World Pasta Day is celebrated annually on 25 October The aims of World Pasta Day are to maximize promotion of this, healthy, nutritious, accessible and sustainable food, a pillar of the Mediterranean Diet, recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. During World Pasta Day many promotional initiatives and parallel events are held throughout the world. 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of WORLD PASTA DAY. The event was founded in 1998 by the International Pasta Organisation.
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, with the first reference dating to 1154 in Sicily. The word Pasta is Also commonly used to refer to the variety dishes made with it, pasta is typically made from an unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs, and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking. Some pastas can be made using rice flour in place of wheat flour to yield a different taste and texture, or for those who need to avoid products containing gluten.
Pastas may be divided into two broad categories: dried (pasta secca) and fresh (pasta fresca). Most dried pasta is produced commercially via an extrusion process, although it can be produced in the home. Fresh pasta is traditionally produced by hand, sometimes with the aid of simple machines. Fresh pastas available in grocery stores are produced commercially by large-scale machines.
Both dried and fresh pastas come in a number of shapes and varieties, with 310 specific forms known by over 1300 documented names. In Italy, the names of specific pasta shapes or types often vary by locale. For example, the pasta form cavatelli is known by 28 different names depending upon the town and region. Common forms of pasta include long and short shapes, tubes, flat shapes or sheets, miniature shapes for soup, those meant to be filled or stuffed, and specialty or decorative shapes.
As a category in Italian cuisine, both fresh and dried pastas are classically used in one of three kinds of prepared dishes: as pasta asciutta (or pastasciutta), cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary side sauce or condiment; a second classification of pasta dishes is pasta in brodo, in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish. A third category is pasta al forno, in which the pasta is incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked in the oven. Pasta dishes are generally simple, but individual dishes vary in preparation. Some pasta dishes are served as a small first course or for light lunches, such as pasta salads. Other dishes may be portioned larger and used for dinner. Pasta sauces similarly may vary in taste, color and texture. In terms of nutrition, cooked plain pasta is 31% carbohydrates (mostly starch), 6% protein, and low in fat, with moderate amounts of manganese, but pasta generally has low micronutrient content. Pasta may be enriched or fortified, or made from whole grains.
The history pf pasta can be traced back to the 1st century AD writings of Horace, who described lagana (singular: laganum) as fine sheets of fried dough which were an everyday foodstuff. Writing in the 2nd century Athenaeus of Naucratis provides a recipe for lagana which he attributes to the 1st century Chrysippus of Tyana: sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavoured with spices and deep-fried in oil. An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish called lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing, an ancestor of modern-day lasagna. However, the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to our modern definition of either a fresh or dry pasta product, which only had similar basic ingredients and perhaps the shape. The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the 13th or 14th century. 2nd century AD Greek physician Galen mentions itrion, homogeneous compounds made of flour and water. The Jerusalem Talmud records that itrium, a kind of boiled dough, was common in Palestine from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD. A dictionary compiled by the 9th century Arab physician and lexicographer Isho bar Ali defines itriyya, the Arabic cognate, as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. The geographical text of Muhammad al-Idrisi, compiled for the Norman King of Sicily Roger II in 1154 mentions itriyya manufactured and exported from Norman Sicily.
In North Africa, a food similar to pasta, known as couscous, has been eaten for centuries. However, it lacks the distinguishing malleable nature of pasta, couscous being more akin to droplets of dough. At first, dry pasta was a luxury item in Italy because of high labor costs; durum wheat semolina had to be kneaded for a long time. There is a legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China which originated with the Macaroni Journal, published by an association of food industries with the goal of promoting pasta in the United States. Rustichello da Pisa writes in his Travels that Marco Polo described a food similar to “lagana”. Jeffrey Steingarten asserts that Arabs introduced pasta in the Emirate of Sicily in the ninth century, mentioning also that traces of pasta have been found in ancient Greece and that Jane Grigson believed the Marco Polo story to have originated in the 1920s or 30s in an advertisement for a Canadian spaghetti company. In Greek mythology, it is believed that the god Hephaestus invented a device that made strings of dough. This was the earliest reference to a pasta maker. In the 14th and 15th centuries, dried pasta became popular for its easy storage. This allowed people to store pasta on ships when exploring the New World. A century later, pasta was present around the globe during the voyages of discovery. The invention of the first tomato sauces dates from the late 18th century: the first written record of pasta with tomato sauce can be found in the 1790 cookbook L’Apicio Moderno by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi. Before tomato sauce was introduced, pasta was eaten dry with the fingers; the liquid sauce demanded the use of a fork.
The first World Pasta Day was held in Naples in 1998. Since then, this event has been held every year, moving to Genoa (1999), Rome (2000, 2001 and 2002), Naples (2003), New York (2004), Barcelona (2005), Rome (2006), Mexico City (2007), Istanbul (2008), New York (2009), Rio de Janeiro (2010), Rome (2011), Mexico City (2012), Istanbul (2013), Buenos Aires (2014) and then again, this time to Milan (25-27 October 2015) at EXPO 2015. In 2016 it was held in Moscow and São Paulo hosted the event in 2017. The 20th World Pasta Day is organized by the International Past Organisation and AIDEPI (Italy) in Dubai, with the support of ITA (Italian Trade Agency).
During World Pasta Day The scientific, economic, technological, cultural and gastronomic aspects linked to pasta are discussed in front of an international audience made up of pasta makers and supply chain operators, representatives from the economic sector, academics, institutions and media, to reaffirm the truth about pasta starting from its roots and outlining its path between past, present and future.