Ciao! Happy World Pasta Month

Posted October 24, 2014

Ciao, wheat lovers! October is World Pasta Month and October 24 is World Pasta Day.  

While the Italians are often credited with the invention of pasta, the Chinese made a noodle-like food as early as 3000 B.C. and Greek mythology suggested that Vulcan, the god of fire, created a device that made strings of dough (the first spaghetti). Thomas Jefferson introduced pasta to America when he brought the first “macaroni” machine home with him in 1789 after serving as U.S. ambassador to France. 

Today, there are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide. Can you name them all? Find a category rundown at the National Pasta Association

Durum, the hardest of all the six U.S. wheat classes, is perfect for the strength needed to make pasta. Think the hard snap of a spaghetti noodle versus rolling up a flour tortilla. Kansas wheat farmers do not grow durum wheat, but hard red winter (HRW) wheat is used to make instant noodles, similar to Ramen, in certain international markets like Nigeria

Farmers in the northern Great Plains as well as the desert Southwest grow the U.S. supply of durum wheat. Each bushel of durum wheat can make 42 pounds of pasta – equal to 210 servings of spaghetti. 

Kansas wheat farmers are the best, however, at growing that high quality hard red winter (HRW) wheat needed for bread to scoop up all the tasty leftover pasta sauce. For that task, these Italian-inspired recipes are literally buono come il pane (as good as bread):

•    Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco
Baker Dianna Wara’s goal for this 2009 National Festival of Breads winning recipe was to create a “visually stunning bread that makes you start to drool before you have taken the first bite.” 

Photo: Mardi Traskowsky.

•    Family Italian Bread
Mardi Traskowsky won the 2013 National Festival of Breads youth division with this recipe, saying it was the most requested baked good from her friends and family. 

•    Rich Italian Bread
This hearty bread from the 2013 National Festival of Breads is the perfect pasta match. Its secret ingredients include onion, pepperoni, tomatoes and black olives. 

Do you have what it takes to become America’s next top baker? Enter an original bread recipe in the National Festival of Breads before Jan. 15, 2015, for your chance to win a $2,500 cash prize and a King Arthur Flour baking course!

Until next time, arrivederci!

by Julia Debes