We spend every day surrounded by one of our favorite foods in the world: pasta. It’s one of the tastiest and most versatile foods on the planet. It also has a pretty rich history. We did a little sleuthing to uncover the history of pasta and find out more about how it made its way from Asia to Europe to the Americas—and into the kitchen of your favorite Italian restaurants in Springfield Missouri.
From East to West
When you think of pasta, you probably think of the Italian-inspired noodles we serve at Bambinos. It’s true: Pasta has become a major staple of Italian culinary culture. However, it’s most likely derived from a long line of ancient Asian noodles. Some historians originally believed that pasta was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo in his thirteenth-century travels. But it turns out that pasta was already popular in Italy during the thirteenth century so consider that myth busted.
So how did pasta make its way to Europe? The most commonly-held theory is that noodles were first produced in central Asia centuries ago. It eventually made its way to Europe, which some historians believe is the result of nomadic Easterners. After reaching the Mediterranean, the pasta that we’re familiar with was developed, refining the process until a pasta flour with a long shelf life was developed.
A Distinguished Dish
Pasta was considered a dish for the wealthy long past the Renaissance. Over time, because of its affordability and long shelf life, it became a mainstay in Italian culinary culture. Italy’s climate was well-suited for growing sauce ingredients like fresh vegetables and herbs. That’s how tomato-based sauces, like our fresh marinara sauce that you’ll find in many items on our menu, became a staple.
Pasta began to emerge as a global phenomenon after early Spanish settlers brought it to the Americas. It’s also widely believed that Thomas Jefferson (not Yankee Doodle) helped spark the pasta revolution in North America after trying a dish he called “macaroni.” He was so enamored with it (we get it Tom) that he brought several cases back to North America, replenishing his stock from Naples, Italy when it ran low.
Pasta went mainstream during the nineteenth century when a large wave of Italian immigrants arrived, many of them from Naples, Italy. They helped propel pasta into the spotlight. Ever since then, Americans have developed a serious taste for pasta—one we’re happy to oblige. We’re thrilled to be able to share our family’s Italian heritage and passion for pasta with the Springfield community.