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Pasta’s Past and Present

Image courtesy of Flickr.
Image courtesy of Flickr.

Pasta has been around for centuries, with the first official pasta noodle dating back to the 13th century in Italy. Beginning with humble origins as a basic mix of flour and water, pasta has transcended time as it continues to grow with its varieties and recipes. With its marvelous macaroni, scrumptious spaghetti, and perfect penne, pasta has a multitude of options for people to choose from, whether you’re gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan. Let’s take a closer look at the types of pasta around the world and some tasty recipes to try!


A classic with its long noodles, and common topping of marinara, this staple dish works its way into homes across the world. The origin of spaghetti is debated, but many believe it was brought back by Marco Polo in his voyage to China. However, one difference between Italy and China is that Asian countries typically use rice flour to make their noodles, whereas Italians and Europeans use wheat flour. Regardless of its official origins, spaghetti has made its way around the world, known for its tell-tale long, stringy noodles. While it can be a simple dish with plain noodles, you can also spice it up with different sauces, meat, cheese, and toppings! For the purpose of sticking to classics, this recipe from Mi’talia Kitchen and Bar is a basic, yet delicious, spaghetti and marinara dish for you to try.

Image courtesy of PickPik.


12 ounces of uncooked spaghetti

12 ounces of ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 medium onion, chopped

3-4 cloves of chopped garlic

⅓ tsp red pepper flakes

2 leaves of basil, shredded

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin.Olive oil

Coarsely ground sea salt, to taste

4 ½ Cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan, and a few fresh basil leaves for serving


Combine all the ingredients, including the raw spaghetti in a large skillet. The pasta should lay flat. If the pan isn’t large enough, break the spaghetti in half.

Bring the ingredients to a boil on high heat. Turn the spaghetti with tongs as the liquid boils. When the pasta is al dente and the water has evaporated, it’s ready.


While still a classic pasta, this adds a new twist. Folded to create a circular, full shape, this pasta is traditionally stuffed with cheese, meat, or another type of filling. Coming from the region of Emilia in Italy, the name tortellini means “pie” in Italian, symbolic of their characteristic of being filled like a pie. Popular in areas around Europe and the United States, the tortellini shape has folded itself into the hearts of many people. Although many people recognize tortellini served with a variety of tomato or alfredo sauces, tortellini is often commonly served in a broth, especially if they are stuffed with meat. Here’s a small diversion from your class marinara sauce, and instead a recipe from “Platings and Pairings” that includes a steaming and savory broth.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


2 quarts bone broth (or low-sodium chicken broth)

1 pound cheese or meat tortellini (fresh or frozen)

Salt + pepper (to taste)

Parmesan cheese (for topping (optional))


In a medium pot, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add the tortellini, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook pasta according to package instructions (it will float when finished). Remove from heat. Season the broth with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

Egg Noodles

Contrary to its European counterparts, Asian noodles involve a different preparation method. Pasta from the Western side of the globe typically are made from wheat flour and water, while noodles from the Eastern area of the globe are made from eggs and flour. Created from a simple mix of eggs, flour, salt, and a dash of water, egg noodles are stretched, flattened, and then pressed to become yellow, thick noodles. Found in many traditional Asian dishes from China, Korea, Vietnam, and other areas, egg noodles are a staple within the Asian community. Just like their other flavorful dishes, spices and seasoning with egg noodles are not skipped in their meal preparations. Compared to the sauces that Europe traditionally serves with their pasta, Asian countries primarily fry the noodles in a pan to create a stirfry or serve them in soup. To liven up the tastebuds, here’s a simple garlic noodle recipe from Eatingwell.com!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


8 ounces fresh or frozen Chinese egg noodles, thawed

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

5 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon chile paste (such as sambal oelek)

2 large eggs

2 cups spinach, trimmed


Cook the egg noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and green onions; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, sesame oil, ketchup, and chile paste, stirring well. Stir soy sauce mixture into mushroom mixture; bring to a boil.

Add noodles to pan; toss to coat. Add eggs; cook for 2 minutes or until eggs are set, tossing well. Remove from heat; stir in spinach.

Veggie Noodles

Despite all of the traditional pasta types that have been around for centuries, new types of pasta continue to be invented, including pasta that has no flour in it at all. If you’re gluten-free or want a less carb-based meal, trying veggie pasta may be the move for you! Making a veggie noodle can be done from a variety of vegetables including butternut squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, carrots, and more. After creating the perfect stringy pasta shape using a spiralizer, you can either bake the vegetable in the oven to soften it or saute it in a pan on the stove before serving it with a topping of your choice! This can range from mimicking your classic spaghetti and marinara to recreating an Asian spicy egg noodle dish. Try out this recipe from “Two Peas and Their Pod,” to create a mouth-watering butternut noodle meal!

Image courtesy of ccnull.de


1 medium butternut squash peeled and diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 sage leaves

12 ounces DeLallo whole wheat linguine or other pasta

1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup diced yellow onion

2 cloves garlic minced

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the butternut squash. Cook until soft, about 12-15 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, fry the sage leaves. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until the surface is shimmering slightly. Add a few leaves at a time and cook until crisp, but still bright green, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Season with salt. Set aside.

Using a large slotted spoon, carefully remove the squash from the water and place it in a large bowl. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Place the cooked butternut squash in a large food processor or blender. Puree the squash until smooth. Add water or broth and puree until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. You may need a little more or a little less water depending on the size of your squash.

In a large deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the pasta and stir until the pasta is well coated. Chop two of the sage leaves and stir them into the pasta. Serve the pasta with remaining fried sage leaves and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

So whether you’re looking to try a classic pasta, or new noodles, there’s a variety of options that welcome you. Make sure to check out both the recipes above, and your own special twists!

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About the Contributor
Anna Alt
Anna Alt, Editor
Anna Alt is a senior at Forest Hills Eastern. This is her second year on the Hawk Herald staff and first year as the Editor-In-Chief. In school you can find her in National Honors Society, Kids Food Basket, Volunteer Club, and most commonly, struggling over her AP Chemistry notes. Outside school, however, you’ll often see her on (hopefully not in) the Grand River rowing with her team. If she’s not spotted there, then she’s at home with her favorite chocolate chip cookies on the couch watching the wondrous show “Bluey.” After graduating, Anna hopes to pursue a career in either Pediatrics or Neuroscience.
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