Though the origins of spaghetti are disputed—whether it was Marco Polo bringing back culinary invention from the East, and Arab trade-route delicacy, or a home-grown Sicilian treat dating back to the 12th Century—we can all agree that a cold night with a big bowl of noodle-y, saucy goodness is balm for the soul. So join us on January 4th as we celebrate National Spaghetti Day with this amazing dish!
When is National Spaghetti Day 2024?
We can all agree that a big bowl of saucy noodles is balm for the soul.
History of National Spaghetti Day
Pasta is essentially made with four ingredients — water, eggs, wheat, and salt. The first dish made from pasta was in Sicily, dating back to 1154. According to historians, this recipe was different from the pasta that we know today, which resembled lasagna more. Another significant difference was that it was cooked differently. That being said, there is no evidence of pasta after this, up until the 14th century.
Another element that baffles historians is the exact origin of modern pasta. It is believed to have originated in Italy, but many are of the consensus that Marco Polo was the one to bring it back from his adventures in China, thus making China the original creator of pasta.
Either way, after it made its way to Italy, the locals started making pasta from hard wheat shaped into elongated strands. This is where modern-day spaghetti comes from, although the original was closer to vermicelli in terms of texture.
The word ‘spaghetti’ is derived from the word ‘spago,’ meaning twine or string. Just like in Italy, spaghetti is cooked around the world to “al dente,” which means that it is just soft enough to be bitten into easily, and quite chewy.
Because of the chewy texture that is soft but firm, spaghetti can easily handle tomato sauce. Most spaghetti dishes are tossed in meaty tomato sauce, topped generously with freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese.
National Spaghetti Day timeline
The oldest recorded documentation of pasta is found in the writings of Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, referring to sheets of dough called lagana.
Spaghetti production kicks off in Sicily.
The combination of tomato juice and spaghetti is printed for the first time in Italian chef Francesco Leonardi’s cookbook “L’Apicio moderno”.
Spaghetti evolves to a more American style, prepared with basil or oregano.
Spaghetti By The Numbers
19th Century — the decade to which spaghetti in tomato sauce dates back.
13,780 pounds — the amount of pasta that was filled in a swimming pool by a restaurant in Los Angeles.
1.3 million — the number of pounds of spaghetti sold in U.S. stores in 2000.
10-12 inches — the length spaghetti is mostly available in.
600 — the number of shapes pasta is available in.
1,300 — the number of pasta names used around the world.
National Spaghetti Day Activities
Throw some spaghetti at the wall
While you're prepping your noodles for dinner, instead of biting into one to see if it's done (ouch, hot!)—try throwing a few cooled strands against the wall. If they stick, they're done!
Host a spaghetti around the world party
Italian, Chinese, even Indian cuisine can play with spaghetti and make the comfort food classic an international show-stopper. Go beyond sauce and meatballs to include nuts, vegetables and spices to take a trip without leaving your house.
Think outside the box
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make your own spaghetti? You don't need a fancy pasta-maker—a rolling pin and knife might work just as well...or spiralize some carrots and beets to add color to you spaghetti bowl.
5 Facts About Spaghetti That Will Make You Say “Mamma Mia!”
The B.B.C.s' spaghetti prank
As part of April Fools Day, the B.B.C. had a broadcast convincing their audience that spaghetti grows on trees.
Its plural form
Spaghetti is called spaghetto in the plural form.
Italians never use a spoon when eating spaghetti.
The secret ingredient
Italian spaghetti is typically made from durum wheat semolina.
Thanks, Thomas Jefferson
He was the first person to bring spaghetti to the U.S.
Why We Love National Spaghetti Day
Cut it up, twirl it, pick it up with your fingers, use a fork and spoon...there are just so many ways to get the spaghetti from the plate into your mouth—which means it can be an easy go-to meal for the busy family that is short on time and big on family meals.
It is versatile
A rich, thick tomato sauce, seafood stew, a garlicky-cream sauce, or simply mixed with butter, salt and parmesan cheese—spaghetti is the perfect backdrop for all sorts of toppings and flavors. And then, there is the spaghetti itself, handmade or out of the box, made from durum wheat or brown rice, plain or spinach...we could go on for a while!
When done right, it can be healthy, too (really!)
Look for whole grains and a short ingredient list. Toss with fresh and roasted vegetables, some herbs and a splash of olive oil and you have a tasty meal full of complex carbs and vitamins.
National Spaghetti Day dates