Happy World Pasta Day!
Regardless of the time of year, pasta remains a perennial staple of Italian cuisine and finds freedom in familiar tastes: think of the sumptuous ragùs made in Emilia-Romagna; aromatic, pesto infused plates in Liguria; and the dishes made with freshly picked, wild truffle from the mountains of Piedmont. From its northernmost reaches all the way down to its southern seaports, Italy boasts of 20 regions, all of which are able to lay claim to their own culinary specialities.
Despite the diverse regionality of pasta in ‘il bel paese’ however, it has a perhaps lesser-recognised, alternative history. Although legend would have it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy after his voyage to the Far East in the late 13th century, its origins can be traced back as far as the 4th century B.C., where the earliest records of handcrafted pasta are depicted on an Etruscan tomb. Other records of this food have been found in the form of 4,000-year-old preserved noodles on an archaeological site in northern China and in even Poland, where pasta-like pockets, pierogi, still occupy pride of place on most families’ dinner tables.
Today, it is hardly surprising that almost every country has its own unique version of this ubiquitous staple. With 1.5 million Google searches every month, the word pasta has even extended its global popularity over to the Internet. In honour of our World Pasta Day destinations, we invite you on a gastronomic getaway to discover the 6 most sought after pasta dishes in each of our chosen countries.
Check out our infographic and dish descriptions below to learn something new!
1. Greece - Pastitsio
Luxuriously creamy, pastitsio is an indulgent take on the classic lasagne. This Greek pasta bake is deeply layered with aromatic beef ragù and béchamel sauce which gives it an exceedingly luxurious silkiness to permeate the pasta within. Incidentally, the word pastitsio translates to “hodgepodge” in English; even in the vernacular, Greece recognises the hearty nature of this dish!
2. Japan - Tarako Pasta
Tarako, or salted hake caviar, is a seafood product readily available in the fish section of almost every grocery store in Japan. When paired with spaghetti, the result is the ultimate form of coastal Japanese-Italian fusion: the roe clings beautifully to the pasta, creating a gorgeously light sauce, reminiscent of the salty sea surrounding the Japanese archipelago.
3. Spain - Fieduà
Valencia is "the land of rice" but it is also the home to fideuà, a popular interpretation of paella made with a thin and short pasta called fideo. It is widely believed that this Spanish classic comes from the 1930s when local fishermen used to make it on their boats. Cooked in a paella pan together with seafood and fish broth, the pasta takes on a salty hint of the sea, making it a perfect dish for warmer summer months.
It is often served in the same pan, and shared among friends. Traditionally toppings for this dish are usually chopped parsley and lemon juice, but some prefer to top it with a garlic kick of aioli sauce.
4. France - Pistou
The French and Italians have long fought over who, exactly, created pistou. Linguistically speaking, there is certainly a striking similarity between Italian pesto and French pistou, yet, gastronomically, one key difference. While pesto alla Genovese is made with the addition of pine nuts, pistou relies solely on the basic aromatic mix of garlic, fresh basil and olive oil to produce its earthy flavours. This sauce is most commonly served warm, mixed into generous heaps of freshly made linguine.
5. México - Sopa Seca de Fideo
“Sopa seca de fideo" means "dry soup with noodles"; perhaps ironically so considering that the noodles absorb the broth, taking on both the stock and its rich flavour. This rustic soup-come-pasta-dish is made with tomatoes when they are full of the sweet summer flavour of warmer months. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with longer pasta shapes such as bucatini to trap the piquant heat of the broth, bringing both body and balance from the smoked Chipotle peppers.
6. Argentina - Sorrentinos
Traditionally crafted with a variety of fillings such as ricotta, ham, and nuts, sorrentinos are delightful pockets of flavour, similar to that of handcrafted ravioli. Their origins are somewhat ambiguous: while a certain strata of Argentinians claim that they hail from the coastal city of Mar del Plata, others trace their roots back to the eponymously named restaurant, Sorrentino, in Buenos Aires.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.