The history of pasta


“Today, pasta con sarde, or pasta with sardines, is one of Sicily’s signature dishes. Yet as legends go, this version of how pasta became a staple of Italian cuisine is far less familiar than the tale of Marco Polo’s supposed discovery of noodles in China in the 13th century—a tale that has been subject to more spin than a forkful of spaghetti. In the first place, Polo actually wrote in his account of his travels that the noodles he ate in the Orient were “as good as the ones I have tasted many times in Italy,” and likened them to vermicelli and lasagna. Second, there are commercial documents recording pasta shipments and production in Italy long before Polo’s journey. Most convincingly, scholars have pointed out that the whole story was a deliberate fabrication published in the late 1920’s by editors of The Macaroni Journal, a trade publication of North American pasta manufacturers. While the Asad ibn al-Furat tale may be no less fanciful, there is evidence to suggest that pasta may have come from the Middle East. Still, the story of the humble noodle’s journey from east to west has as many twists and turns as a strand of fusili, and is often as slippery.”

— The surprising history of pasta, which may have actually originated in the Middle East. Complement with an architectural anatomy of pasta designs