Meta: Yes, National Spaghetti Day. Click here to learn when it is and gather ideas for your perfect pasta party.
If pasta is your favorite food, then you’ll want to mark your calendar for January 4—it’s National Spaghetti Day! This unofficial holiday is the perfect day to prepare your favorite pasta dish for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the ultimate excuse to treat yourself!
Spotlight: When and How to Celebrate National Spaghetti Day
The History of Spaghetti
Like other types of pasta, spaghetti is made of water and milled wheat, which makes a dough that cuts into the actual strands of noodles.
It’s possible to make spaghetti from home with a knife and a rolling pin, and home pasta machines make more uniform shapes than you may be able to manage on your own. In Italian, the word spaghetti means twine, referring to its long, thin form. There are also variations on spaghetti that are slightly thinner or thicker than the traditional size.
Historical evidence traces spaghetti all the way back to the first century in the form of noodles. There’s also evidence that Asia first developed pasta, which would make its way to Italy when Arabia conquered Sicily during the 700s.
The dish first caught on in the lower classes and would ultimately become popular enough for even the middle class to enjoy. As the plate increased in popularity, chefs began to experiment with it further, a practice that continues to this day.
Americans had a little bit of pasta enjoyment through macaroni (popularized by none other than Thomas Jefferson), but the 1700 and 1800s are when spaghetti came across the ocean. Italian immigrants brought the dish over, ultimately adding it to the range of typical foods.
Americans experimented with spaghetti more, creating new twists on the dish. Two of the most common toppings associated with pasta are tomato sauce and meatballs, but these came about in the States, not back in Italy. Various combination of sauces, oils, and topics all make spaghetti a flexible and delicious meal, no matter which way you cook it.
While we know a whole lot about the origins of spaghetti, we don’t know as much about who put forth the idea of National Spaghetti Day. Even so, we’re not about to pass up an opportunity to celebrate such a day, especially when it gives an excuse to indulge in pasta for the day.
How to Celebrate National Spaghetti Day
Is there a wrong way to celebrate National Spaghetti Day? Not really, unless you choose to skip out on this excellent opportunity to chow down some pasta. Whether you settle down at home or go out to your favorite Italian restaurant, you’ll be doing everything you need to do.
If you want to get ambitious, consider making your noodles at home! You can put together pasta dough pretty quickly, though your noodles may not be as uniform as what you’d find in a box. Still, equipped with a pasta maker, you can have a much easier time. Have hanging out your pasta to dry on a rack, then enjoy once it’s ready. You’ll be able to taste the fresh-made difference!
But there’s no shame in sticking to premade spaghetti, as you’ll have a delicious meal either way. Whether you decide to stick to the classic tomato sauce and meatballs or go for something more exotic, all spaghetti dishes count during this holiday. Have a little fun and test if your noodles are ready by throwing them at the wall—if they stick, then you’re ready to chow down.
Other fun ideas you can try out are:
- Make a pasta buffet for your friends and family (and enjoy your leftovers!)
- Hunt for pasta deals at restaurants
- Learn about different spaghetti recipes from around the world
- Watch Lady and the Tramp for the iconic spaghetti scene
Because there are so many options for what to do with spaghetti, you may be at a loss for where to start for your celebrations. If you find yourself at a loss, try out some of these recipes.
There’s nothing wrong with relying on the classics, and you likely won’t get many complaints from the dinner table. If making your noodles has intrigued you, go a step further. This recipe includes instructions on how to put together homemade meatballs so that you can continue that fresh food feeling. Combine with red sauce and some parmesan cheese, and you’ll have a dish that’s hard to beat!
This recipe brings together noodles, greens, chicken, cranberries, and apples for a delicious and slightly sweet dish. You can also add pecans, but that’s easy enough to avoid if allergies are a concern. If you get the right type of spaghetti, this dish will also be gluten-free. Who said pasta couldn’t be good for you?
Meatballs may be the staple meat when it comes to spaghetti dishes, but how about cured pork? This dish pulls together pecorino cheese, white wine, tomato, and black and chili pepper for a savory meal. You can even sub in bacon as your pork. If it’s popular in Italy, the home of pasta, then it’s bound to be a hit at your dinner table.
Not a fan of red sauces? No problem. Besides its titular ingredients, you need butter, salt, pepper, and parsley to make this dish, giving a simple but delicious flavor that will do the holiday justice. If you want a little extra oomph to the taste, add in some crushed red pepper flakes. Because it’s simple, you can whip up this recipe in a flash!
Sauté some onions and peppers, cook in some eggs, then mix your spaghetti into the pan and – voila! Dinner is ready. This recipe is another dish you can spice up a bit by adding some extras, and siracha will kick things up a notch. Even better, this dish is a great way to spice up some leftover spaghetti. You know, in case you get excited and cook too much.
Why settle for just one cheese when you could have four? The blend of cheeses and milk make for a creamy dish that, when topped off with garlic, makes a satisfying celebration. If you want, you can also mix in some greens to add a little color and extra health benefits. Try out slipping in some spinach, or even kale to the mix!
If none of these options are simple enough for you, take a page out of Naples’ book and stick to the two essentials: garlic and oil. Cook up your garlic and oil together, then add the pasta to complete the dish. This recipe has some recommended extras as well, so you can sub in and out what you want. Sometimes you need little more than some extra flavor to enjoy what wonders spaghetti has to offer you.
There’s more to tomato sauce than just traditional red, and this recipe shows you how to make it happen. Spice and creaminess come together for an irresistible dish. You don’t even have to make the stuff from scratch – add the extra ingredient to your favorite sauce, and you’re ready to go. Pair this up with a thin spaghetti for quick prep time, so you can get to the best part of making pasta: eating it.
Of course, if you’re thinking creaminess, then alfredo sauce is the way to go. Pair that up with a bit of the sea, and you’ve got a winner. This recipe includes shrimp, but don’t rule out other seafood favorites, like crab or lobster. Sprinkle a bit of extra parmesan on the plate for the perfect topper that will be sure to whet your appetite.
Yes, more seafood in this dish, but that’s not all. The sausage adds extra meat that only tastes better with all the spice in the recipe. Pepper, garlic, paprika, tomato paste, white wine, and saffron all build up an impeccable taste you won’t forget anytime soon after eating. Slip some lemon wedges on the side for an extra dash of flavor, and you’re ready to go.
Of course, meat isn’t for everyone. We have vegetable-loaded recipes like this for those people. While that vegetarian spin doesn’t quite qualify this dish as a true Bolognese, the flavor more than makes up for it. With mushroom, lentil, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and rosemary, plus assorted seasonings, you won’t find yourself missing that sausage in the slightest.
Enjoying Your Holiday to the Fullest
While we’ve covered some great recipe options here, we’ve only scratched the surface for what you can accomplish with spaghetti.
If you haven’t quite found the one that’s worthy of National Spaghetti Day, that’s fine; the internet has an abundance of ideas you can explore and use. Plus, when all else fails, you can get creative and make a pasta dish of your very own. With so many options, you’ll have more than enough to celebrate this holiday for years to come!