Pasta - Fundamentals of the Italian Diet

The magic of pasta continues in our discovery of this essential Italian ingredient. Where does Pasta come from and what role does it play in Italian cuisine?

By Elaina Borer
Nov 30, 2020
tagAlt.Pasta cutting hand Cover 20201217

Picking right up from my Part 1 themes, let's jump right back into the world of delicious Italian pasta.  What does this essential part of any Italian's cupboard represent for le famiglie Italiane?


In Italy, pasta is consumed if not every day, then definitely alternating days, and everywhere.  It was served in my kid’s school cafeterias, the lunch counters near my office, and millions of dinner tables, including my own.  Pasta represents one of the top national dishes in Italy, even though some regions don't make too much use of pasta in their traditional cuisine. Use it like I do to make a quick, hearty meal and fill your tummy with an excellent carbohydrate worthy of the best Italian restaurants of the land.  When paired with a quick veggie sauce, you’re hitting some of the main food pyramid items too, so make it healthy while you’re at it, and your body will thank you.



Pasta is the ultimate comfort food.  Pairing perfectly with just about any ingredient you’re in the mood to put into a sauce, pasta in any shape or size also works wonders with dairy-based dressings and meaty options (fresh or smoked).  There are virtually endless options to select from, and you can be sure that you can whip up a satisfying pasta dish with anything you have handy.  Fresh pasta and dried pasta both work well in any situation, any time, any place. 

I’ve enjoyed many a lovely meal with nothing more complex than a bag of farfalle pasta, a few fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, and of course, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil.  Add some wine and a few seasonal pieces of fruit, and your meal needs are totally met. 

“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti,” Sophia Loren


It's one of the top ingredients to keep in any pantry.  Here in Italy, it's estimated that each person consumes about 60 pounds of pasta per year, so my family is clearly not alone here.  Versatile, inexpensive, quick to pull together.  You can keep it for up to 2 years in your pantry, with all the fun shapes, sizes and colors pasta comes in, the question becomes, what's not to love about pasta?

Dried pasta has absolutely won a place in the collective hearts of anyone who tries it.  With variations on the grains used, pasta is a classic ingredient that appeals to everyone.  With simple substitutions, fresh or dried pasta becomes easily adaptable and suitable for all different dietary needs - celiac eaters, rejoice with the advent of corn-flour pasta and other alternative flours becoming ever-more popular and available.  The original quick meal in Italy that is delicious, nutritious and glorious to prepare and devour.

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