Pasta: need we say anything more? More than a food, pasta is the symbol of entire culinary traditions all around the world. Although it is often associated with specific cultures, like Italian, pasta is in fact a universal food.
Production, consumption, nutritional value: here is a pasta “identikit” in numbers, 10 interesting facts about pasta you can't miss .
1100 BC: the date of the first historical record of pasta consumption, in China. It seems to have arrived only much later in Italy: the Etruscan origin of pasta cannot be demonstrated with certainty and would in any event go back to 400 BC.
280: the number of pasta shops operating in Naples in 1785. At the start of that century there were barely 60: a veritable food boom that marked the beginning of an unstoppable success story for Italy in the pasta production industry.
25.3 kg: the amount of pasta eaten per capita each year in Italy, putting it at the top for pasta consumption (http://www.pasta-unafpa.org/ingstatistics4.htm). In second place is Venezuela with 13.2 kilos, and on the bottom rung of the winners’ podium is Tunisia, with 11.9 kilos. To find the United States, we have to drop to seventh place, with 8.8 kilos per person. Ireland and El Salvador are the countries that consume the least pasta: barely one kilo per year.
310: the number of types of pasta in the world. Depending on the country, however, pasta goes by different names: if we take that into consideration, we arrive at 1,300 types, although the most famous ones are known by their Italian name.
3.3 million: the number of tonnes of pasta produced annually in Italy, which is not only the top consumer but also the top producer. In second place is the United States with 2 million, Brazil with 1.3 million and Russia with 1 million.
350 Kcal: the average caloric value of 100 grams of pasta, excluding sauce, making it one of the most balanced foods from a nutritional standpoint. In fact 100 grams of pasta contain 11 grams of protein, 1.4 grams of fat, and 79 grams of carbohydrate. Not to mention 22 milligrams calcium, 192 mg of potassium and 189 mg of phosphorus, in addition to many vitamins.
70 g: the average pasta portion served at a restaurant. If it is served with a protein-rich sauce, not too heavy, such as a ragù, it is an excellent complete meal.
1:1 is the proportion of egg and flour used in egg pasta, perhaps the most famous variant on classic durum-wheat pasta (one egg weighing around 70 grams per 100 grams of flour).
12 g: the amount of coarse salt to be dissolved in the pasta-cooking water, which can be increased to 15 grams if your sauce is undersalted. How much water do you need? According to the rule, it’s one litre per 100 grams of pasta. Cooking time depends on the variety of pasta used but on average is around 10 minutes. Cooking times refer to al dente pasta: if you like it more cooked, add another two minutes.
342,000 km: the distance – equal to nine times the circumference of the earth – covered by 450 million kilos of spaghetti in half-kilo packs placed in a line one after the other. To cook all this pasta, you would need 4.5 billion litres of water, the equivalent of 1,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
These are tough times for chefs and restaurant professionals around the world, but there has never been a better time to seek advice and help around a number of topics affecting hospitality workers. Here's a round-up of some of the most useful resources for chefs.