Macaroni (Ital. maccheroni), a peculiar paste or dough prepared from wheat flour and manufactured into tubes, ribbons, or threads. It is an Italian invention, and, though made by a simple process, has never been produced with so great success in any other country. The samples from France at the great exhibition of 1851 were nearly equal to those from Italy; the English samples were inferior. The grain grown in the more southern countries of Europe is said to possess a greater amount of gluten, and is therefore better adapted to this manufacture. The wheat, after being washed in the mountain streams, is freed from the husks and ground in water mills, when hot water is added till it is of the consistency of stiff dough. Five different qualities of flour are obtained by an equal number of sittings, the last giving the finest and most delicate that can be made. It is kneaded by means of a wooden pole attached to a post fixed in the ground, and worked up and down as a lever, under one end of which the paste is placed; or by another and less agreeable process of piling up the dough and treading it out with the feet, after which it is rolled with a heavy rolling pin. To reduce the dough to cylinders or ribbons, an iron vessel is used, having the bottom perforated with holes or slits.
When this is filled with the paste, a heavy iron plate is driven in by a powerful press, which forces the paste through the holes, and gives it the shape of the perforations, the workman cutting off the pieces of the desired length as they come through. To produce a hollow cylinder, or tube, a wire suspended from above passes down through the round hole in the vessel. During this process it is partially baked by a fire made under the vessel. Sometimes the flat pieces are formed into tubes by uniting the edges before they are thoroughly dry. After being hung up for a few days they are ready for use. The largest cylinders are called mac-cheroni, the smaller vermicelli (little worms), and the smallest fedelini.