Which Pasta Was Made Illegal?
Stroncatura pasta historically comprised of not just the offcuts that littered pasta makers' floors after a long days' production, but all the grime and detritus that came about from its production too. Ultimately, it was deemed so hazardous to public health that it became famous as the world’s only illegal pasta.
In the same way that it's now trendy for the rich to be seen shopping in Aldi, stroncatura pasta can be found on Michelin star restaurant menus across Italy. That is despite the origins of it being so grim that it was eventually banned for human consumption.
Loosely translating as "leftovers", stroncatura is a unique style of pasta that hails from Calabria in Southern Italy. It was made from all the scraps of dough that ended up on the pasta maker's floor at the end of the day. These irregularly shaped offcuts were swept up, along with dust, dirt and detritus to produce a pasta that was deemed so hazardous that a law was passed to make it illegal to sell.
Because of its low price-tag, stroncatura continued to be sold on the black market well into the 20th century.
The original pasta was so dark and grubby that you could be forgiven for thinking it was made from a premium dark rye flour. To mask any off-tastes or odours, it was cooked up with a pungent sauce made from anchovies, garlic, chillies and breadcrumbs.
Stroncatura, or least the spirit of it, has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years and can now be found all over Italy. These days the deep brown colour is achieved by using flour wheat grain, but the humble, albeit gross, history of the shape lives on.