The Real Reason Pasta In Italy Is So Yellow

When in Rome, do as the Romans do and eat lots of pasta — or at least that's what viewers got to watch Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis do during their shoot of the limited discovery+ series Bobby and Giada in Italy. The two celebrity chefs savored so many delicious-looking pasta dishes during the four episodes of the show, it left many of us longing for more ... pasta. Pasta has been around forever. In fact, it has existed for so long, per PBS, its origins are difficult to pinpoint, but most of us think of it as Italian with this favorite food made from the simple ingredients of flour, water, or egg. 

But have you ever wondered why the pasta is such a warm color of yellow in Italy? Per Food Network, this is in large part due to the egg yolks which are more "vibrant" in Italy than they are in America. But why? What are egg producers in Italy doing that Americans are not? After all, per United Egg, egg production in the United States has egg-ccelerated over the years, with hens in the States producing 99.1 billion eggs in 2019. Are American chickens producing subpar eggs? 

This is how egg yolks in Italy get so yellow

According to the Cooking Exchange forum, the yellow color from eggs is derived from vitamin A and because the chickens that call the Italian countryside home are fed a diet high in vitamin A, the yellow of the yolk is quite a bit brighter than what you find in the United States, where eggs are mass-produced. The chickens eat feed containing corn which apparently doesn't contribute much to the vibrant yellow color. This explanation seems to comport with what Joel Slezak, a farmer in Free Union, Virginia who told Huff Post, "We've found that the more we move [the birds] and the more access they have to pasture, the brighter the yolks."

Amanda Nolan, co-owner and farmer of Dusty Hound Farms in Tetonia, Idaho concurs that the more natural your chicken's diet, the brighter, more intense the color of the yolk will be. Nolan shared with Huff Post that when she was feeding her chickens store-bought feed, the yolks were kind of dull looking. It took a week of detoxing her chicken's diet and replacing it with "dark leafy greens and any orange/red fruits and veggies" to achieve the bright and coveted yellow yolk. So, if you are making fresh homemade pasta of your own and you want to achieve that same vibrant yellow that is synonymous with pasta in Italy, choose eggs from hens who were fed a natural diet.