Canoodling with Pasta
Photography: Paulette Phlipot
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Noodles or pasta? Pasta or noodles? They are a standard starting point for many dishes, extremely diverse in ingredients, cultural origin, structure and aesthetics. Though their inventor and country of origin is disputed, the relationship between noodles and pasta dates back more than 700 years. In the late 13th century, Marco Polo traveled to China and brought noodles back to Italy to add to his country’s staple of pasta. Though Marco Polo gets the credit, and the story is widely believed, some think it is just a legend and that it was actually the Arabs who introduced noodles to Sicily in 827 when they took over the island.
Today, the word “pasta” usually refers to Italian-style recipes and “noodle” has a more general meaning that includes Asian-style dishes. There are two basic forms of pasta—noodles and macaroni. Macaroni’s ingredient list includes semolina and water while noodles include egg solids. Without the egg, the pasta can’t be called a noodle.
I have compiled some of my favorite noodle recipes to share with Sun Valley Magazine readers, as it is the variety of noodles and their extreme versatility that keeps foodies clamoring to include them in recipes around the world.
shapes and dates
• The world’s oldest noodle is discovered in China. Radiocarbon dating of the food indicates that it is about 4,000 years old.
• In 1740, the city of Venice issued Paolo Adami a license to open the first pasta factory.
• By the turn of the century, pasta exportation was the bread and butter of Italy. In 1913, exportation touched a high of 70,000 tons.
• In 1970, Nissin Foods launched “Top Ramen” in the U.S. and the rest is history. College students still consider the six-for-$1 instant noodles culinary magic.
• Farfalle: Elaborate, short pastas that are cut from a sheet of dough and then pinched in the middle to form a bow. (Source: Dishy)
• Penne: Features a hollow middle and smooth surface. Good for both thick and more liquid sauces—the smooth surface absorbs water while the hollow core can be completely filled. (Source: Dishy)
• Spaghetti, pappardelle, and fettucine are three types of long pasta whose names are variations of the same theme—“little ropes.” (Source: Dishy)
• Ramen noodles originated in China and are called “Lo-Mein,” which means boiled noodles. (Source: The Book of Ramen)
• Rice-Flour Noodles: These are made from rice, wheat and water, come in a variety of thicknesses, and develop a
matte white appearance after being boiled or soaked.
(Source: Noodles, 40 delicious and Imaginative Noodle Recipes) >>>