Italians are known to celebrate life with a positive force. Their food justifies this belief. Here are some interesting facts about pasta and pizza – two things which have become synonymous with Italian cuisine.
Think ‘Italian’ and the first word that pops up is pasta. An average Italian consumes 50 pounds of pasta annually. There is evidence to prove that Italians were eating pasta from the 12th century onwards. That makes this dish over 900 years old!
While the dish has been around since ages, the tomato sauce is a relatively new addition. Tomatoes were only introduced to Europe in 1800. Before that, pasta sauces contained no tomatoes at all. Hard to believe, right?
There are more than 600 pasta shapes. Flat pasta sheets like lasagna,ribbon-shaped like spaghetti and fettuccine, tubular ones such as penne, macaroni and cannelloni, dumplings like fusilli and farfalle, stuffed favourites like ravioli – these are just a few of the many varieties available. You will find a pasta shape to match your favourite sauce, maybe even to add to your soup
To make dry pasta, you need durum wheat and semolina flour. Flour, eggs and water are kneaded together to make fresh pasta
Like pasta, pizza has become synonymous with Italian food. The word pizza means ‘pie’, a flat, round base of dough baked with a topping of tomatoes and cheese. While it is commonly believed that the Italians invented pizza, this may not be completely accurate. ‘Baked’ bread with toppings was common in other cuisines as well. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Armenians, Jews and Babylonians used to make something like a pizza, by baking flat bread in mud ovens
The Italian version of the dish, an open-faced pie slathered with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese is believed to have been created in Naples. A sign of the city bakers’ ingenuity who baked excess dough to create the pizza pie
Raffaele Esposito, a baker in the city of Naples, baked a pizza with a topping of tomato (red), basil (green) and cheese (white) to represent the colours of the Italian flag. This was in 1889, to honour the visit of King Umberto and Queen Margherita. The Queen was impressed and as was the custom at that time, the new dish was dedicated to her. And Pizza Margherita was born
You will always find three items placed on the table while dining in Italy, bread, wine and water
You use the bread to dip into the food and mop up the sauces from your plate. The wine just adds to the ambience of a good meal.