> so it would be "pasta is the food"
Unless you were talking about a dish called "The Pasta" or you were talking about a specific restaurants/person's pasta. "Have you been to XYZ Italian Restaurant? The Pasta is the food". It would not be common, but I don't think you'd get weird looks.
Manchester, and I've never heard of this 'not pasta' controversy in my life! Of course it's pasta, how could it not be? It's another variety of the same stuff!
Not that it's the authoritative source or anything, but:
And if you go to say Tesco online the spaghetti is in the 'dried pasta' section
I believe it's a southern thing for pasta to be specific to smaller individual types like penne, fusili, rather than long thin spaghetti or sheets like canneloni or lasagna. Down here I haven't come across anyone or anywhere that thinks it's fine to call spaghetti pasta, because you'd simply call it spaghetti. Same goes for lasagna etc.
Ok, so I admit Spaghetti is a type of pasta.
Although, if I asked for pasta and got spaghetti I'd be a bit shocked. The fact that the average person probably can't recite all the names of the different types of small pasta but everybody knows what spaghetti is, means that if you want spaghetti you'll probably ask for it and not go with the broad label of pasta, and likewise, if you don't want long stringy spaghetti you'll just ask for pasta.