If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of spaghetti, or even why there are so many different types of pastas, you’re definitely not alone.
Different shaped and weighted pastas carry a unique taste because each one tends to handle a multitude of alternate sauce types. The pasta texture, and the particular sauce, greatly influence the culinary experience—even if it appears, on the surface, the only difference is the shape.
A sturdier pasta, like rigatoni, can better handle a heavy sauce, while a delicate pasta, like angel hair, needs a much lighter sauce to prevent it from being overwhelmed.
If you’re wondering about the difference between spaghetti and other types of pasta: Spaghetti is a particularly popular pasta, especially in America. To satisfy your curiosity: we’ve provided a bit of pasta history—including that of spaghetti—along with a few recipes that you can create and enjoy right at home.
The History of Spaghetti
While some historians believe pasta originated in Italy, most are convinced Marco Polo actually brought it back from his epic voyage to China. The earliest known pasta was made from rice flour and was common in the east.
In Italy, pasta was made from hard wheat and shaped into long strands.—bringing this ancient food much closer to modern-day spaghetti. However, the earliest Italian version was likely a bit closer to vermicelli (a pasta name that translates into English as “little worms.”)
Spaghetti comes from the word Spago, which translates in English to “string,” or “twine.” In Italy, spaghetti (like all pasta) are generally cooked just to al dente (which means “to the tooth.”) to create a slightly chewy texture, rather than an overly soft consistency.
Because of its shape and texture, (not too light or heavy) spaghetti can easily handle a tomato, as well as an extra virgin olive oil-based sauce. Spaghetti is frequently served with meat or vegetables, and a sauce then topped with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.
Spaghetti Fun Facts
National spaghetti day is January 4th ( Although we doubt you need a special holiday to enjoy this meal).
The world’s record for the largest bowl of spaghetti was in 2010 when a swimming pool in California was filled with over 13,000 pounds of spaghetti.
In just the year 2000, enough spaghetti was sold in American supermarkets to circle the globe 9 times.
On April Fools Day in 1957, the BBC played a trick on their television viewers by convincing them spaghetti literally grew on trees, and always came off the tree at the exact same length.
And now, for some spaghetti recipes, you can make at home. Mangia, Mangia!
Magical One Pan Spaghetti
This is a quick, fresh spaghetti recipe that’s both tasty and fun to prepare. Everything—even the uncooked spaghetti— cooks together in one pan. Yes, with this recipe, there’s no need to cook the pasta separately. This meal is both easy to prepare, and it’s delicious!
12 ounces of uncooked spaghetti
12 ounces of ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of chopped garlic
⅓ tsp red pepper flakes
2 leaves of basil, shredded
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin.Olive oil
Coarsely ground sea salt, to taste
4 ½ Cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan, and a few fresh basil leaves for serving
Combine all the ingredients, including the raw spaghetti in a large skillet. The pasta should lay flat. If the pan isn’t large enough, break the spaghetti in half.
Bring the ingredients to a boil on high heat. Turn the spaghetti with tongs as the liquid boils. When the pasta is al dente and the water has evaporated, it’s ready.
Note: If the pasta seems a bit dry, add about ¼ cup of additional water and continue to boil until it’s cooked to perfection.
Yes, it’s really that simple.
Plate the spaghetti, and top it with fresh basil leaves and grated.parmesan.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
This pasta dish consists of an incredibly flavorful sauce that is a blend of extra virgin olive oil, capers, and anchovies. So, if you’re craving a uniquely delicious bowl of spaghetti, this easy to prepare recipe just might be the one.
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5-7 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
3 tablespoons capers
1 large (28 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
Coarse sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Liberally add salt to the water and cook the pasta according to directions. When the spaghetti is al dente, remove from the stove, saving a bit of the starchy water for later. Then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is still cooking, prepare the sauce by placing the olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, begin to sauté the garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, for just a couple minutes—being cautious not to burn the garlic.
Then, add the olives and capers and give it a stir. Now, add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to a simmer. Season with salt and add ½ of the parsley.
Toss the pasta and sauce together. If it appears too dry, add a bit of the reserved cooking water, since the starch in that water will not make the sauce too thin.
Garnish with the extra parsley, and freshly grated parmesan, and serve.
Spaghetti with Ricotta and Lemon
What’s not to love about dense, creamy ricotta? And when the zestiness of fresh lemon is added to the mix, you have a nearly perfect pasta.
1 pound dry spaghetti
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
Zest of 1 medium lemon
Juice of 1 medium lemon
Coarse sea salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
4-6 Fresh torn basil leaves
Take a large pot of salted water and bring it to a full boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain but save 1 cup of pasta water for later.
Return the pasta to the pot.
In a bowl, blend the oil, ricotta, parmesan, lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Once it’s combined, add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Place the ricotta mixture and about ¼ cup of the extra pasta water back into the pasta and toss well. If the pasta is too dry, add a bit more of the reserved water.
Serve with drizzled extra virgin olive oil, freshly torn basil leaves and grated parmesan. Enjoy!
For a great spaghetti and meatball meal, as well as a multitude of other incredible Italian dishes created with our unique chef-inspired flair, come to Mi’talia for lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch.
You’ll find our charming Italian atmosphere inspiring, our menu both diverse and creative, and our service impeccable.
We are located at 5958 South Dixie Highway in Miami. For reservations, please call 305.885.4008