June 21, 2013 in Pasta
Italians began to settle in South Africa from as early as 1689, but from 1861 they starting flooding into the country, as refugees from the Italian War of Independence.
During the Battle of Bloukrans in the Groot Trek and Italian woman Teresa Viglione rode down to the Bushman’s River, courageously risking her life to warn the Boer laagers and tend to the wounded. A carved marble tablet in the Voortrekker Monument honours her valour. And during the next major conflict, the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, over 200 Italians formed the most renowned foreign legion to support the Boer cause, under the leadership of Italian cavalry officer Camillo Ricchiardi.
During the Second World War there was a massive influx of Italians into South Africa as prisoners of war. It is said that up to 96,000 Italian prisoners were held in Pretoria’s Zonderwater, the largest Allied prisoner-of-war camp.
So I think it is safe to say that pasta must have been around in South Africa for a very long time, the first commercial pasta factory however was build when Luigi Fatti built a pasta factory in Johannesburg in 1912, after working as a grocer for several years. The Moni brothers (Giuseppe, Giacomo, Pietro and Roberto) were also grocers in Johannesburg and opened their own pasta factory which they then transferred to Cape Town. The two companies merged in 1920 to form the United Macaroni Factories Limited, now known as Fatti’s & Moni’s.
The following is a marriage of Italian and Boer flavours, I can imagine the smell coming from coal stove of a Roberto married to a Johanna Magdalena during the early 1900’s. The pasta I had leftover from cooking too much pasta earlier in the week, and the mince I had leftover from making Boerewors, and then not stuff all of it into casings. I always keep some of my “Boerewors mince” to make meatballs of pasta with. We have the typical Boerewors flavours of the coriander, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper, and the Italian flavours from the pasta, parmesan, mozzarella and Italian spices.
Please visit www.capecook.co.za for the recipe.