Spaghetti hung to dry
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|Semolina or flour, water|
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Spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical pasta of Italian and Sicilian origin. Spaghetti is made of semolina or flour and water. Italian dried spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina, but outside of Italy and Sicily it may be made with other kinds of flour. Traditionally, most spaghetti was 50 cm (20 in) long, but shorter lengths gained in popularity during the latter half of the 20th century and now spaghetti is most commonly available in 25–30 cm (10–12 in) lengths. A variety of pasta dishes are based on it, from spaghetti alla Carbonara or garlic and oil to a spaghetti with tomato sauce, meat and other sauces.
Pasta in the West may first have been worked to long, thin forms in Sicily around the 12th century, as the Tabula Rogeriana of Muhammad al-Idrisi attested, reporting some traditions about the Sicilian kingdom. The popularity of pasta spread to the whole of Italy after the establishment of pasta factories in the 19th century, enabling the mass production of pasta for the Italian market.
In the United States around the end of the 19th century, spaghetti was offered in restaurants as Spaghetti Italienne (which likely consisted of noodles cooked past al dente, and a mild tomato sauce flavored with easily found spices and vegetables such as cloves, bay leaves, and garlic) and it wasn't until decades later that it came to be commonly prepared with oregano or basil. Canned spaghetti, kits for making spaghetti and spaghetti with meatballs became popular, and the dish has become a staple in the U.S.
Spaghetti is cooked in a large pot of salted, boiling water then drained in a colander (scolapasta in Italian).
In Italy, spaghetti is generally cooked al dente (Italian for to the tooth), just fully cooked and still firm. Outside Italy, spaghetti is sometimes cooked to a much softer consistency.
Spaghettoni is a thicker spaghetti which takes more time to cook. Spaghettini and vermicelli are very thin spaghetti (both of which may be called angel hair spaghetti in English) which take less time to cook.
An emblem of Italian cuisine, spaghetti is frequently served with tomato sauce, which may contain various herbs (especially oregano and basil), olive oil, meat, or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include using Bolognese sauce, alfredo and carbonara. Grated hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan and Grana Padano, are often added. It is also sometimes served with chili.
Annual consumption of spaghetti in Italy doubled from 14 kilograms (30.9 lb) per person before World War II to 28 kilograms (61.7 lb) by 1955. By that year, Italy produced 1,432,990 tons of spaghetti, of which 74,000 was exported, and had a production capacity of 3 million tons.
The world record for largest bowl of spaghetti was set in March 2009 and reset in March 2010 when a Buca di Beppo restaurant in Garden Grove, California, successfully filled a swimming pool with more than 13,780 pounds (6,251 kg) of pasta.
- spaghetti. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spaghetti (accessed: June 03, 2008).
- Kate Whiteman, Jeni Wright and Angela Boggiano, The Italian Kitchen Bible, Hermes House, p.12–13
- Levenstein, Harvey; in Carole M. Counihan (ed.) (2002). Food in the USA: A Reader. Routledge. pp. 77–89. ISBN 0-415-93232-7.
- Salerno, George (13 December 1956). "Spaghetti consumption up as national dish in Italy". Wilmington Morning Star 90 (52) (Wilmington, North Carolina). United Press.
- KTLA News (March 12, 2010). "Restaurant Sets World Record with Pool of Spaghetti". KTLA.
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