When it comes to popular Italian dishes, pasta is king. It has been a staple diet item for many Italians and is now consumed in impressive quantities all around the world. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that Italians did not invent pasta. Even still, they have produced, consumed, and re-imagined pasta to the point where no one doubts it’s truly an inherent part of their cuisine.
Pasta’s widespread popularity has taken it into homes, restaurants, and top Arizona pizza places, and yet its origins are still a bit hazy. While many believe Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China in the thirteenth century, this is not the case: pasta was available in Italy long before Polo’s Chinese voyage. Furthermore, there’s still debate as to whether pasta was even invented in China: it depends on how you choose to define pasta. The Chinese were definitely eating noodles for thousands of years, but they were made from millet flour and not the durum wheat semolina that’s a defining feature of the pasta we all know and love.
Classic semolina-based pasta actually has Arabic roots. While the Chinese introduced noodles to the Arabs, Arabic travelers did not have millet so they made them out of the only flour they had available: semolina. The noodles were dried so they could be transported long distances without spoiling, and were especially convenient during wartimes. On one particular Arab invasion in the eighth century, pasta found its way into Italy.
It took a while for pasta to expand in Italy, mainly due to semolina’s high price and the tedious nature of pasta’s preparation. The industrial revolution brought with it an invention in Naples that could knead pasta dough, thereby reducing labor and costs. It was here in Naples that Italy’s love affair with pasta began. And when tomatoes finally arrived, things got really Italian really fast. Local additions like herbs and cheeses found their way into pasta dishes, and regional specialties continued to materialize generation after generation.
Today, you can find pasta just about anywhere: from diners and cafes to food trucks and top Arizona pizza places. At Sardella’s, menu options include delicious pasta dishes like rigatoni and spaghetti with meatballs. For the full Sardella’s menu and to learn more about what makes us a top Arizona pizza place, visit www.sardellaspizza.com. And when you get hungry, place your order online.