Who Invented Pasta? China Or Italy?

Who Invented Pasta? China Or Italy?

Marco Polo spent 17 years as an advisor to the Kublai Khan and sampled various forms of Asian pasta. He also wrote about macaroni in a book and the story of the Italians catching Marco Polo is legendary. But who invented pasta? China or Italy? Ultimately, there is no single answer to this question. It is a matter of taste and cultural heritage, but which country had the greatest impact?

Marco Polo

It is not clear who invented pasta. One theory suggests that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo visited China in 1260 and brought back a basket of dried pasta that later became pasta in Italy. Marco Polo was a fan of Chinese noodles, and wrote about them in his famous book, “Description of the World.” However, other historians believe that pasta was invented in Italy, and was first created by the Arab geographer Idrisi.

Then, in the late 13th century, Italian traveler Marco Polo was in China, where he discovered the sago palm tree, which produces starch. He found the sago palm tree and mentioned that it reminded him of pasta he ate in his native Italy. Moreover, he came across an Italian soldier in Genoa who told him the recipe for pasta, and this was how the pasta spread throughout Europe.

However, the story of Marco Polo is far from true. The author did not mention whether he had eaten pasta in China, but his account of his travels was transcribed by a fellow prisoner in Genoa, Italy. The story is wildly romantic, but the truth is that Marco Polo did not invent pasta in China. Pasta has been invented in a number of countries, and it seems that many of these cultures ate pasta long before Marco Polo arrived.


The ancient Chinese civilization is credited with inventing pasta in the late 13th century, but there are a variety of other theories as to whether the Italians or the Etruscans actually made the first version. Pasta was first consumed by the Etruscans during their period of cultural expansion in Italy from the early seventh to the early fourth centuries BC. One relic found in an Etruscan tomb indicates that the Etruscans made pasta from rice flour. They likely used it for flatbread called testaroli.

After the Middle Ages, pasta became a staple of Italian cuisine. By the 14th century, it was common fare in both Florence and Rome. The humanist Platina crafted a treatise on pasta in 1474. In it, she included recipes and essays on gastronomy. She even discussed the elemental nature of food and recommended physical exercises. She also incorporated general suggestions for harmony, and the pasta’s popularity grew from there.

Whether the Italians or the Chinese invented pasta is up for debate. The ancient Etruscans made testaroli pasta, which is a type of Italian pasta. The dough for this dish is made from flour and salt and shaped into triangles. Today, this type of pasta is a staple of the Lunigiana region, but ancient testaroli were cultivated in Italy and brought to China by Marco Polo.


It’s not certain whether the Chinese or Italians invented pasta. Both traditions have their roots in the Middle East and China. Ancient Chinese texts mention noodles, dumplings and wheat. A 300 CE ode by the poet Shu Xi describes noodles as “fine sheets of fried dough”. Another Chinese document, written in 544 CE, mentions wheat noodles. The Chinese are still debating the origin of pasta.

Ancient Greeks and Italians used a similar recipe to make noodles. However, some historians claim the Greeks had a better understanding of cooking than the Italians. The ancient Greek word for “ribbon” is irion, which is related to the Arabic word for “noodle”. In addition, a myth about the god Vulcan making pasta is said to have originated in the Mediterranean. While it’s unclear exactly who invented pasta, its origins are intriguing.

Although the Chinese have claimed to have invented pasta, there is no evidence that they did. Several centuries ago, Marco Polo, a famous explorer, claimed to have witnessed the creation of pasta. He produced chopsticks and a plate of spaghetti from a portable oven and ate it. However, he missed the mouth two times with his chopsticks. This demonstrated that the Chinese did not invent pasta. However, it is possible that the Chinese may have influenced Italians to make pasta.


Pasta has been a staple family food for centuries, but many people wonder where it originated. Pasta is eaten throughout the world and is used in many different types of cuisine today. It is believed that the Italians invented pasta during the 13th century with Marco Polo’s travels to China. However, pasta may actually have been invented much earlier. Its earliest known occurrence is as early as the 4th century B.C., when a burial urn from the Etruscans shows the natives making noodles.

In the early 5th century, a cookbook describes lasana, which was made from layers of dough and stuffed with meat. In the 14th century, the poet Boccaccio wrote about pasta chefs rolling it down a mountain of parmesan cheese. Ancient pasta was quite different from the pasta we eat today, and was made from durum wheat flour and sometimes even mixed with unusual ingredients. It was not until the 14th century that dried pasta became popular, which allowed for easier storage and easier preparation.

After the discovery of tomatoes, Italians made pasta a popular dish. A technological revolution in the late 16th century helped the pasta industry develop new and cheaper methods of making it. The extrusion process made pasta a viable food product, and it allowed for large-scale production and a long shelf life. It was also easily transported across trade routes, so pasta spread all over the world. The Italians took their pasta creations one step further and made it a staple in their kitchens.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson introduced macaroni to the United States in 1789. In northern Italy, he ate macaroni and wrote down detailed notes about its extrusion process. He then commissioned his American ambassador to Paris, William Short, to buy a machine for making macaroni. Short then imported the pasta and Parmesan cheese to the Jefferson home at Monticello. Today, the average American consumes 19.8 pounds of pasta per year, but Italians eat almost twice that.

Though many historians disagree on who invented pasta, the first recorded recipe dates back to the 16th century. Pasta was a popular food in the colonies and Jefferson helped popularize it. In 1789, the American colony was governed by the United States, and the first macaroni maker was brought to the United States. Jefferson, who had served as ambassador to France, brought a macaroni machine back to the United States. Thomas Jefferson also invented macaroni, a type of pasta that is shaped to suit varying sauces. The term “macaroni” is derived from the Sicilian word for forcefully making dough. Before the invention of pasta machines, dough was kneaded by hand and feet for long periods of time.

In the early 1790s, Jefferson served the finest wines in Europe in the White House and dazzled his guests with the most delicious delicacies. He was both practical and inquisitive, and he wrote notes about the design of a pasta machine. Today, you can subscribe to Jefferson’s free newsletter and get the latest cool stories sent straight to your inbox! And don’t forget to subscribe to the Thomas Jefferson blog!

Ancient Romans

Did the Ancient Romans invent pasta? While we may not know if the Romans were the first to use pasta as a meal, we can learn a lot about what they did and didn’t eat. While the Romans didn’t have pasta in the form we know it today, they did have some dishes that resembled pasta today. One of the closest things to pasta was lagana, which is a flat sheet that is layered with crushed vegetables and cooked in oil. Today, pasta is commonly known as lasagna.

Pasta in ancient Rome was either fresh or dried. The term pasta in Italian means “pasta asciutta,” which means “dried pasta.” Dried pasta was produced by soaking grains of rice for a long period of time and had a long shelf life. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is made with eggs and is meant to be eaten fresh within a day. It is not known where pasta originated, but it has an interesting history.

In ancient Rome, the majority of people ate bread and wine. They ate meat on special occasions and drank wine. Lower class diets were far simpler than today, with bread and lard being the staples of their diets. The working classes and farmers ate mostly vegetables and fruits, and were able to afford some meat on the rare occasions that they ate it. In Italy, pasta and pizza originated in the 16th century.

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