is pasta month and during the month, Chas. E. Ramson Ltd.,
distributors of Mueller's and Heartland brands, will share
information and recipes with readers.
legend has it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following
his exploration of the Far East in the late 13th century;
however, we can trace pasta back as far as the fourth century
B.C., where an Etruscan tomb showed a group of natives making
what appears to be pasta. The Chinese were making a noodle-like
food as early as 3000 B.C. And Greek mythology suggests that
the Greek God Vulcan invented a device that made strings of
dough (the first spaghetti!).
made its way to the New World through the English, who discovered
it while touring Italy. Colonists brought to America the English
practice of cooking noodles at least one half hour, then smothering
them with cream sauce and cheese. But it was Thomas Jefferson
who is credited with bringing the first 'macaroni' machine
to America in 1789 when he returned home after serving as
ambassador to France.
first industrial pasta factory in America was built in Brooklyn
in 1848 by, of all people, a Frenchman, who spread his spaghetti
strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.
is pasta made?
dry pasta is made with semolina, which is produced by grinding
kernels of durum wheat. Sometimes other hard wheats are also
used. The semolina is mixed with water until it forms a dough.
If any other ingredients are being added to the pasta, such
as eggs to make egg noodles, or spinach or tomato to make
red or green coloured pasta, those ingredients are added at
dough is kneaded until it reaches the correct consistency,
and then it is pushed, or extruded, through a die, a metal
disc with holes in it. The size and shape of the holes in
the die determine what the shape of the pasta will be. For
instance, dies with round or oval holes will produce solid,
long shapes of pasta, such as spaghetti. When the extruded
pasta reaches the right length, it is cut with sharp blades
that rotate beneath the die.
pasta is then sent through large dryers which circulate hot,
moist air to slowly dry the pasta. Because different pasta
shapes vary in degrees of thickness, they dry for different
lengths of time. Most take five or six hours to dry.
dried pasta is then packed in bags or boxes. Some of the more
fragile pasta shapes, such as lasagne and manicotti, are often
packed by hand to protect them from breaking.