The Origins Of Macaroni


I know, it’s “pasta” not “macaroni”, but only if you are part of the “yuppie” generation. For us Italians, who are part of the mid-twentieth century or “baby boomer” age, it’s “Macaroni.” I decided to try and get some clarity as to how macaroni came onto the scene in Italy, so I started by doing a Google search and dusting off some of my books about foods of Italy. This only made me more confused. Therefore, I have drawn my own conclusion (which is no better or worse than opinions I read), that no one knows the real origin of macaroni. Although some strongly suggest it originated in Muslim countries. Other articles point to the Greeks; Oh no, say others, it was Marco Polo, who discovered it on this twenty some odd year adventure to China, only one problem the time travel doesn’t match. Really who cares, what we need to understand that all Macaroni is not created equal. So it is easier to all agree that the important thing is not who discovered it, rather what has been done with it afterwards? Just like sex, it doesn’t matter who takes the credit for invention; it’s what you do with it now. As for us Italians, we can stand up and say that while we didn’t create either, we sure have mastered the art of both!  Come on now you can smile :)

My favorite dish was Marilyn Monroe, , , side dish that is; my real dish is Rigatoni. To me, a dish of Rigatoni, al dente, with a light tomato sauce and sprinkled with some Pecorino Romano cheese is just heaven. I never liked a lot of sauce on my macaroni and my mother always made sure that was the way it was made for me. And now the Culinary Counselor has coming soon Anna’s Simply Gourment, my mother’s version of tomato sauces. 

This brings me to the macaroni we offer on the website. The quality is undeniable. You ask why? Okay, let me explain. First notice the seal IGP the blue and yellow seal. IGP stands for “Indicazione Geografica Protetta.” It basically notes that the product if from a specific region of Italy. In this case Gragnano, Italy. Secondly, the company uses bronze dyes (bronzo), to extrude the product into the shapes you see. Bronze dyes (unlike Teflon dyes that are used by the big companies), do not heat up, thus allowing for the product once extruded to dry naturally. Lastly, you will notice its rough shape, that is from the extruding process and most importantly allows for the sauce to stay on each enjoyable bite of not only the macaroni but Anna’s Simply Gourmet sauces.

Cooking Macaroni:

Bring about two quarts of water to a rolling boil, then add about a tablespoon of salt to the water and one pound of the macaroni from Gragnano. Depending upon the cut (long, short, or medium), it will take about seven to ten minutes. Test it by placing it between your teeth (thus al dente, which means “to the tooth”) and biting down; your teeth should feel a little resistance, (not a crunch) for it to be done. Remove from the water into a strainer, shake excess water. DO NOT WASH. Add about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and mix; this will prevent sticking. Spread out on a sheet pan unless ready to use. You don’t want it to cook any further unless you are ready to add Anna’s Simply Gourmet sauce. 

If ready to use, put some sauce into the pot you used to cook the macaroni (make sure you put the macaroni in beforehand) and mix, add some more Anna’s Simply Italian Sauce together with a tablespoon of butter. 

Buon Appetitto!!!

Ciao, the Culinary Counselor

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