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Ancient and Medieval pasta dishes were both savory (made with meat, pepper, onion, saffron) and sweet (made with honey, nuts, and soft cheeses). According to the food historians, layered & stuffed pastas (lasagne, ravioli) are a Medieval invention. In European/Christian cultures they were often served with cheese during Christian Lent and other meat-abstaining days.

17th and 18th century English and American cookbooks contain recipes for macrows, or macaroni. Thomas Jefferson is said to have introduced the first pasta machine to America in 1787. Tomatoes are a new world food and were not combined with pasta until the 16th century.