Macaroni Italian Style (c. 1923) ★★★★★

This recipe calls for macaroni, but the term actually refers to the ingredients in the dough rather than the shape itself. So any kind of pasta made with durum wheat works fine here, regardless of shape. The fact that the recipe calls for breaking the pasta into pieces makes me think perhaps the pasta used was something like Bucatini.
(The painting to the left is Boy with Spaghetti by Julius Moser, c. 1808. It depicts the original way of eating pasta - plain and by hand.)

Original Recipe:
If small quantities of fried or boiled ham remain after a meal, they can be used with macaroni to make a very tasty dish known as macaroni Italian style. As ham is a highly seasoned meat, it improves the flavor of the macaroni and at the same time adds nutrition to the dish.

Sufficient to serve six.

1 cupful macaroni
2 quarts boiling water
2 teaspoonfuls salt
2 tablespoonfuls butter
2 tablespoonfuls flour
1 1/2 cupfuls scalded milk
2/3 cupful grated cheese
1 teaspoonful salt
1/2 teaspoonful paprika
1/2 cupful finely chopped, cold boiled ham
1/4 cupful crumbs

Break the macaroni into inch lengths and cook it in the boiling water to which has been added 2 teaspoonfuls of salt. Drain, and then reheat it in a white sauce made of the butter, flour, and milk. Add the cheese and season with salt and paprika.

Arrange in layers in a baking dish, placing the cold ham between each two layers of macaroni and having the top layer of macaroni, sprinkle the crumbs on top of the upper layer, and bake the food until the crumbs are brown. Garnish with parsley and serve.

The Verdict:
I think I like this better than the other macaroni and cheese on this blog! It was sooo good and had the perfect amount of creamy sauce. There aren't a lot of herbs or spices, but it doesn't taste plain at all. It was rich and tasty, but not so much that I didn't take another scoop ;)
The ham was a nice touch too, and I'm not going to complain about bumping up the protein. The only thing I'm going to mention is that the bread crumbs were not really crusty, so if you like a baked macaroni and cheese with that thick, crispy crust on top, this is not the one. Also, it doesn't make very much. Definitely a side dish. Nevertheless, an amazing recipe! Definitely remembering this one. It didn't take very long to make either!

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 1)

The original recipe is easy to follow. When making the white sauce, just set the cooked pasta aside and use the same pot. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk in the milk and cheese. Cook until thickened, whisking constantly. When the sauce is thickened and thoroughly mixed, add the pasta back in to coat.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.