Macaroni in many forms
Macaroni in one form or another should appear on every table several times a week. Too many families have only one way of serving macaroni — that is au gratin — and naturally, the family soon grow tired of it.
To get an idea of the innumerable dishes in which macaroni may appear it would pay a housewife to visit one of the good Italian restaurants, look over their bill-of-fare, and then from time to time, try the different ways of preparing it. A visit to a first class Italian grocery is also illuminating.
There are fully sixty forms of Neopolitan macaroni, which is dried in the sun, and while native Americans know and use but few of these, the Italian Americans use them all. There are only about forty forms of the Genoese paste which is dried upon shallow shelves in big airy rooms in use here, and it is higher in price than the Neopolitan. American macaroni most often imitates the form of the Genoese.
Time was when this country received all of her supplies of the various macaronies from Italy or France, but now a great deal of macaroni is made here. Eight years ago, it was a hard matter to get American-grown wheat with sufficient gluten to make good macaroni, but today, the Dakotas and other semi-arid regions of the northwest are raising aurum wheat, and factories are making macaroni commercially on a large scale.
Cooking macaroni: The preliminary treatment of macaroni, however served, is always the same. It is to be cooked like rice in an abundance of boiling salted water, three-quarters of an hour or until perfectly tender. It should then be drained and rinsed with cold water to prevent the tubes from adhering to each other. To cut in small pieces, put the cooked tubes parallel on board, and cut through all at once.
Recipe 1: Macaroni with tomato sauce, Neopolitan-style
Having properly cooked and drained three-fourths of a pound of macaroni, put into a saucepan with one cup tomato sauce and the same quantity rich brown gravy. To make the tomato sauce, cut one carrot and one onion in slices and fry in a tablespoonful of butter until brown. Add two tablespoonfuls of flour, and when blended, pour in one quart of tomatoes. Season with a little thyme, salt and pepper and simmer gently for three quarters of an hour. Add a teaspoonful of sugar and strain through a coarse sieve. Add a few mushrooms, fresh or canned, and two tablespoons ful of tongue, diced. Season the macaroni with salt and pepper, add one quarter pound grated Parmesan, and pour the sauce and gravy over the macaroni. Serve very hot.
Recipe 2: Deviled macaroni
Take two cupsful of boiled and chopped macaroni and mix with it a white sauce made by cooking together two spoonsful each of flour and butter, then reducing with a cupful of hot milk. Season with salt and paprika. Add three hard boiled eggs (minced), a tablespoonful of chopped parsley, two teaspoonsful of onion juice and a dash of nutmeg. When well-mixed, pour into scallop shells, sprinkle the top with buttered crumbs or cheese as preferred, and brown in a quick oven. Just before serving, make a depression in the center of each scallop and fill with chili sauce.
Recipe 3: Timbales of macaroni
Cook a half pound of macaroni and drain thoroughly; beat up the yolks of five eggs and the whites of two, add a cupful of rich cream, the breast of a cold fowl and some thin slices of boiled ham, both finely minced. Add three tablesponsful of grated Parmesan, with salt to taste, and a dash of paprika or cayenne. Put into timbale cups and set in a baking pan half-filled with water. Bake three-quarters of an hour and serve very hot.
Recipe 4: Macaroni Milanese
Cook the macaroni as usual, pour cold water through it and return to the kettle. Pour over it a cup of milk and reheat. Butter a pudding dish and put into it, in alternate layers, the macaroni and grated cheese, seasoning with a little more salt and a few grains of cayenne. Put plenty of bits of butter on top, cover with fresh, rich milk, then cover and bake fifteen or twenty minutes. Uncover and brown.
Recipe 5: Macaroni with oysters
Butter a deep pudding dish and put in a layer of cooked macaroni. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, fine cracker crumbs and bits of butter; then alternate macaroni and oysters until all the ingredients are used, having macaroni for the top layer. Heat the liquor from the oysters with a half cup of cream, pour over the macaroni, cover and bake half an hour in a hot oven. Uncover and brown.