The history of spaghetti is just as flavorful as the food itself! Although pasta is associated with Italian food, it has long been thought that Marco Polo brought this food back to Italy from his travels to China in 1295, however there are references to pasta existing in Italy prior to that date and the noodles and the noodle like food that Polo described as being Chinese is made differently from traditional spaghetti.
So where does the history of spaghetti begin?
Since record keeping in ancient times wasn’t so great, it’s hard to say for sure. The ancient Greeks and Romans did eat some sort of dough which may have been similar to spaghetti, but they cooked it on stones. The Arabs ate noodles that they boiled much like pasta and may have introduced this food to the Italians curing their conquest of Sicily and indeed some ancient Sicilian recipes include spices that were introduced by the Arabs. One thing is for certain though, spaghetti goes back a long, long way!
The more modern history of spaghetti has direct ties to Italy. The climate of the country is well suited for growing the Durham wheat which provides the semolina necessary for good spaghetti so no matter how it originated, you can be sure the food has been widely used throughout the area for centuries.
It may well have been the Italians who originated eating spaghetti the way we know it today and thus played a vital role in the history of spaghetti. The tomato was introduced to the old world hundreds of years after pasta was. It didn’t take long to discover that this was a match made in heaven and the first known record of a recipe that combines tomatoes and pasta was written in 1839 by the Duke of Buonvicino. Prior to this delectable combination, spaghetti was eaten dry – and probably a good thing as the fork was not invented until after pasta was!
It’s hard to believe that with all this ancient history of spaghetti, that it has only been popular in the United States since the 1920’s. Introduced by immigrants from southern Italy, this food quickly gained popularity and is a staple food today. There are over 150 different varieties and tons of different sauces that you can combine them with. Of course, the best quality pasta is still made with 100% semolina which proves that you cannot improve upon perfection!