CJ's Pasta

07 3257 3321

CJ’s Pasta
7 am – 6pm | Mon – Fri

CJ’s Cafe
7am – 4 pm | Mon – Fri (Kitchen Closes @ 2pm)
Closed Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays

A Few Interesting Facts about Pasta

Where it all began

Like bread, pasta has been around since man began cultivating wheat and other cereals. It is likely that many peoples in one form or another used both pasta and bread.

The World’s First Pasta

The earliest reference to pasta was found in an Etruscan tomb in the 1970’s where a series of engravings of tools used for making and cooking pasta were found. What has not been known widely is the use of pasta by the Ancient Romans. One of the earliest documents referring to pasta is a book of recipes written shortly after the birth of Christ by a chef named Apicius, who describes lagane as something similar to modern day lasagna.

Medieval Palermo

Around the year 1000, the first documented recipe for pasta appeared in the book De arte Coquinaria per vermicelli e maccaroni siciliani, (The Art of Cooking Sicilian Macaroni and Vermicelli), written by Martino Corno, chef to the powerful Patriarch of Aquileia.

In 1150, the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi reports that at Trabia, on the outskirts of Palermo, “they produce an abundance of pasta in the shape of strings (tria in Arabic, spago in Italian) which are exported to Calabria and many Muslim and Christian countries, even by ship.” And so Palermo (at the time Sicily was an Arab colony) became the historical capital of pasta, with historical sources referring to the production of dried pasta in what seems like a small-scale industrial enterprise. Pasta was also well known in Arab countries; where still today they speak of makkaroni.

The Pasta Masters of the Middle Ages

In 1279 a notary’s inventory of an inheritance speaks of “a bariscela (basket) full of macaronis.” A document from 1244 and another from 1316 testify to the production of dried pasta in Liguria. Between 1400 and 1500, the production by craftsmen of fidei (pasta in the local dialect) became quite widespread in Liguria, leading to the founding of the Corporation of Pasta-Makers in 1574 in Genoa. Three years later, the Regolazione dell’Arte dei Maestri Fidelari (Rules for the Art of Pasta-Masters Corporation) was drawn up in Savona.

The 17th century sees a new culinary invention

In Naples the population growth was causing problems of food accessibility, until the spread of the kneading machine and the invention of the mechanical press made it possible to produce pasta at a much lower price. Pasta thus became the food of the people. Naples’ vicinity to the sea (as was also the case of Liguria and Sicily) facilitated drying, a process which allowed pasta to be conserved for an extended period of time.

The 18th century Pasta reaches the Americans

In Naples, pasta was made by mixing semolina dough by foot. The pasta maker sat on a long bench and used his feet to mix and knead the dough. The King of Naples, Ferdinando II, not happy with this method (and who can blame him) hired a famous engineer called Spadaccini, to improve the procedure. The new system consisted of adding boiling water to freshly ground flour, and a machine made of bronze that perfectly imitated the work done by man. Spadaccini also came up with the brilliant idea of using a four pronged fork for eating pasta (until then not popular in gentile society since it could only be eaten using one’s hands), and so pasta finally made it to the various courts and fiefdoms of Italy.

In 1740, the city of Venice issued Paolo Adami a license to open the first pasta factory. The machinery consisted of an iron press, powered by several young boys. In 1763, the Duke of Parma, Don Ferdinando of Bourbon, gave Stefano Lucciardi of Sarzana the right to a 10 year-monopoly for the production of “Genoa-style” dried pasta in the city of Parma.

The USA President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was mad about pasta and introduced it to the Americans. His banquets were famous for offering new gastronomic specialities discovered during his European travels.

19th Century and boldly beyond

The industrial revolution and modern technology allowed for the standardisation of pasta production and the reproduction of the ideal climatic conditions. Pasta production spread throughout Italy and surrounding nations and to the furthest corners of the planet, making it the best-known Italian food all around the world.

A Few Nutritional Facts about Pasta

A 1/2 cup serving of cooked pasta (spaghetti) contains a mere 99 calories, less than half a gram of fat, and less than 5 milligrams of sodium.

Pasta is high in complex carbohydrates, which provide a “time release” of energy rather than a quick boost. Most athletes include complex carbohydrates in their diet to save up the energy in their body. The carbohydrates become glucose stored in the muscles. The glucose energy is then released when needed during long, tiring exercise, like long-distance running or biking.

The Food Pyramid recommends we eat six to 11 servings of complex carbohydrates daily. Consuming pasta a minimum of three times a week is an easy way to help meet that goal. A typical serving of cooked spaghetti will probably provide two or three of your recommended servings of complex carbohydrates.