Pasta may be the world’s most universally beloved food. From digging into heaping bowl of Grandma’s famous spaghetti and meatballs to enjoying a gourmet pasta dish at a 4-star Michelin restaurant, there are endless ways to enjoy this culinary world favorite. And there’s no better time to acknowledge all things pasta than on World Pasta Day this October 25th.
The Anniversary of World Pasta Day
On October 25, 1995, delegates from all over the world gathered in Rome to discuss their ideas for promoting pasta as a global food with dynamic benefits “capable of meeting both primary food requirements and those of high-level gastronomy.” The result? The formation of World Pasta Day.
Officially celebrating its 20-year anniversary this fall, World Pasta day is still going strong. In fact, pasta is healthier than ever thanks to a surge in whole grain varieties which can provide as much as 25 percent of your daily recommended serving of fiber, in addition to plenty of other vitamins and nutrients.
Did you know that pasta was not actually invented in Italy? While its origins are unconfirmed, many believe that pasta was first made and eaten by ancient Etruscan civilizations, according to the International Pasta Organization. Others believe that pasta was discovered in China by Marco Polo, who returned to his home country where it was then co-opted by the Italians.
While we may never know for sure just where pasta got its start, one thing for sure: it is now enjoyed in countless incarnations all over the world. Consider these other eye-opening, mouth-watering pasta facts:
• With the average American eating approximately 20 pounds of past every year, the U.S. ranks sixth on the list of food per capita, according to Pasta Fits. This pales in comparison to Italians, however, who each consume a staggering 60 pounds of pasta annually. The country which eats the least amount of pasta? Ireland and El Salvador tie for last, with residents eating an average of just one pound per capita per year.
• The introduction of macaroni to the United States is credited to Thomas Jefferson, who reportedly discovered the dish in Naples, and had crate loads shipped back to the United States…along with his very own pasta machine, according to the National Pasta Association.
• According to the Food Network, there are currently more than 600 types of pasta, including both fresh and dry varieties. Today, many pastas are free of gluten, egg and other allergens meaning more people than ever can indulge in spaghetti, penne, cannelloni, or the pastas of their choosing.
Our Pasta Picks
Deciding between pasta dishes is the equivalent of choosing between beloved children: each has its own infinite list of things to love. Still, we’ve identified three of our favorites — ranging from the essence of simplicity to more complicated recipes — to help you celebrate World Pasta Day in scrumptious style.
1. Strozzapreti with Lamb Ragù
Declared by Food and Wine to be one of the best pasta dishes ever, this hearty dish combines a spiced lamb ragu with sauce-soaking striated strozzapreti. Saute lamb and Middle Eastern-inspired spices like cumin and Aleppo pepper in a cast-iron pan before creating a sauce comprising paprika, harissa, and tomatoes. Let simmer, add to cooked pasta, top with mint and cheese, and prepare to indulge.
Perfect for dinner parties, this meal can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to three days.
2. Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Lemon
No one does pasta quite like Giada De Laurentiis, and this recipe delivers everything and more you’d expect from this Food Network star. Even better? The ingredients can be plucked straight from your pantry and whipped up into a delicious meal in just nine minutes flat — in other words, the exact amount of time it takes for your pasta to reach the perfect al dente in a pasta cooker.
The takeaway? Sometimes simple is indeed best.</>
3. Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
While the previous two recipes prove that pasta doesn’t have to be drenched in rich butter and luscious cream to be delicious, sometimes there’s no substitute for the real deal. Speaking of the real deal, this recipe from Saveur is devoid of something else typically found in pasta: gluten. Fashioned from potatoes, rice flour, potato starch and an egg, these gnocchis are temptingly toothsome, while the sauce is slightly sweet and oh-so-satisfying.
One last way to celebrate World Pasta Day? Consider making your own. It’s easier than you think — particularly if you have a food processor for making the dough and a pasta machine for rolling the pasta. Not only that, but conventional pasta recipes include just two ingredients: flour and egg.
While you probably don’t need another reason to indulge in pasta, we can think of no better excuse to dig in than World Pasta Day. Whether you head to a neighborhood restaurant to enjoy your favorite meal or serve up a home-cooked meal of your own to friends and family, it’s time to celebrate this October 25th.