In the world’s collective imagination, Pasta, together with pizza, is the most representative dish of our country. As history teaches us, the Italianness did not always exist, but it was built over time with great efforts (even today we have not finished working on it) and it needed symbols that were essential for our national identity. Pasta is certainly one of the iconic foods result of these efforts.
We are used to consider it a first dish, but its oldest story tells us a different use of it in the menu sequence. In fact, the lagana (its ancestor), obtained by combining water and flour and baking it in the oven with water, broth or milk was considered a side dish and it accompanied the most common dishes.
The dry pasta and the habit of associating it with spices, cheese or other condiments were born in Sicily, during the Arab domination. The real turning point took place in the seventeenth century in Gragnano, where the production with press (mechanization of the pasta production process) allowed to produce larger quantities at lower prices. This brought benefits to the entire population, especially the poorest.
In 1839 in Naples, vermicelli with “Pummadora”( tomato sauce) were presented for the first time. The historic meeting between pasta and tomato has created a union that is still indissoluble today. Pellegrino Artusi, the father of Italian cuisine, placed it as a first course. He was the one to create a tradition (the idea of pasta eaten in the family and before any other dish) making it no longer just a Neapolitan dish, but Italian.
Long or short, spaghetti or penne, farfalle or fusilli: besides the type – although it still creates some disagreements about preference – today pasta is a pop food that unites Italians from one end of the peninsula to the other and all over the world. We want to celebrate this food on the Republic Day, because popular today means everyone.
After all, under the tricolour flag there is also this, an element that has marked a people so deeply. Today pasta allows us to celebrate a holiday that unites us in symbols, and in our culture. Long live to pasta, long live to Italy.