***For the Love of PASTA***
We all love pasta, it's become an American staple, but where did it originate?
"Pasta's origin continues to evoke speculation. While many different cultures ate some sort of noodle-like food, composed mostly of grain, the key characteristics of pasta are durum wheat semolina, with a high gluten content.
In North Africa, a food similar to pasta, known as couscous, has been eaten for centuries. However, it lacks the distinguishing malleable nature of what is now referred to as pasta, couscous being more akin to droplets of dough. In China, noodles of millet or rice have been eaten for centuries, but lack the durum wheat semolina paste that denotes pasta.
Historians have noted several lexical milestones relevant to pasta, none which change these basic characteristics. For example, the works of the 2nd century AD Greek physician Galen mention itrion, homogeneous compounds made up of flour and water. The Jerusalem Talmud records that itrium, a kind of boiled dough, was common in Palestine from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, A dictionary compiled by the 9th century Syrian physician and lexicographer Isho bar Ali defines itriyya, the Arabic cognate, as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. The geographical text of Muhammad al-Idrisi, compiled for the Norman King of Sicily Roger II in 1154 mentions itriyya manufactured and exported from Norman Sicily:
Itriyya gives rise to trie in Italian, signifying long strips such as tagliatelle and trenette. One form of itriyya with a long history is laganum (plural lagana), which in Latin refers to a thin sheet of dough, and gives rise to Italian "lasagna"
In the 1st century BC writings of Horace, lagana were fine sheets of dough which were fried and were an everyday food. Writing in the 2nd century Athenaeus of Naucratis provides a recipe for lagana which he attributes to the 1st century Chrysippus of Tyana: sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavored with spices and deep-fried in oil. An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish called lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing, a possible ancestor of modern-day Lasagna. But the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to our modern definition of either a fresh or dry pasta product. The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the thirteenth or fourteenth century
. The name (λαγάνα, lagána) survives in modern-day Greece to denote an unleavened, flat bread eaten during the Great Lent. The term "lagana" is also used in the Southern region of Calabria, where it indicates a flat noodle."
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Let's Share Our Pasta Recipes in This Discussion
I'm sure that we'll have a bunch of interesting & delicious recipes to pick and choose from here....