The Neapolitan maccaroni, of which the pipes are large, and somewhat thin, should be selected always for the table in preference to the Genoa, which is less in size, but more substantial, and therefore better suited to the formation of the various fanciful timbales, for which it is usually chosen. We have inserted here no receipts for these, because unless very skilfully prepared they are sure to fail, and they are not in much request in this country, unless it be at the tables of the aristocracy, for which they are prepared by efficient cooks.
We have already noticed the ribbon maccaroni (or lazanges), which is very good, and quickly boiled; but we have not mentioned the maccaroncini, which, though not much larger than a straw, requires more time to render it soft.
The Naples vermicelli, which is much larger than any other, may be dressed like maccaroni: it is also preferable to the smaller kind for soups. All these pastes should be of a yellowish colour, and by no means white. It is desirable to purchase them at a good foreign warehouse, from which they will usually be supplied of first-rate quality.
Naples maccaroni, to boil nearly or quite, 3/4 hour; Genoa maccaroni, nearly 1 hour, sometimes longer; maccaroncini, 20 to 25 minutes; Naples vermicelli, about 20 minutes.
Obs.- The time named here is for boiling the various pastes in water: in milk or soup it will vary somewhat from this.
Eliza Acton. Modern Cookery. London, 1850 p.579
Maccaroni, 4 ozs.; butter, 1 oz.; 1 small onion; 5 cloves: 3/4 hours, or more. In soup, 5 to 10 minutes.
Obs.-The maccaroni for soups should always be either broken into short lengths before it is boiled, or sliced quickly afterwards into small rings not more than the sixth of an inch thick, unless the cut maccaroni, which may be purchased at the Italian warehouses, be used; this requires but ten minutes' boiling, and should be dropped into the soup in the same way as vermicelli. Four ounces of it will be sufficient for two quarts of vermicelli. Four ounces of it will be sufficient for two quarts of stock. It may be added to white soup after having been previously boiled in water or veal-broth, and well drained from it
* We must her repeat our warning against the use of long-kept maccaroni, vermicelli, or semoulina; as, when stale, they will render any dish into which they are introduced quite unfit for table.
*For White Soups omit the onion.
We have named to the reader, in another part of the volume, Mr. Cobbet, 18, Pall Mall, as supplying all the Italian pastes extremely good.
Early Maccaroni - pictures and links
Thomas Jefferson's Maccaroni Machine