Philadelphia pasta, or pasta dishes from the local cuisine of Philadelphia include a wide range of delicious pasta dishes made with different sauces, most of which are tomato, mushroom or seafood based. Cream cheese is used to enrich many such pasta dishes, and meats such as beef and chicken are also included in the popular versions. Italian Market, which is a market in Philadelphia, is considered the socio-cultural hub of the Italian community inhabiting the city and it houses many restaurants serving these pasta dishes or has stores selling pasta and related products.
History of Philadelphia Pasta
Philadelphia has been home to Italian immigrants who started moving in to Antonio Palumbo's boardinghouse in 1884. They brought with them their culinary traditions and foods, pasta being one of them. The pasta dishes were subjected to local influences and evolved into the pasta eaten in Philadelphia today. Shops along the 9th Street, which is also called Italian Market, which opened up at the time of influx of Italians, are doing business even today.
Ingredients and Preparation
Pasta of varying shapes such as spiral or long noodle shapes, eggs, mushrooms, cheese and flavorings like basil and parsley are the commonly suggested ingredients by the local Philadelphia pasta recipes. Tomatoes, stock, vegetables like peppers and spinach, meats like beef, pork or chicken and seafood such as shrimp, clams and crab are common additions to the pasta sauces.The pasta is cooked in salted water till al dente, and tossed with a sauce such as a tomato, cream or seafood sauce. Meatballs may also be included in some versions.
Pasta is served hot, as a starter, side or main dish. It may be garnished with grated cheese and/or basil leaves before serving.
Popular Philadelphia Pasta Dishes
- Pasta in Alcohol Sauce: Many pasta dishes are made with vodka, which is incorporated in the sauce along with ingredients like tomatoes, cream and cheese. Though most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking, it leaves a tinge of its taste which enriches the final flavor. Spinach flavored pasta goes well with such a gravy.
- Seafood Pasta: Popular versions of this pasta consist of clams or crabs cooked into a sauce which is best flavored with garlic and fresh herbs.
- Pasta in Alfredo Sauce: Alfredo sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese and parsley, and goes well with pasta varieties like fettucine.
- Tomato Pasta: This simple pasta dish consisting of a tomato sauce flavored by basil leaves is quite favored among the Philadelphians.
- Paprika Pasta: This is a spicy version is flavored with paprika, and may consist of a creamy sauce and ingredients like shrimp or chicken.
- Mushroom Pasta: Sautéed mushrooms are cooked into a thick pasta sauce for this dish.
- Philadelphia Pasta Primavera: This consists of fettucine pasta, vegetables like spinach, peppers and mushrooms and a creamy sauce.
Superior Pasta Company of Philadelphia produces and markets a whole range of pastas from varying shapes and sizes to assorted flavors such as spinach and paprika.