PREPARE AND COOK MACARONI

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					PREPARE AND COOK MACARONI.

Macaroni is a product of wheat prepared from a hard, clean, glutenous
grain. The grain is ground into a meal called semolina, from which the
bran is excluded. This is made into a tasty dough by mixing with hot
water in the proportion of two thirds semolina to one third water. The
dough after being thoroughly mixed is put into a shallow vat and kneaded
and rolled by machinery. When well rolled, it is made to assume varying
shapes by being forced by a powerful plunger through the perforated head
of strong steel or iron cylinders arranged above a fire, so that the
dough is partially baked as it issues from the holes. It is afterwards
hung over rods or laid upon frames covered with cloth, and dried. It is
called by different names according to its shape. If in the shape of
large, hollow cylinders, it is macaroni; if smaller in diameter, it is
spaghetti; if fine, vermicelli; if the paste is cut into fancy patterns,
it is termed pasta d'Italia. Macaroni was formerly made only in Italy,
but at present is manufactured to a considerable extent in the United
States.

Good macaroni will keep in good condition for a long time. It is rough,
elastic, and hard; while the inferior article is smooth, soft, breaks
easily, becomes moldy with keeping. Inferior macaroni contains a large
percentage of starch, and but a small amount of gluten. When put into hot
water, it assumes a white, pasty appearance, and splits in cooking. Good
macaroni when put into hot water absorbs a portion of the water, swells
to nearly double its size, but perfectly retains its shape. It contains a
much smaller amount of gluten.

Do not wash macaroni. Break into pieces of convenient size if it is long.
Always put to cook in boiling liquid, taking care to have plenty of water
in the saucepan (as it absorbs a large quantity), and cook until tender.
The length of time required may vary from twenty minutes, if fresh, to
one hour if stale. When tender, turn into a colander and drain, and pour
cold water through it to prevent the tubes from sticking together. The
fluid used for cooking may be water, milk, or a mixture of both; also
soup stock, tomato juice, or any preferred liquid.

Macaroni serves as an important adjunct to the making of various soups,
and also forms the basis of other palatable dishes.

				
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