Pasta is the go-to choice for us New Englanders as it’s the ultimate comfort food, providing us with warmth and satisfying our taste buds, especially here in Boston. At Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop, our expert staff has extensive knowledge when it comes to making pasta. We make all of our pasta right in our shop so you know you’re getting the freshest quality ingredients.

If you’ve ever wondered how pasta came to be, let’s walk you through it! Now when you go to your next Italian family dinner, you can provide them with some insight on how pasta became such a popular choice.

Americans have a strong desire to indulge in pasta but this love affair only really picked up during the 20th century. Italians, on the other hand, have been indulging in pasta for centuries, making items such as spaghetti and ravioli international household names.

How Pasta Got Its Name

Long ago, pasta was developed from the flour of durum wheat which creates a pasty texture of dough; the term “pasta” is derived from the pastiness of the dough. There are various names for pasta, all of which are based on the shapes in which the dough is molded into.

The two types of pasta are:

Fresh pasta – mixed, cooked and consumed immediately

Pasta Secca – dried and stored, later cooked in boiling water

The Pasta Shift from China to Italy

You may be surprised to find out that pasta actually originated in the Shang Dynasty between 1700-1100 BC. However, this pasta wasn’t the type you’d find at an Italian market or restaurant, rather, the Shang Dynasty indulged in noodles which were made with wheat or rice flour. Even the ancient Greek civilization was known to have some pasta in their diet and the term lasagna originates from the Greek term “laganon.”

In the fourth century BC, pasta made a huge impact in Italy, particularly the Etruscan civilization. In fact, an Etruscan tomb displays tools and kitchen utensils (similar to the ones we use today) that were used to roll the pasta.

During the Renaissance in the 14th century, pasta was eaten regularly among those in Rome and Florence. Pasta became increasingly popular in the 19th century once it was sold in dried forms. Although Italians did not technically invent pasta, they certainly added some innovative twists and developed a culture around this delicious cuisine.