Pasta


Today this food dominates uncontested in many parts of Italy even if the major consumer is found in the south.
But the city were first appeared the dried pasta on the Italian peninsular was Genoa, coming from Sicily where it had been imported, probably, from Arabia. From Sicily it spread and fanned out towards Genoa, France and Spain. On the commercial marritime wheel there arrived in Italy the wheat «duri» (durum), a type of wheat that improved the preparation of the pastry, making it easier to pull, lengthen and enlarge following an antique method already used by the Greeks.
Genoa was also the first to found an Italian corporation of lasagna makers, in 1320; the example of the Genoans was followed by others as demonstrated in the chronicles of the 1300's.
The dried pasta in the course of the 1300 and 1400's penetrated into the cooking of many cities and there were founded many factories in different central-southern zones.
The fresh and dry air of Liguria and that of Genoa, also thanks to the port activities, became the most important centre of production. There arrived wheat from Russia and following that also from Canada, seen that the Genoan government controlled the commerce of wheat in all of the Mediterranean basin.
Liguria, having a very reduced hinterland, found in pasta a very practical food which resolved their problem of daily nourishment.
In this region there is produced, above all, pasta which is fine and long called fidelini, well-disposed to being untangled on the frame and was dried under the control of the pasta masters in the air which came through the open windows.
Also on the industrialisation level Genoa could boast of being the first. In 1740, infact, Genoa opened the doors of the first factory of «paste Fini» and from 1794 at Savona functioned the most antique pasta factory of Italy (that of the Astengo brothers), where there was in use the kneading machine.
Only in the 1800's, when the economic strength of Genoa declined, Naples took the upper hand in the making of pasta.
A predominant condiment for pasta in Liguria has always been olive oil enriched with pine kernels and aromatic herbs; typical, and today used everywhere, is pesto called "alla genovese" because it was founded in the territory of the chief town, and has as its base a rich and highly perfumed basil.