Fusilli, Penne, Spaghetti, Capellini and Fettuccine, pasta comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Pasta acts as a sort of blank canvas for the almost infinite variety of sauces that can be made to pair with them.
And National Pasta Day is the perfect time to learn more about and celebrate all things pasta!
History of National Pasta Day
Historians don’t completely agree on the origins of pasta. Many people believe that pasta originated in Italy, while others say that it came all the way from China when Marco Polo was on his adventures in the 13th century.
Still other historians claim that pasta is actually much older than that, to the 4th century BC. In fact, in the place that is now Italy, an Etruscan tomb shows pictures of natives making something that appears to be pasta.
Even Greek mythology gets involved in the stories about the origination of pasta. The god Hephaestus, known as Vulcan, made a device that would create long strands of dough, which some people think may have been a version of pasta or spaghetti.
Not long before he became the President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is believed to have brought pasta to the US after a trip to Paris in the late 1780s. After eating what he referred to as “macaroni” in France, Jefferson brought two cases back with him and helped influence its popularity in America.
National Pasta Day Timeline
4th Century BC
Pasta is traced back to Etruscan civilization
The Etruscan civilization shows evidence of people making pasta in the area that is now known as Italy.
12th Century AD
Pasta-like noodles are made in China
During the Shang Dynasty, in what is now Northern China, noodles are made from rice or wheat flour.
16th Century AD
First pasta maker in Italy
Beginning at the court of Ferrara and then adopted by the Neopolitans, the pasta maker Christoforo Messisbugo documents what he refers to as the ”macaroni invention”.
Thomas Jefferson brings pasta to the US
After an extended trip to Paris, the future US President brings crates of pasta back from Europe to America.
Barilla Pasta Company is founded
Founded in Parma, Italy, the Barilla company will eventually become the largest pasta company in the world.
How to Celebrate National Pasta Day
Get into the spirit of this delightful day by inviting friends and family to enjoy and celebrate National Pasta Day in a variety of ways. Consider taking part in some of these ideas, or come up with some of your own:
Enjoy Eating Pasta
Of course, National Pasta Day is the right time to enjoy eating some pasta! And the great thing is that there are so many different options of ways to enjoy pastas.
Invite some friends or family members over for a meal and experiment with some new and interesting recipes for pasta. Try out some unique ideas for making sauces for pasta, such as these:
- Truffle Cream Pasta Sauce. Enjoy this exquisite sauce made from special truffle oil, heavy cream, butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve it on penne or linguini.
- Frutti de Mare Pasta Sauce. A seafood based pasta sauce, the name literally means “fruit of the sea”. The sauce is fairly quick to cook up, including mussels, wild shrimp and squid tentacles that are cooked in a base made from white wine, basil, garlic and arrabbiata tomato sauce. Serve on long noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine.
- Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce. A simple sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and dried chili peppers, this one is delicious when cooked in olive oil. This type of sauce originates from the region of Rome and is a classic sauce that can be served on almost any pasta, from spaghetti to zucchini noodles.
- Salsa di Noci Pasta Sauce. This rich and creamy pasta sauce is made from cream, walnuts, Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh herbs. Serve the sauce of short, freshly-made pastas.
Learn Fun Facts About Pasta
Enjoy National Pasta Day and spread the word to friends and family members by sharing various delightful bits of trivia. Try out some of these fun facts to get started:
The average person living in Italy eats approximately 51 pounds of pasta every year!
Italy produces approximately 2.75 million tons of pasta each year, while the United States produces around 1.9 million tons annually.
At least 600 different shapes of pasta are made all around the world, and each type has its own purpose.
Before pasta machines were invented, the dough for pasta was kneaded by foot as workers would walk over large batches of the dough!
Get a Discount for National Pasta Day
Some restaurants that serve pasta may choose to offer a special discount in honor of National Pasta Day! In celebration of the day, check out which national restaurant chains have been known to offer certain deals. Consider enjoying pasta places such as Noodles & Company, Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and many others.
One great thing about celebrating National Pasta Day at a local restaurant is that it means someone else will make the meal for you – and they will even clean it up! Plus, when eating with a group, it’s fun for everyone in the party to order a different dish so everyone can try something new.
Take a Trip to Italy
In celebration of National Pasta Day, take the opportunity to head over to the place that does pasta best – Italy! What could be a better place to really soak up the delicious and delightful flavors of pastas and sauces?
Some people might want to make their decisions about travel based on the types of pasta that different regions of Italy have to offer. Take a look at some of these pastas hailing from different regions in Italy:
- Farfalle from Lombardy. Also known as ‘bow-tie pasta’, farfalle may be best enjoyed in the north-central region of Italy where Milan, and Bergamo are located.
- Penne from Campania. These delightful little tubes of pasta work well to hold the sauce for bursts of flavor. Enjoy dishes with penne pasta in the region of Campania, which is the south-western region that includes Naples.
- Ziti from Sicily. Similar to penne, ziti are short tubes of pasta that are often baked after being covered in sauce. Head down to the largest Mediterranean island at the tip of Italy to enjoy this pasta shape in Sicily.
- Gigli from Tuscany. Translated to mean ‘lilies’, Gigli pasta is a light and thin style that makes just a slight twirl. Gigli is from the city of Florence where the lily acts as a local emblem.
National Pasta Day FAQs
Is pasta vegan?
Yes, almost all packaged pastas are 100% vegan, though some types of noodles do contain eggs.
Did pasta come from Italy?
While some historians believe pasta came from Italy, others say that Marco Polo actually brought it from China.
Does pasta have gluten?
Yes, most standard pastas are made from flour and have gluten, though gluten free pasta is available made from rice, corn or other grains.
Does pasta have protein?
Traditional pasta is made from wheat flour and has about 8 grams of protein per serving. Some pastas made from lentils, edamame and chickpeas should contain more protein.
Is pasta healthy?
If it’s made from whole grains, pasta can provide fiber, and it is also a good source of energy from carbohydrates, which is healthy in moderation.