There are many food festivals celebrated around the world that we are simply not aware of until we are told about them. For example, how many of you new that March is National Noodle Month? Yep, there aren't many hands up there. There are quite a few reasons bandied around as to why somebody at sometime decided that the noodle needed celebrating, and also why it was decided that March would be the month to do it.
According to doyen of noodles; the NPA, or National Pasta Association, is is because there is a sharp rise in the amount of noodles eaten at the beginning of the year in an effort to thwart the cold weather. In other words, a steaming bowl of delicious pasta is real comfort food. March is also a month where certain religions give up meat for lent, depending on when Easter falls of course, but rather than changing noodle month to fit in with Easter, it was decreed that March was it.
So how will you be celebrating this year's National Noodle Month now that you know about it? Noodles mean different things to different people; ranging from the uber fine noodles you find in Oriental cooking to the fettuccini and tagliatelle that make up the basis of so many Italian dishes. There are also those puritans who claim that a noodle is only a noodle if an egg has been added to the basic pasta recipe, other disagree and point out that a noodle is simple a long, skinny bit of pasta.
Whichever side of the noodle fence you sit on, this is a chance to embrace this centuries-old foodstuff and forget your self-imposed ban on carbs for 31 days. Noodles are the basis for many of our favourite dishes and is very much taken for granted as just being there.
If you have always been going to have a go at making your own then this is the ideal opportunity to give it a go. Flour, water, egg or no egg depending on aforementioned side of fence or lifestyle choice. Chances are it may be a bit disastrous first time around but hey, that's the joy of cooking. You try something, it goes wrong, you start again and keep trying until you get it right. The great thing about pasta making is the fact it's so cheap, so your wallet won't be crying if the whole lot is consigned to the bin.
There are some terrific recipes below using both home made and bought pasta. If you aren't a pasta connoisseur and stick to the tried and tested Spag Bol you will be amazed at the wealth of dishes based around humble pasta and it could be the start of a long and satisfying love affair.
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This refreshing gin fizz cocktail was created exclusively for Jacksons of Piccadilly by food writer Ghillie James Go to recipe