Mexico

Pasta Traditions

  • MexicoTraditional pasta dishes in Mexico have Aztec, Mayan, and Spanish flavors, including local ingredients, such as chiles and cactus. Many pasta dishes call for browning or frying the dry pasta before simmering in liquid. Many soups include “small cuts” (shapes) of pasta.
  • Fresh and dried chiles, along with indigenous herbs like epazote and hoja santa, are being used in creative new ways, and nothing seems as easily adaptable to these inventive combinations as pasta. Because it is so simple in iteslf, pasta takes on the character of its companions which, as Mexican chefs began discovering in the mid-eighties, do not necessarily have to be Italian.
  • Italian restaurants were well-received in Mexico City much earlier, but pasta as a dish on its own, rather than one element of the comida, has only become more frequently encountered outside of the capitol within the past ten years. There are now separate menu sections for pastas in many restaurants throughout the country. The best of these use innovative combinations of Mexican ingredients to create new pasta sauces.
  • Health food stores in Mexico cannot stock enough whole-grain pasta, and some places have begun to sell dried pasta flavored with typically Mexican ingredients (ancho and poblano chile).
  • In Mexico, people flavor plain dried pasta just by adding a few dried chiles to the cooking water. If making homemade pasta dough, they add some finely chopped Mexican herbs such as cilantro and epazote.
  • Mexico produces about 330,000 tons of pasta annually and the average per capita consumption is 2.7 kg per year.
Food Facts
  • Mexican cuisine is one of the best known in the world, and was originally based on corn, beans, tomatoes, chilies, and plants (called quelites). Mexican cuisine is a combination of prehispanic cultures such as Aztecs, Mayan, Zapotecs, Purepechas and Spanish culture, and differs from region to region in Mexico.
  • One of the national dishes of Mexico is called mole (a generic word meaning “sauce”). Mole can be prepared in different ways but it is basically a complex sauce of dried chili peppers, ground nuts and seeds, plus more than a dozen spices, Mexican chocolate, salt, avocado leaves, onions, garlic and green and red tomatoes. It is cooked slowly until all the flavors come together and it is commonly served with chicken and turkey.
  • A tamale is a traditional dish made of dough, usually corn-based, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, or chilies.
Fun Facts
  • A Mexican tamale called the zacahuil is three feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.
  • Mexico introduced chocolate, corn, and chilies to the world.
  • Mexico City sinks 10 inches each year.
Pasta and bean soupSopa Seca de Fideos (Soup with Pasta)