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15 Fun Pasta Facts for Spaghetti & Macaroni Lovers

These pasta facts are sure to make your mouth water! Check out these fascinating pasta facts and learn all about this fun shaped Italian food!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:ย  October 13th 2022

Mamma Mia! Have we got some delicious pasta facts for you! Find out all about Italy's favourite dish, including how its made, where it comes from and just how much pasta Italians eat every year (clue: it's a lot)!

And once you've finished polished off this tasty trivia dish, why not check out more food facts here? We've also got these bonkers Banana Facts, as well as these delicious Pizza Facts if you're after even more Italian cuisine!

1. Pasta is from Italy

If you know one thing about Italy, you know that they eat pasta there. And pizza, that's the other thing. Pasta is as Italian as the colosseum, Julius Caesar and mopeds. Every region of Italy has its own type of pasta and its own way of eating pasta. Italian immigrants to countries like the USA, Australia and Scotland helped make their cuisine a staple around the world!

2. Pasta probably originated elsewhere!

Famously, there's a story that Italian explorer Marco Polo brought noodles back from China and inspired pasta. But that's probably not true, as Italians were already eating pasta like dishes, and pasta is made with wheat, not rice. But it probably did originate in another part of the Mediterranean, like Greece!

3. Thomas Jefferson made pasta popular in America!

Today Americans love pasta almost as much as Italians! But did you know it was an American president who made it popular in the USA? Yup, Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing pasta to the the states all the way back in the 18th century, after eating it on a trip to Italy! He even designed his own pasta machine!

4. There are LOTS of different pasta shapes!

Hundreds, in fact, maybe even a thousand different shapes! Pasta has been made in pretty much every shape you can think of, and lots of ones you can't! Pasta can also come in lots of different colours, depending on what was added to it, like green (spinach) or pink (beetroot) or even black (squid ink!)

5. Italians eat the most pasta!

Not surprisingly, Italians eat more pasta than anyone else - about 25kg on average each per year! For comparison, Americans eat about 8.8kg, even though there's way more of them! Globally, about 1 million tonnes of pasta are eaten in a year! Wow!

6. Pasta dough used to be made by foot!

Nowadays most pasta is made by machine. But did you know it used to be made by hand? Well, actually, it's weirder than that - it used to be made by foot! Yup, way back before machinery, the easiest way to knead pasta dough was using your feet! Let's just hope everyone washed them before they started!

7. October 25th is World Pasta Day!

If you're looking for an excuse to eat a lot of pasta, god news! October is National Pasta Month if you're in the USA, and the 25th is World Pasta Day! So get going with making and enjoying your favourite pasta, all in the name of culture and global relations!

8. Pasta means 'paste'

The word comes from the Italian for paste, which is what pasta is! It's a paste made of water and flour (and sometimes egg) and then dried and cooked! Pretty helpful description, really. Italians also like to traditionally cook their pasta al dente, which means it's still a tiny bit hard when it's eaten!

9. Spaghetti is the most popular pasta!

Unsurprisingly, spaghetti is the most popular pasta, along with penne and macaroni. Fun to twirl and messy if you're not careful, spaghetti is a cultural icon, famous for a scene in Lady and the Tramp, among many other movies! What's your favourite pasta shape?

10. The Romans had a form of pasta (sort of)

Yup, the Romans had a version of everything! Their pasta was a pretty different from what we eat today - it was also made with flour and water, but broken into strips and fried instead of cooked in water. Sounds yummy, though!

11. It used to be eaten plain!

Today we're used to eating pasta with sauces, stews and other additions. But until a few hundred years ago, pasta was eaten plain! It was sometimes sprinkled with sugar or cheese as a dessert, but it was pretty different from what we eat today! Would you eat pasta as a dessert?

12. Americans eat spaghetti incorrectly!

Americans like to twirl their spaghetti on their forks against a spoon to hold it together. But that's not how the Italians do it! They just use their bowl to twirl their fork against! Spoons aren't needed!

13. The BBC once played a pasta prank on everyone!

For April Fool's Day 1957, the BBC presented a fake documentary all about how pasta was 'grown' not made! They showed footage of supposed pasta 'harvesters' collecting it from trees where they said it grew! It's not certain how many people fell for this!

14. Italy produces masses of pasta each year!

Not only does Italy eat the most pasta per capita, it also produces a lot. That's because the rest of the world likes to get its pasta from Italy when it can! Italy exports billions of dollars worth of pasta every year, all over the globe! They produce about 1.5 million tonnes of the stuff every year!

15. You can make pasta at home!

The best news about pasta is that you can make it at home! You don't even need a special machine! All you need to make fresh pasta is flour, water, egg and your hands! And you can always roll it out with a rolling pin and then make your favourite shapes! Why not give it a go?