These are thick pastes made from wheaten flour mixed with a small quantity of water. They are made to take various shapes by being forced through holes in metallic plates. These plates are arranged over a fire; and the macaroni, as it issues from the holes, is partially baked, and afterward hung to dry over rods. Vermicelli is used in soup and puddings; macaroni and spaghetti as vegetables.
Macaroni is a nutritious and economical food, and should be used more extensively than it is. Do not wash it, as the boiling water will better take off anything that needs to be removed. Always cook it in boiling salted water until tender, before serving it in any way. Drain, and pour cold water over it to keep it from becoming pasty. Macaroni, as frequently prepared, in long pieces, which utterly refuse to come out of the dish in a proper manner when served, is not attractive. Nor is it palatable when it is only slightly seasoned, and is dried in the oven without a covering of sauce or crumbs.
Break one quarter of a pound of macaroni in three-inch pieces, and put into three pints of boiling salted water. Boil twenty minutes, or until soft. Drain in a colander, and pour cold water through it to cleanse and keep it from sticking. Cut into inch pieces. Lay the strips on a board, parallel to each other, and cut through them all at once. Put in a shallow baking-dish and cover with a white sauce, made with a cup and a half of hot milk, one tablespoonful of butter, and one table-spoonful of flour, cooked according to directions for White Sauce (see page 189). Add half a teaspoonful of salt. Mix two thirds of a cup of fine cracker crumbs with a third of a cup of melted butter, and sprinkle over the top. Bake till the crumbs are brown.
If cheese be liked with it, use half a cup of grated Parmesan or any other dry cheese. Put part of it with the macaroni, and mix the remainder with the crumbs.
No. 2. - Mix two hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine, with the macaroni. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper, and add a little made mustard, if you wish. Cover with milk and buttered crumbs, and bake until the crumbs are brown.
No. 3. - Pour a rich white sauce over the macaroni, and serve grated cheese on a separate dish.
Boil as above, and cover with tomato sauce. Fry one tablespoonful of chopped onion in one tablespoonful of butter. Add one large table-spoonful of flour; when well mixed, add gradually a cup and a half of strained tomato and half a teaspoonful of salt. Pour over the macaroni, and warm in the oven; or cover with buttered crumbs, and bake until the crumbs are brown.
This is a variety of macaroni about one eighth of an inch in diameter. It is usually served unbroken. Take a handful of the long sticks, plunge the ends into rapidly boiling salted water. As they soften, bend and coil the spaghetti in the water, without breaking it, until it is all softened. Boil until tender. Drain, pour cold water through it, and serve without cutting, if you are skilled in the art of winding it around your fork, as the Italians do. Serve the same as macaroni, with cream or tomato sauce, cheese, and crumbs.