Although popular legend claims Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following his exploration of the Far East in the late 13th century, pasta can be traced back as far as the 4th century B.C., where an Etruscan tomb showed a group of natives making what appears to be pasta.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is sometimes credited with being the first person to introduce pasta to America, back in 1789. A 2013 World Pasta Day survey found that Americans’ three favourite pasta varieties are: 1. Spaghetti, 2. Penne, and 3. Rotini. Another survey from 2021 lists Kraft Dinner as the Canadian favourite. I demand a recount!
It comes as no surprise that Italy leads the way in pasta consumption worldwide. However, the country that comes in second is Venezuela. Who knew?
- 1 pound/450 g whole wheat Penne pasta
- ¼ cup/60 mL cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cups/500 mL halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp/5 mL Organic Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp/ 5 mL Cumin
- ¼ tsp/ 1.2 mL Organic Crushed Red Pepper
- ½ tsp/ 2.55 mL Mediterranean Sea Salt, ground
- ¼ tsp/1.2 mL Organic Black Pepper
- ¼ cup/60 mL pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp/15 mL Organic Parsley Flakes
- ¼ cup/60 mL grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook Penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (Al dente is Italian for “to the tooth” where pasta tastes and feels the best. It’s chewy and firm, holding its shape in whatever sauce you put it in.) Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the oil over a medium low heat. Add garlic and cook until golden (about 1 minute).
- Add cherry tomatoes, Italian Seasoning, Cumin, crushed Red Pepper, ground Salt and Black Pepper.
- Reduce heat to low and cook stirring occasionally until the tomato juices run. (about 3 minutes)
- Add Penne, olives and Parsley to the skillet and toss to combine.
- Serve with grated Parmesan. Serves 4
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