Pasta is a simple and wonderful foodstuff. It’s up there with pizza, gelato, and tiramisu as one of the great culinary inventions to come out of Italy.
In recognition of World Pasta Day.The celebration of this staple of Italian cuisine, which comes dry and fresh and in all shapes and sizes, started in Naples in 1998 as an initiative of the World Pasta Congress, where experts from all over the world got together to discuss the glories of the noodle.
This tradition continues with the International Pasta Organisation using World Pasta Day to promote the eating of pasta, along with its cultural and culinary importance.
1. According to the World Pasta Industry Status Report of 2013, about 14.3 million tonnes of past was produced worldwide.Italy was the biggest producer with more than 3.4 million tonnes, followed by the US with two million and Brazil with 1.2 million.
2. A 2013 Barilla World Pasta Day survey found that Americans’ three favourite pasta varieties, in order, are spaghetti, penne and rotini.
3. Australia produced 50,000 tonnes, accounting for just 0.4 per cent of the world’s pasta output.
4. The European Union was the biggest producer with 35.7 per cent, followed by South and Central America on 21 per cent.
5. Not surprisingly, Italy topped world pasta consumption at 25.3kg per capita, followed by Tunisia at 16kg, Venezuela at 12.2kg and Greece on 11.5.
6. In Australia we consumed just 4kg per capita.
7. Pasta has copped a bad name in recent years with the rise in popularity of low-carb diets, so the IPO launched a new communications program,The Truth About Pasta, designed to reinforce that pasta fits into a healthy lifestyle.
8. It lists five good reasons consumers can continue to enjoy pasta as a delicious part of a healthy eating plan, stating that pasta is good for you and the planet, pasta is the pillar of the Mediterranean diet, pasta is energy that keeps you fuller for longer, pasta does not make you fat and pasta is tasty and brings people together.
9. Not all pastas are meant to be enjoyed with all sauces. Long, flat pasta such as fettuccine and linguine are best paired with creamy sauces, which cling better to that particular pasta shape. Thicker, chunkier tomato sauces go better with pasta sporting a short, tubular or spiral shape, like rotini and fusilli.
10. We typically think of pasta as being invented in Italy, but the first recorded reports of people eating pasta came from China, as early as 5,000 B.C. Legend has it that famed explorer Marco Polo introduced the noodles to Italy in the 12th century, but historical records indicate the pre-Roman Etruscan civilization had already been making their own pasta (smashing the grain with rocks and mixing it with water to create dough) by 500 B.C.
11. According to the International Pasta Organization, there are more more than 600 different shapes of pasta produced throughout the world.
12. The word 'pasta' actually has its origins in Greek and Latin and literally means “barley porridge” in Greek, and “dough pastry cake” in Latin. In Italian, however, the word means “paste” due to the way pasta is made, primarily by mixing water and flour along with other ingredients, such as eggs and olive oil.
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