Macaroni is pasta made in a slightly curved, tubular shape with a hollow centre.
It is a good pasta for baking or for using in pasta salads.
The most popular use for macaroni in English-speaking countries is in the baked dish called Macaroni and Cheese. In the UK, prior to this, the most popular use was in Macaroni Pudding for dessert.
Another shaped pasta.
1 cup uncooked macaroni = 4 oz. (115 g) uncooked macaroni in weight = 2 1/4 cups cooked macaroni
1/2 pound uncooked macaroni = 225 g uncooked macaroni = 4 cups cooked macaroni
Macaroni was originally made by wrapping rolled pasta dough around thin wooden rods, and leaving it to dry.
The shape of what was meant by the word “macaroni” was only firmed established at the start of the 1400s.
Kraft introduced its Macaroni and Cheese in a box in 1937.
Literature & Lore
In the mid 1700s, “macaroni” was a disparaging word used to describe young, English dandies who had travelled the continent and returned aping Continental habits, such as eating pasta.
In the 1890s, a Boston Globe correspondent confided to readers the making of “authentic” macaroni: cut the pasta dough into squares and boil it for up to half an hour:
“Such [authentic macaroni] is not made at a tremendous factory, nor with any coarse flour and water, but in one’s own kitchen, and thus: ….. Roll the dough just as thin as it possibly can be rolled; then fold it over and over in folds about three inches wide until the piece is entirely folded; then cut it through crosswise in pieces about one-half or one-third of an inch wide, or they may be cut in fancy shapes. Shake the least little dust of flour over it, and then lift the little piles of strips, letting them fall so they will separate, but not break. Put them on a sieve or almost anywhere not too near the stove, nor in the sun, to dry thoroughly. And when they are dried, your macaroni is done…. There is a very necessary point in preparing macaroni dishes, that is, that the macaroni must be boiled just long enough, as it is easily spoiled by too much or too little boiling…..about half a pound of macaroni should be boiled from twenty to thirty minutes… Rome Correspondence, Boston Globe.” — ITALIAN MACARONI IN ITALY: How It Is Served There, for It May Be Made in Your Own Kitchen. Appearing in New York Times. 16 July 1893. Page 11.
Mrs Beeton wrote:
“MACARONI is composed of wheaten flour, flavoured with other articles, and worked up with water into a paste, to which, by a peculiar process, a tubular or pipe form is given, in order that it may cook more readily in hot water. That of smaller diameter than macaroni (which is about the thickness of a goose-quill) is called vermicelli; and when smaller still, fidelini. The finest is made from the flour of the hard-grained Black-Sea wheat. Macaroni is the principal article of food in many parts of Italy, particularly Naples, where the best is manufactured, and from whence, also, it is exported in considerable quantities. In this country, macaroni and vermicelli are frequently used in soups.” — Isabella Mary Beeton. The Book of Household Management. London: Ward, Lock & Co. 1888 edition. Page 852.
“Go to a respectable grocer’s, and ask him for an article called macaroni. He will tell you how to cook it. With a little grated cheese, you will find it a novel luxury.” — Tickletooth, Tabitha (pseud. [i.e. Charles Silby.]). The Dinner Question. London: Routledge, Warne and Routledge. 1860. Page 16.
“Macaroni” is an easy to spell, anglicized version of the actual Italian word, “Maccherone / Maccheroni”.
Some speculate that maccherone might from a Greek word “makaria”, meaning “food of the blessed.” Others, that it might come from an old verb, “maccare”, meaning “to knead.”
Called “macrows” in the cookbook “Forme of Cury”, written circa 1390 AD.