It is said that pasta has been popular in Italy since the 13th or 14th century. It is now a staple of Italian cuisine and is ranked as the world's favourite food, ahead of meat, rice, and pizza. According to a global survey conducted by Oxfam, pasta topped the list of most relished foods.

In Italy there is even a law for the preparation and the usage of ingredients in its making. Pasta is made of a variety of wheat flour with varying gluten and protein content. Whole wheat pasta, which generally contains more fibre and more nutrients than refined pasta, has become increasingly popular. Pasta is categorised in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a few days under refrigeration.

The names of pasta often end with -ini, -elli, illi, -etti -ine, -elle, and so on, all conveying ‘little.' Some names end with -oni, -one, meaning ‘large,' and others with as -otti and -acci (meaning ‘rough'). Terminology depends on grain used and milling methods used to make the flour ( pizzoccheri, for example, is made from buckwheat flour).