Spaghetti, also referred as spaghetti pasta, is cylindrical shaped long and thin pasta that originates in Italy. This creamy white pasta is made with dough made of semolina and water; however, flour can also be used instead of semolina. The length of this thin long pasta is usually about 25-30 cm, though originally it was about 50 cm long. There are many popular spaghetti recipes not only in Italy, but all over the world, where it is usually served as a main course dish. Tomato and tomato sauce along with meat and cheese are the most popular ingredient combination of spaghetti dishes. Considered to be a versatile pasta, it is used in various dishes, which include Basic Baked Spaghetti, Italian Sausage Spaghetti, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Mexican-Style Spaghetti & Meatballs, to name a few.
Spaghetti is derived from spaghetto, an Italian word, which is singular form. Spaghetto is originally derived from spago, which means “thin string or twine”. The origin of this thin pasta dates back to around 12th century, when pasta was made for the first time in Southern Italy. However, this is based on the records of how Marco Polo introduced this ingredient into Italy after his visit to China, where rice noodles have been a staple since 5000 BC. There is another popular version of the origin of this pasta. It is believed that the Arabs introduced this buckwheat flour pasta into Italy during their conquest of Sicily around the 7th century. The large scale production of spaghetti through innovative methods gained popularity in Italy, during the Renaissance period.
Despite, all these versions of the origin, spaghetti and all other pastas, gained popularity as Italian staple food and most recipes of this ingredient have an Italian flavor to them. This dish was served for the first time in United States around late 19th century, wherein, it was served as Spaghetti Italienne, in most restaurants. This was a soggy noodles dish flavored with tomato sauce; however, other ingredients were introduced into these dishes, making them more wholesome and delicious. Today, it is one of the staple foods of the US and most markets across the world sell “ready to use” canned spaghetti.
Basic Spaghetti Recipe
Spaghetti is generally boiled till al dente in salt water and then combined with various ingredients such as sauce, tomato, herbs, vegetables, etc.
Basic Baked Spaghetti – The key ingredients that go into the basic version of the dish are spaghetti, lean ground beef, spaghetti sauce, shredded cheddar cheese. The pasta is cooked till al dente and drained off excess water, which is then mixed with the meat and tomato sauce mixture that has been cooked for a while. This pasta-meat-sauce mixture is poured into a greased pan and topped with shredded cheese and baked till the cheese starts to bubble and turns golden brown.
The traditional spaghetti dish is very high in calories (about 547) and also high in cholesterol (about 63mg) and fat (about 17.7g).
Common Ingredient Combination
The ideal combination of spaghetti is with tomato sauce, meat (such as beef), vegetables and various herbs such as basil and oregano. Olive oil is the cooking medium for this dish.
Various other sauces such as Carbonara, Bolognese and Alfredo are popular sauce bases used in combination with this pasta. Hard cheeses such as Pecorino, Parmesan, Romano and Grana Padano are grated and added to these dishes. Chili is a popular accompaniment of this pasta.
Popular Spaghetti Recipes
Spaghetti is used in various preparations and detailed here are a few popular recipes –
- Spaghetti Carbonara – Cooked and drained spaghetti that has been tossed with olive oil is added to sautéed onion and garlic that have been cooked with a little dry white wine and crispy fried bacon (chopped). All contents are tossed into the skillet and if required, a little more olive oil is added to ensure the contents are not too dry. Beaten eggs are added to the contents in the skillet and tossed till the eggs set. Parmesan cheese is added, followed by salt and pepper to taste. However, care needs to be taken while adding salt as both parmesan and bacon are salty. This dish is best eaten hot.
- Mexican-Style Spaghetti and Meatballs – This delicious Mexican version of spaghetti is made with ground turkey instead of beef, which is mixed with guajillo chili, Mexican chili powder, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Chopped onion, jalapeno pepper, egg, olive oil, and anaheim pepper are added to the pasta-meat mixture. Once the contents are mixed well, bread crumbs and tostada crumbs are added and blended well to form meatballs, which are baked till light brown and the meat is cooked. These meatballs are added to a sauce made by simmering diced tomatoes, onions, taco seasoning, and chipotle chili in spaghetti sauce and poured over spaghetti that has been cooked till al dente. This dish is served hot.
- Italian Sausage Spaghetti – This very simple, yet delicious dish is made by tossing together cooked spaghetti and a tomato and sausage sauce made by cooking browned sausages (sweet and spicy) in tomato puree and sautéed onions and garlic. The dish is best eaten hot with a garnish of parmesan cheese.
- Spaghetti squash, made with squash, is used as a substitute for pasta. The raw squash can be grated and microwaved or boiled or the squash can be boiled and then grated into thin strips. This squash pasta can stay without spoiling for almost 6 months.
- The Buca di Beppo restaurant of Garden Grove, California, was awarded for creating a world record during the years 2009 and 2010, for having successfully filled a swimming pool with huge quantities of spaghetti (almost 13,780 pounds).