Pasta Arabica - Ancient Pasta Recipe

The Life of Food – Pasta Arabica

Un Americano a Roma – 1954

As a part of ‘The Life of Food’ series we are presenting a group of ancient recipes based on food history gleaned from archaeological data, ancient documentary records, and art. The following recipe was developed by researching theories on the origins of the ubiquitous conventional durum pasta secca, its arrival in the Mediterranean, and how the popular food-item may have ended up on the dinner tables of Italy, where it is commonly understood to have originated today.

Click the video below to learn more and follow along as Farrell Monaco explores the origins of pasta by making an ancient pasta dish and sauce drawing on ingredients that were in use in Sicily during the Arab expansions of the Middle Ages. Make Pasta Arabica in your own kitchen using the ingredients listed below. Preparation and cooking instructions can be followed in the video.


  • 400 gr (3 cups) of semolina flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of unsalted pistachios (diced/pulverized)
  • 1 med shallot (diced)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried, crush mint leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)

Feel free to ask questions about this recipe, or leave comments below.

For more Food History recipes see the categories on the dropdown menu above: ‘The Life of Food‘, ‘Videos‘ and ‘Ancient Recipes‘.

This recipe was created by Farrell Monaco for Tavola Mediterranea and The Life of Food.

Recipe Name
Pasta Arabica
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4 Based on 10 Review(s)

2 comments on “The Life of Food – Pasta Arabica

  1. Don Tope on said:

    Farrrell, I loved to cook but I have had the best time with these recipes and your historical expertise breaking them down and telling their story too. I will be edgucating myself more by making these at home, studying and learning these processes and teaching them to my kids in the groups projects they have become. My question is do you have a cookbook out yet? If so can I get it here in the states?

    • Farrell Monaco on said:

      It’s in the works, Don! In the meantime, subscribe to the site on the front page. Thanks so much for reading and getting your kids involved too. – Farrell

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