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October Is National Pasta Month; Celebrate the Origin of One of America's Favorite Foods.

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Ever wonder why it's fettuccini Alfredo and not macaroni Alfredo? Or why tubular shaped pasta is called "rigatoni" by some people and "big ribs" by others? Or just how the more than 600 different shapes of pasta are made?

This October, people across the country will celebrate one of the country's favorite foods as part of National Pasta Month. Mark Antony Prece, corporate executive chef for American Italian Pasta Company, makers of Mueller's, Golden Grain and Heartland pastas, has provided the following fascinating facts about the origins of pasta and how this dinner table staple is made:
 -- The origin of Fettuccini, which is possibly the oldest variety of
 pasta, dates back to Persia in the year 4 BC.

 -- Linguini, which means "little tongues", was originally used as a soup
 noodle, often with broth from wild boars in 13th Century Europe.

 -- The origins of Mostaccioli, which means "little moustaches" for its
 curved shape, dates back to Naples around 1700, when pasta was cooked
 and sold from mobile street carts.

 -- There is a unique relationship between pasta shapes and sauces. Many
 pastas and noodles have "ridges" as a means of "holding" the sauce.
 For example, fettuccini is traditionally an artisan pasta with a
 coarse surface that allowed for the perfect amount of "Alfredo" sauce
 to be picked up per bite.

 -- Some pasta, such as angel hair, known as fideo in the South and
 Southwestern, U.S., can be used in desserts, such as an Italian
 Chocolate Torte.

 -- There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.

 -- Tubular shaped pasta is called "rigatoni" by some people and "big ribs"
 by others most likely because the word rigatoni actually means "big
 lined ones", which was eventually translated loosely to "big ribs" by
 some chefs.

 -- It takes about 20 minutes to turn flour into a pasta shape but takes up
 to 12 hours to dry the pasta shape so it is stable for packaging.

 -- American Italian Pasta Company, the largest producer of dry pasta in
 North America, unloads 1700 railcars of wheat each year at just one of
 its four facilities. If piled into a football stadium like Arrowhead
 stadium in Kansas City, MO, this amount of wheat would rise to almost
 7 feet.

 -- American Italian Pasta Company produces enough spaghetti per year to go
 around the earth over three times if laid end to end!

 -- Spaghetti is the most popular type of pasta.

 Chef Mark Antony Prece's Favorite Pasta Recipe

 Blackened Chicken with Penne and Mushrooms in Dijon Cream Sauce

 1 box (16 oz) of Mueller's, Golden Grain or Heartland Penne Pasta, cooked
 according to package directions
 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
 (preseason with Cajun seasoning)
 1/3 cup white wine
 2 tbsp. olive oil
 4 cups mushrooms, sliced thin
 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
 1 tbsp. green onions, diced




Heat the oil in the saute pan until it smokes. Quickly add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add the mushrooms and saute for 1 minute. Then add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the cream and the mustard and cook until the sauce is lightly thickened. Toss cooked pasta with sauce until hot. Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Founded in 1988 and based in Kansas City, Missouri, American Italian Pasta Company is the largest producer and marketer of dry pasta in North America, with brands including Mueller's(R), Golden Grain(R), Heartland(R), Martha Gooch(R), Pennsylvania Dutch(R), Pasta LaBella(R), R & F(R), Luxury(R), Ronco(R) and Anthony's(R). The Company has four plants that are located in Excelsior Springs, Missouri; Columbia, South Carolina; Tolleson, Arizona; and Verolanuova, Italy.

CONTACT: Hannah Arnold or Casey DePalma of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc. Public Relations, +1-212-575-4545
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Date:Oct 5, 2006
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