven must be at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and a baking dish must be coated with the pasta sauce.
- Then, we place the ravioli on the baking dish, mix in the spinach and the cheese over it. Cover again with ravioli, some more cheese, and pasta sauce.
- Finally, we cover it with foil and bake. After about 25 minutes, we remove the foil and bake again for approximately 5- 10 minutes.