A Peek Into Pasta’s Past

Pasta has been around for millennia, yet with all myriad forms it has taken in various countries and cultures, it has always been associated with Italy.

Monday, December 2, 2013 | 9:36 am

Quick, what one word best describes Italy? If you answered ‘pasta,’ you are not alone. Perhaps its most famous import, pasta has seen numerous incarnations in different countries throughout the centuries of its existence. Yet, despite the globe-trotting ways of these famous noodles, pasta has and will always be associated with Italy.

It has been said that pasta was introduced to Italy by the famous explorer, Marco Polo, after returning from his travels to the Far East, where wheat or rice based noodles have been known to exist ever since the Shang Dynasty (1700-1100 BC). However, recent archeological finds suggest that a certain form of pasta that is similar to what we have today was being consumed in parts of Italy as early as the fourth century BC.

Marco Polo may have brought certain noodles to Italy, but it looks like he wasn’t the first to introduce it. Estruscans and Romans already readily consumed pasta, before Marco Polo brought back his Shanghai noodles. It is interesting to note though, that the Estrusco-Roman form of the food was not boiled, but rather oven baked. So though ancient pasta had some similarities with the modern version, it would take a few more centuries before pasta would become one of the world’s culinary darlings.

But the noodles are just one-half of the equation, what about the sauce?

Surprisingly, the use of tomato sauce in pasta wasn’t documented until as recently as 1839. This was because the tomato plant is part of the nightshade family, and after its discovery in the New World, people in Europe were scared to consume it for fear of its alleged poisonous properties.

So what did people use before tomatoes? Well, they got creative. One of the more popular, pre-tomato sauces used in Pasta is pesto. Pesto was born in a small region Northwest Italy called Liguria, and the sauce is an olive-oil base mixed with garlic and herbs.

Of course, once word got out that tomatoes were safe to eat and, in fact, delicious, the rest is history.

At Domenico’s, the restaurant prides itself in its delicious pasta offerings, and its range of sauces available is a testament to its goal of providing one of the finest pasta experiences you can have this side of the globe.

From meat sauce and marinara; to mushroom sauce and oil, parsley, garlic; to clam sauce and pesto; Domenico’s offers the most popular sauces used in pasta today. If you are in the mood for other forms of pasta, the restaurant also serves lasagna, tortellini, fetuccini, and even manicotti, gnocchi, cannelloni and more.

Domenico’s is a 3rd generation Italian family restaurant that is known for its pizza and antipasto salad. As one of Pasadena’s oldest restaurants, its longevity can be attributed to its commitment to serving quality Italian cuisine, all day, every day.

To learn more about Domenico’s and view its full menu, visit http://www.originaldomenicos.com or call (626) 797-6459.

Domenico’s is located at 2411 East Washington Boulevard.

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