Spaghetti: the most famous pasta in the world

Spaghetti is one of the most popular types of pasta in the world.

We all love spaghetti, so much that they are always present in our imagination. Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti and meatballs, Alberto Sordi struggling with an extra large plate of spaghetti in Un Americano a Roma… For some they are even a religion. Although they became famous thanks to the Italians, they were not our creation.. And not even Chinese as many still today believe! Let’s find out more about the history of this type of pasta that made history!

Spaghetti: the origin

Spaghetti was born in the Indus valley, in a territory occupied today by Pakistan, in the sixth century BC. At the beginning, however, spaghetti were a waste product from the processing of pasta. It was prepared and dried in the royal kitchens of the Sultan of Bahawalpur. Only the attendants ate these scraps and for this they had no name. Only when the Sultan’s son decided to visit the kitchens of the palace they had a new fame. In fact, surprised by how hard the scraps had become, he asked where they came from. So, they reminded him the soldiers of the palace, usually erect and stiff. Thus began to form the word “spaghetti”, deriving from the term sipahee which meant soldier. They liked this name so much that the cooks immediately began to call that type of pasta that way. The fame of spaghetti was then spread by Buddha to whom the Sultan offered a plate of sipahee. This episode is represented on a bas-relief of the Buddhist monastery of Kapilavastu.

Spaghetti: the evolution

It was only thanks to Marco Polo that spaghetti became popular on the continent. In fact, on his return from Cathay, the Italian explorer was the guest of a Turkish merchant. On this occasion, Marco Polo tasted a local dish, spaghetti with prawns, called spahi. He liked them so much that he spread the recipe once he returned to Venice. The word spahi became spaghi in Italian, and then became spaghetti.

Not everyone agrees with this version of the story. For some, for example, spaghetti was known in Italy even before the birth of the Venetian explorer. Some attest to the first birth of spaghetti in a small town in the province of Palermo, Trabia. Here, a particular food in the shape of threads was produced, in Arabic called itriyah. In the Libro di Ruggero, published in 1154, this town and this type of pasta are described. Initially it took the name of vermicelli and then of spaghetti. From there they spread first to Amalfi, then to Naples and Salerno. In these places, the pasta manufacturing and drying process has evolved a lot to date, especially in the Gragnano area. After all, spaghetti with tomato sauce are typical of the Neapolitan imagination (c’a pummarola ‘ncoppa) and gastronomic tradition.

This type of pasta was not a made in Italy creation but surely we were and are the people who know better in the world how to cook them.

Spaghetti: a question of shape and taste

Spaghetti is a particular shape of pasta produced with durum wheat semolina and water, with a thin, long shape and a round section. You can distinguish from bucatini in that the latter are hollow inside and also from linguine which have a flattened shape. There is also a type of pasta called spaghetti alla chitarra, but in section they are square and not drawn. Furthermore, according to the size, spaghetti take different names: capellini or angel threads, the smallest; spaghettini; spaghetti; spaghettoni; vermicelli, the largest one.
In Italy you can prepare with different traditional recipes, with tomato and cheese sauce or even with other sauces such as carbonara, amatriciana, puttanesca. There are also many versions based on fish such as spaghetti allo scoglio or spaghetti with clams.

Spaghetti: our recipe

In this article you can find our recipe of spaghetti with tomato sauce and basil. It’s a dish that obviously (like everything in Italy) has more than one version. For some time, however, the use of flavoring the sauce with a sautéed onion, celery and carrot has been growing.


400g spaghetti

500g tomato puree





Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preparing time: 40 min

Cooking time: 15 min

Serves: 4


Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and sauté, over low heat, a chopped onion, carrot and celery.

Add the tomato puree and two glasses of water. Let it cook slowly for about 40 minutes. Season with salt and mix with a couple of chopped basil leaves.

Meanwhile, boil the water and pour the spaghetti as soon as it reaches a boil. Turn off the sauce setting aside a little bit of it, in order to add the sauce at the individual dishes. Drain the spaghetti al dente, pour them into the pan, add a drizzle of oil, sauting it in the sauce for about 1 minute. Spaghetti with tomato and basil c’a pummarola ‘ncoppa should be served hot, possibly enriched with a spoonful of grated Parmesan cheese in each dish.

Enjoy you spaghetti with tomato sauce and basil!

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