Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PASTA


PASTA -- Once in a while, I do pasta dish with either red or white sauce or sometimes a bit of a Mediterranean style like this–-just garlic or leeks sautéed in olive oil with broccoli, salt and seasoning...
Then somebody suggested to add fresh tomatoes after it is cooked. I did and it turned out fine.
We usually think pasta is a traditional Italian food but it is actually a descendant of ancient Asian noodles. It has a very ancient history.

It is believed to be brought to Italy by Marco Polo in the 13th century. In his book, ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’, there is a passage that briefly mentions his introduction to pasta-like dishes. Noodles existed in Asia long, long before Polo’s trip to China. Central Asia was the first area to have produced noodles as far back as five thousand years ago.

Central Asia is the largest region of Asia which includes major countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (called the five ‘stan’ countries). Traditionally, in these areas dough was made from wheat flour, water and salt and was cut into noodles with a sharp knife. The noodles were boiled in salted water then strained.

Then it was made into a soup dish called ‘laghman’, with broth made with vegetables, spices and mutton. It was an ideal food for these traveling nomadic people because it can be prepared in just two pots over a fire, one pot for the broth with vegetables and meat, and one pot for boiling the noodles.

Today pasta has become the world’s most convenient food. Both the Italians and the Chinese lay claim in inventing pasta noodles. But actually it was the minority desert people of Central Asia - - the Uzbeks, the Tajiks, the Kazakhs and the rest of the ‘stan countries who first made and ate noodles as their daily food. From Central Asia, the noodles traveled to
China and Mongolia.

Here is the recipe for my simple pasta dish:
¼ k spaghetti noodles
2 c broccoli (cut into flowerettes)
1/2 c veggie ham or sausage
¼ c garlic (minced) or chopped leeks
1 c fresh tomatoes (cut in wedges)
salt, pepper
olive oil
1.Boil and drain pasta. Set aside.
2.In a frying pan, sauté garlic or leeks in olive oil. Add broccoli, salt and seasoning. Cover and cook. Add pasta and veggie ham or sausage. Mix well, adding more olive oil if needed. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes. Serve.
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