Whether you’re dining at home or in a restaurant, pasta is a delectable choice for lunch and dinner alike. Countless combinations are possible with the various forms and flavors, so it’s sure to satisfy virtually everyone. Here’s everything you need to know about the world-renowned food.
Where Did Pasta Come From?
Although pasta is typically thought of as an Italian dish, it was likely inspired by Asian noodles. The specific origins in Italy are widely debated by historians — theories range from popularity as early as 400 B.C. to an introduction from Marco Polo by way of China in the 13th century. It is widely accepted, however, that Italians from Naples and the surrounding area brought the cuisine to America when they immigrated in the 19th century.
Originally, pasta was a meal for the wealthy and was often featured at banquets throughout the Renaissance period. It later gained popularity across socioeconomic groups when pasta machines and mechanical presses were developed in the 17th century, which made production easier and led to lower prices.
How Is It Made?
Whether made by hand in a restaurant or by machine at a factory, pasta begins with either semolina or farina flour. Adding eggs will boost the dough’s richness and color. Then, the ingredients are blended with warm water, along with any desired flavorings. Purees made from fresh herbs and greens like spinach add a light, delicate flavor, while cracked black pepper gives noodles a zesty taste.
The dough is then rolled to release any air bubbles, and steamed to kill bacteria. After that, it’s cut into the chosen shape and dried. The drying process takes anywhere from three to 12 hours, depending on the shape and size of the pasta.
How Is It Served?
Pasta sauces vary widely, and pairings will depend on personal preference. Here are a few sauces to try next time you’re at an Italian restaurant:
Marinara: This simple tomato sauce is sweet and acidic. The name is believed to refer to the mariners who brought tomatoes back to Naples from the New World.
Meat Sauce: The addition of ground beef or sausage makes this tomato-based sauce a hearty topping for filled pastas and simple shapes alike.
Alfredo: This rich, creamy Parmesan sauce became popular in the 20th century when Hollywood stars began traveling to Rome. Today, it is often paired with chicken and vegetables.
Mushroom Ragu: This earthy, nutty sauce is the perfect way to highlight the subtle taste of fresh noodles.
Oil & Garlic: This simple pairing is ideal for kids or those who prefer a more subdued topping.
If you’re looking for outstanding pasta, visit Roma Restaurant in Southwick, MA. The Italian restaurant has been in operation since 1976, in addition to their comfortable dining room, they offer a banquet hall that can accommodate as many as 250 guests. For more information about their crowd-pleasing menu, including pasta, pizza, and salads, call (413) 569-6315 or visit them online.