The best macaroni is smooth, has a fine, close grain and clear yellow color. It is made of flour and water only, and when cooked needs the seasoning of a good sauce. It is generally mixed with cheese, but tomato, cream, or Bechamel sauces make a good combination. When macaroni is to be boiled in long pieces to be used for timbales, hold the pieces in a bunch, and lower them gradually into hot water. They will quickly soften, and can be turned into a circle in the saucepan. They must be removed when tender, and not cooked until they lose form. When done drain off the hot water, and pour on cold water for a few minutes; then lay them straight on a cloth.
Spaghetti is a small and more delicate form of macaroni. It is boiled until tender in salted water and is combined with cheese and with sauces the same as macaroni, and is usually left long. It makes a good garnish.
Take as much macaroni as will half fill the dish in which it is to be served. Break it into pieces two and a half to three inches long. Put it into salted boiling water, and boil twelve to fifteen minutes, or until the macaroni is perfectly soft. Shake the saucepan frequently to prevent the macaroni from adhering to the bottom. Turn it into a colander to drain; then put it into a pudding-dish with butter, salt, and grated cheese. If much cheese is liked, it may be put into the dish in two layers, alternating the seasoning with the macaroni. Cover it with milk, and bake until the milk is absorbed and the top browned. A tablespoonful or more of melted butter should be used to a half pound of macaroni. The macaroni called "Mez-zani," which is a name designating size, not quality, is the preferable kind for macaroni dishes made with cheese.
Boil the macaroni as directed above. Drain it in a colander; then return it to the saucepan with butter and grated cheese. Toss over the fire until the butter is absorbed and the cheese melted. Serve at once before the cheese has time to harden.
A mixture of Parmesan and of Swiss cheese is often liked; the former strings when melted; the latter becomes liquid.
Boil the macaroni as directed above; drain it in a colander; then return it to the saucepan, and mix it with tomato sauce, with cream sauce, or with Bechamel sauce; toss until they are well mixed; serve in a vegetable dish or as a garnish.
(From Mrs. Maspero).
Put the macaroni into salted boiling water, and cook it twelve to fifteen minutes, or until it is tender. Do not let the water boil violently, as this breaks the macaroni. "When it is cooked, drain off all the water, and cover the hot macaroni with grated cheese (Parmesan and Grayere mixed). With two forks mix lightly the cheese with the macaroni. Turn it into the hot serving-dish, and pour over it the sauce given below. Serve at once.