National Spaghetti Day on January 4th offers an opportunity to pick your sauce and add it to that long, thin cylindrical pasta of Italian and Sicilian origin. Usually made from semolina flour, this pasta has been a worldwide favorite for ages and loved by millions.
There are various pasta dishes based on spaghetti, and the sauce determines most of them. Some examples include spaghetti ala Carbonara, garlic and oil, tomato sauce, meat sauce, bolognese, Alfredo sauce, clam sauce, or other sauces. In addition, we traditionally serve spaghetti dishes topped with grated hard cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, and Grana Padano.
The word spaghetti is plural for the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine.”
American restaurants offered spaghetti around the end of the 19th century as Spaghetti Italienne (which is believed to have consisted of noodles cooked past al dente and a mild tomato sauce flavored with easily found spices and vegetables such as cloves, bay leaves, and garlic). Decades later, cooks added oregano and basil to many recipes.
There is a significant debate on the origin of spaghetti. However, we do know that we’ve been consuming pasta for many, many years. There are records in the Jerusalem Talmud of itrium, a kind of boiled dough commonly available in Palestine from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD. A 9th-century Arab dictionary describes itriyyaas as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. A 1154 writing for the Norman King of Sicily, mentions itriyya as being manufactured and exported from Norman Sicily. Dried pasta became popular in the 14th and 15th centuries due to its easy storage. People stored the dried pasta in ships when exploring the New World. A century later, pasta was present around the globe during the voyages of discovery. (Wikipedia)
On Top of Spaghetti
In March of 2009, the world record for the largest bowl of spaghetti was set and then reset in March of 2010 when a Garden Grove California Buca di Beppo restaurant successfully filled a swimming pool with more than 13,780 pounds of pasta.
Sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky,” the fun children’s song, “On Top of Spaghetti,” was written and originally sung by folk singer Tom Glazer with the Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus in 1963.
“On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.”
COOK, EAT, CELEBRATE
Make your favorite spaghetti dish, and be sure to make enough to share. Of course, you can always invite friends to join you at your favorite Italian restaurant and split a plate. If you do, be sure to tag the restaurant and use #NationalSpaghettiDay to post on social media.