Eliza Acton on Maccaroni

After careful and repeated trial of different modes of dressing various kinds of maccaroni, we find that in preparing them with Parmesan cheese, unmixed with any of a more mellow nature, there is always a chance of failure, from its tendency, would therefore recommend the inexperienced reader to substitute for it in part, or altogether, any finely flavoured English cheese; and the better to ensure its blending smoothly with the other ingredients (when neither white, nor any other thickened sauce is used with it), to dissolve the butter, and to stir to it a small teaspoonful of flour, before any liquid is added, then carefully to mix with it the cream or gravy, as directed for Sauce Tournee, page 96, and to give this a boil before the maccaroni and cheese are added; if gently tossed as these become hot, the whole will be smooth, and the cheese will adhere properly to the paste.

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

Acton's Maccaroni Soup and further descriptions

Throw four ounces of fine fresh* mellow maccaroni into a pan of fast-boiling water, with about an ounce of fresh butter, and a small onion stuck with three or four cloves.* When it has swelled to its full size, and become tender, drain it well, and slip it into a couple of quarts of clear gravy-soup; let it simmer for a few minutes, when it will be ready for table. Observe, that the maccaroni should be boiled quite tender; but it should by no means be allowed to burst, nor to become pulpy. Serve grated Parmesan cheese with it.

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.

Acton's Nouilles - Substitute for Vermicelli

Wet, with the yolks of four eggs, as much fine, dry, sifted flour as will make them into a firm but very smooth paste. Roll it out as thin as possible, and cut it into bands of about an inch and a quarter in width. Dust them lightly with flour, and place four of them one upon the other. Cut them obliquely in the finest possible strips; seperate them with the point of a knife, and spread them on writing paper, so that they may dry a little before they are used. Drop them gradually into the boiling soup, and in ten minutes they will be done. Various other forms may be given to this paste at will. It may be divided into a sort of riband maccaroni; or stamped with small confectionary cutters into different shapes.

Early Maccaroni - pictures and links
Thomas Jefferson's Maccaroni Machine

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