Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Cook Macaroni

This is one of the most wholesome and economical of foods, and can be varied so as to give a succession of palatable dishes at a very small cost. The imported macaroni can be bought at Italian stores for about fifteen cents a pound; and that quantity when boiled yields nearly three times its bulk, if it has been manufactured for any length of time. In cooking it is generally combined with meat gravy, tomato sauce, and cheese; Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, which are the kinds most used by foreign cooks, can be readily obtained at any large grocery, the price of the former being about thirty-five cents per pound, and the latter varying from forty to eighty cents, according to the commercial spirit of the vendor; the trade price quoted on grocers' trade lists being thirty-eight cents per pound, for prime quality. This cheese is of a greenish color, a little salt in taste and flavored with delicate herbs; the nearest domestic variety is sage-cheese, which may be used when Parmesan can not be obtained. If in heating Parmesan cheese it appears oily, it is from the lack of moisture, and this can be supplied by adding a few tablespoonfuls of broth, and stirring it over the fire for a minute. When more macaroni has been boiled than is used, it can be kept perfectly good by laying it in fresh water, which must be changed every day. There are several forms of Italian paste, but the composition is almost identical, all being made from the interior part of the finest wheat grown on the Mediterranean shores: the largest tubes, about the size of a lead pencil, are called macaroni; the second variety, as large as a common pipe-stem, is termed mazzini; and the smallest is spaghetti, or threads; vermicelli comes to market in the form of small coils or hanks of fine yellowish threads; and Italian paste appears in small letters, and various fanciful shapes. Macaroni is generally known as a rather luxurious dish among the wealthy; but it should become one of the chief foods of the people, for it contains more gluten, or the nutritious portion of wheat, than bread.

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