Spaghetti. Lo-Mein. Soba. These are all types of noodles that you might explore in your next meal during National Noodle Month 2016!
Noodles, and pasta in general, come in many different shapes, sizes and textures, and can be served with a variety of delicious sauces proteins and vegetables creating endless flavor combinations. The classic Spaghetti and meatballs is an Italian-American favorite in our country today, and it also happens to be an option you can choose for your next buffet dinner catered by Georgie’s Custom Catering!
Our culture’s love for noodles begs the question—where did they come from? National Noodle Month is the perfect time to dig a bit deeper and explore your inner-noodle!
Noodles and pasta; of all sorts, started off as staples in European and Asian cuisines, though nobody is completely sure where the noodle originated. Dictionary.com defines “noodle” as “a narrow strip of unleavened egg dough that has been rolled thin and dried, boiled, and served alone or in soups, casseroles, etc.; a ribbon-sharped pasta.”
Some believe that noodles originated in China, though they were very different from what we consider noodles today; more like bits of boiled bread dough than long strands. The boiling process is the key. In search of the original pasta in Italy, an Etrusco-Roman noodle from centuries ago, it was discovered it was made from the same wheat used in pasta today. However, that noodle was not boiled during preparation, so it wasn’t considered pasta by today’s standards.
They are simple fare, yet there is so much variety in the preparation of the dough from region to region.
In Germany, Spätzle are common egg noodles in small rounded shapes often served with butter and cheese. In Japan, soba noodles made from wheat and buckwheat are popular ingredients to flavorful protein and vegetable inspired dishes. Noodles have been around for many centuries in China, and there are many techniques for making Chinese noodles. The most impressive, perhaps, is the hand-pulled method, in which the dough is stretched and folded many times to create long, thin strands of noodles. And of course, who could talk about noodles without mentioning Italy? Words like “noodles” and “pasta” often generate images of Italian-inspired dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo, Manicotti, or Spaghetti and Meatballs.
While Italians are to thank for the pasta we have in the U.S., Italian-American dishes are relatively recent creations. In fact, pasta with tomatoes weren’t even a popular pair until the 1800s! Just think, without Noodle Month news you may have gone your whole life not knowing that funny little fact. Ha!
While we may not know exactly how the noodle came about, we know that they have been a staple for many years, and are a simple and crowd-pleasing option for all taste buds at your next buffet.
If you have a free afternoon, try your hand at making fresh pasta by hand and celebrate National Noodle month with a fresh takeaway for friends and family.
Easy Fresh-Noodle Recipe
The art of making noodles isn't as scary as some believe. Here's a simple recipe to get you started with a taste of fresh noodles for your next pasta recipe without having to spend extra to get them from your favorite Italian restaurant.
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup of all purpose flour—or semolina for a more authentic result
- 1/2 tbs salt
- 2 TBS water
methodSome traditional recipes call for the dough to be mixed on a countertop by creating a pile of flour and cracking the egg into a well.
However, using a bowl is a bit tidier.
Grab a medium sized bowl and combine the flour and salt, and adding a beaten egg.
The dough will be stiff. Add water if needed, one tablespoon at a time. Dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth and free of air bubbles.
For best results, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least twenty minutes, but up to an hour.
After resting, use a pasta machine to roll and shape the dough, or roll it out by hand and cut it into strips as skinny or as wide as you prefer.
After it’s in the desired shape, you’ll want to cook it right away in a pot of boiling, salted water.
Keep in mind that fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta—just a few minutes, so keep an eye on it and drain when cooked al dente for an authentic pasta experience.