I love holidays and trivia. Much of my writing combines these two passions.
National Spaghetti Day Is January 4th
Did you know there is such a thing as National Spaghetti Day?
Pretty much everyone loves this pasta, so it should come as no surprise that it has its own special day set aside every year in its honor: January 4th.
Spaghetti is the plural of the Italian word spaghetto, which means 'thin string.' This pasta has been in existence for thousands of years.
Spaghetti is made from water and milled wheat and is usually served with marinara sauce. Some popular Italian spaghetti dishes include spaghetti alla puttanesca, spaghetti aglio e olio, cacio e pepe, amatriciana, spaghetti alle vongole, and pasta carbonara.
This pasta can be the foundation of a healthy meal. It provides a base upon which you can add healthy proteins and vegetables.
How to Celebrate National Spaghetti Day
- Game night: Have a game night and play Ready! Set! Spaghetti! with your family and friends. Or you can play Yeti in my Spaghetti and remove all the spaghetti without letting the Yeti fall into the bowl. Other fun ideas include building something made out of spaghetti. You will need some marshmallows to play this game. See below for all the fun details!
- Order pasta: Order pasta from your favorite Italian restaurant.
- Cook at home: Make meatballs and spaghetti at home for friends and family.
- Eat spaghetti: The best way to celebrate this day is to eat spaghetti for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! For breakfast you can have spaghetti eggs, for lunch serve up a spaghetti bake, and for dinner have the traditional long pasta with sausage and meatball sauce.
- Make different spaghetti variations: Every country around the world has its own spaghetti variations. This is the perfect day to try recipes from around the world.
- Share your meals: Share your spaghetti plates on social media. Take some pictures of you preparing and serving that pasta! Add a little cheese and say "Smile"! You might inspire someone to make some.
- Play the "how many calories" game: Have everyone guess how many calories are in a serving of spaghetti and give a prize to the person who comes the closest. What's the answer? One cup of pasta (with no sauce) is about 220 calories.
History of Spaghetti
It is thought that Marco Polo brought the recipe for spaghetti from China since the first known pasta meals were made with rice flour, but history has shown this is not true. Meals made from pasta are assumed to have been in existence since 1st century BC. The meals are said to have been from ancient Rome and later Sicilia and Italy.
The origin of pasta goes back to countries like Greece, regions in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. All these countries had a different texture and taste of pasta.
Dry pasta was made popular by Arab traders as they traveled the world. Scholars believed that this dish was made in a way that filled them and also had nutritional requirements.
Pasta was introduced in the United States mid 18th century by the third president, Thomas Jefferson. Thank you, President Jefferson!
Fun Facts About Spaghetti
- Spaghetti got its name from its shape.
- Marco Polo was not the one who discovered spaghetti.
- Almost three million tons of pasta are made in Italy yearly, making it the third-largest pasta producer in the world.
- The amount of pasta that a person in Italy consumes is around 51 pounds every year.
- Spaghetti used to be much longer, about 20 to 24 inches. It is now usually about 10 to 12 inches long. (Can you imagine trying to roll 24-inch strands of spaghetti onto your fork?)
- Tomato sauces for spaghetti first appeared in the 18th century.
- The first pasta-making shop in the United States was opened in 1848 in Brooklyn by a French immigrant named Mr. Zerega.
- The most popular spaghetti topping is a dusting of Parmesan cheese.
- Before dry pasta became popular and affordable among everyone in Italy, it used to be considered a luxury item due to high labor costs.
- A single spaghetti serving has around 8 grams of protein and 220 calories.
- Stir the spaghetti while cooking so that they don't stick to the cooking pot.
- The largest-ever spaghetti serving filled a swimming pool. Buca di Beppo, a restaurant in California, made the largest spaghetti serving in March 2010. The serving was more than 13,000 pounds of pasta. That record was broken in 2015, according to the Guinness World Records, in Krakow, Poland, on 24 October 2015. That bowl of pasta weighed 17,417 pounds.
- More than 1.3 million pounds of spaghetti were sold in grocery stores throughout the United States in 2000.
- Italians eat their spaghetti by twisting them around the forks alone, unlike Americans who use both the fork and spoon.
- A hoax was pulled off by BBC on April Fools' Day in 1957 that spaghetti grew in trees. BBC made people believe that the flavor and the lengths of spaghetti could be affected by frost.
- There are 600 pasta shapes globally according to the International Pasta Organization.
Read More From Delishably
How to Say Spaghetti In Other Languages
It ain't just called spaghetti. Different countries say spaghetti differently:
- Maori: pākēti
- Swahili: tambi
- Somali: baastada
- Spanish: espaguetis
Homemade Spaghetti Recipe
Making spaghetti at home from scratch is a great way to celebrate National Spaghetti Day and make a dinner everyone will enjoy, plus it is an easy dish to make. Homemade pastas are light and fluffy. They are not like the boxed pre-made macaroni we are used to. Most people serve their spaghetti with a sauce, usually a tomato sauce. Sometimes meats like beef or sausage are added. Other times this homemade pasta is served with oil and garlic, pesto, mushroom, or a clam sauce. Here's what you will need to make your own pasta:
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Step 1: Begin to Prepare the Dough
- Put your flour on a clean work surface.
- Create a hill out of the flour and make a hole in the middle using your hand.
- Crack the eggs into the hole.
- Add the olive oil to the eggs.
Step 2: Form and Knead the Dough
- Gently start mixing the flour into the eggs.
- Thoroughly mix the eggs and flour using your hands.
- If all your flour isn't fully incorporated just add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix again until all the flour is incorporated.
- Knead the dough until it forms a ball. You will be kneading the dough for around 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 3: Roll, Cut, and Hang the Noodles
- Divide your ball into two smaller balls and flatten them with your hand.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Cut the edges to make the dough rectangular.
- Sprinkle flour to your rolled-out dough, both the back and the front.
- Roll the dough, then cut it into thin strips. Unroll the dough as soon as you cut to prevent the strips from sticking together.
- Hang the pasta to dry if you won't be cooking it immediately.
Step 4: Cook the Pasta
Cook the pasta. It is important to note that fresh pasta takes less cooking time.
If You Have a Pasta Machine
If you have a pasta machine you can flatten the dough balls in the machine. Run your dough through a couple times until it is thinner. You can cut the flattened dough into smaller pieces so they are easier to put through the machine. Then when your dough is thin enough add the spaghetti cutter to the crank of your machine. Run the dough through it and you will have spaghetti. Hang it to dry for a while and then cook it.
Tips for Making Spaghetti
- Fill your pot with fresh and cold water. The rule of thumb for making spaghetti is for every pound of pasta fill the pot with 4 liters of water.
- Boil your water before adding your spaghetti.
- Add your spaghetti to your sauce and not the other way round.
- Add no oil to your spaghetti, as that will make it greasy.
- Salt your spaghetti water properly with kosher salt. That means add 2 tablespoons of salt to each 4 liters of water.
- I use Morton's or Diamond Crystal Kosher salt.
- Make sure your water has come to a full boil.
- Stir your spaghetti as soon as you drop it in the water.
- Drain your spaghetti once you remove it from the fire. Don't let the spaghetti dry or the strands will stick together.
What to Put on Spaghetti
So what should you put on your spaghetti? Anything you like. We each have our own favorites, though most people serve spaghetti with a tomato sauce over it. Some people like to add a nice grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to that. Sauce is also sometimes called gravy. I believe that gravy is brown and sauce is red.
Sometimes meats like beef or sausage are added to the sauce. Other times pasta is served with oil and garlic, pesto, mushroom, or a clam sauce. There are so many ways to dress up this delicious food.
Famous Song About Spaghetti
A Lovely Dinner Menu for National Spaghetti Day
Here's a sample menu for your National Spaghetti Day dinner:
- Garlic bread
- Spaghetti topped with a meat sauce made of tomatoes, sausage, and meatballs.
- Grated cheese to put onto your spaghetti.
- Dessert: Italian cookies or cannoli
National Spaghetti Day Craft Ideas
I've found two super fun craft ideas that incorporate spaghetti. One is making a lion using crayons, construction paper, glue and some spaghetti. Here's where to find instructions: spaghetti lion craft.
The second is building a structure with some connectors and some spaghetti. You can buy connectors (I found mine at the uncommongoods website) or you can use mini marshmallows. Either way, it's going to be so much fun. Check out the video below for an idea of what to make!