Does someone know the precise recipe for that? Is it the same basic method as the potato dish? just can't imagine for the life of me how long strands of spaghetti can be baked into cheesy and how could they be served actually looking attractive to the eye!
>>just can't imagine for the life of me how long strands of spaghetti can be baked into cheesy and how could they be served actually looking attractive to the eye!<<
I can. The only difference between spagetti and elbow macaroni is the form the pasta takes. I could do my own take using a cheese sauce started from a rue of flour, butter, and milk then adding whatever cheese I liked (Sharp chedder and butterkaise) until I had the volumn and consistancy I wanted. Add to pasta, sprinkle on some chives or parsley as decoration, and serve.
I suspect the edwardian variant would be rather different but I don't have a recipe handy.
I have to say it sounds awful. Spaghetti is quite the wrong sort of pasta for a bake, and I refuse to believe it's a traditional Italian dish. My memories of Italian spaghetti are of olive oil / garlic / cheese, or tomato-based sauces in which the spaghetti is tossed. As is mankind's crowning achievement, the closely-related linguini with clam sauce. Neither are ever baked, so far as I can recall, though I may be wrong obviously, not being Italian.
Ah, Monica. Baked spaghetti is one of civilization's triumphs, at least if done properly. My housekeeper, when she is in an upbeat mood, has two favored ways of presenting it. (The downbeat mood versions are the same, only with the potential for her to 'accidentally' knock a box of thumbtacks or staples into the mix, as happened at Christmas. Again.) It can be done very elaborately, or very simply.
SIMPLE: Brown four sweet Italian sausages. Cut into "discs." Brown ten small, grape sized balls of chopped meat. Mix beaten eggs with spaghetti. Layer all of the above together, with traditonal sauce and mozzarella. It's basically a frittata/lasagne fusion, and can be done in under a half hour.
COMPLEX: The same basic concept, only substituting softened leeks, steam-wilted spinach, chopped basil, powdered cumin, grated parmesan, and either red pepper, prosciutto, or spiced cubed potatoes, for the sausage, meat, and mozzarella. This uses more eggs than the simple version, ALMOST approaches being a quiche, and has potential to turn into a rock solid, truly unappetizing, mess if one miscalcs on the number of eggs and ratio of cheese-to-egg. Garnish with grated cheese, parsley. If the housekeeper is in a GOOD mood, this sometimes comes to the table flash-heated inside of a hollowed loaf... making it a sort of omelette/frittata/ crudite. In a bad mood, the traditional staple/thumbtack/ cat hair garnish will suffice.
Mrs Beeton's 19th century Book of Household Management provides the traditional definition for 'au gratin', which was probably still current in 1912: A term applied to certain dishes prepared with sauce, garnish and breadcrumbs, and baked brown in the oven or under a salamander; served in the dish in which they are baked.
Her recipes don't include spaghetti au gratin, but she does reveal the secrets of serving a good macaroni au gratin, which is possibly moving in the right direction:
Break the macaroni into small pieces, put them into rapidly boiling salted water and boil for about 20 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender. If not required for immediate use, cover the macaroni with cold water to prevent the pieces sticking together. Cover the bottom of a well-buttered baking-dish with white sauce, sprinkle liberally with cheese, and add a layer of macaroni. Repeat these processes; cover the last layer of macaroni thickly with sauce, sprinkle the entire surface lightly with brown breadcrumbs, and add a few small pieces of butter. Bake in a quick oven for about 20 minutes, then serve in the dish in which it is cooked. If preferred, the mixture may be cooked in scallop shells or ramakin cases.
I just dug out Housekeeping In Old Virginia, an 1879 cookbook and "Lifestyles Book" written by 50 Virginia wives "of impeccable lineage," including Mrs. Robert E. Lee. Among the several hundred recipes, there is not a single one for pasta or even noodles, so it seems that pasta arrived among "the best families" here rather late in the game.
The book is filled with charming advice~ the housewife, or housekeeper, should always keep a wet towel on hand. So that when her 20 pounds of cotton dress and underskirts ignite, her assistant can wrap the victim's head in it to avoid drawing fire into the lungs as she stops drops and rolls.
Dr. E.A. Craigshill, of Lynchburg, offers these recipes:
CHILL PILLS. Sulph. of quinine, 2 drachms; arsenic, 1 grain; styrychnine, 1 grain; Prussian Blue, 20 grains; powdered capiscum, one drachm. Mix and make 60 pills. Take one pill three times a day while chill persists.
The combination of arsenic, strychnine and a massive amount of Prussian Blue insures that if you took the entire prescription of 60 pills you would, indeed, be chilled.
PREVENTING SCARLETT FEVER
Six grains belladonna; one drachm cinnamon-water; two drachms white sugar; two drachms alcocol; thirteen drachms pure water. Mix thoroughly, and label BELLLADONNAOISON. Dose, one drop for each year of the child's life, repeated twice daily.
Now, if anyone else here is familiar with the violent hallucinations and psychotic episodes that Belladonna induces when NOT delivered as a poison... it's scary. Kind of like an organic Angel Dust. It's always a bad trip. The thought of giving a ten year old twenty drops of this stuff over the course of a day is downright eerie...
Here is a recipe that is taken directly from The White House Cook Book - an American "comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home", published in 1900 (originally published in 1887). The recipe is called 'Macaroni and Cheese' which, in this case, may appear to be just an Americanized version of 'Spaghetti au gratin':
~ Break half a pound of macaroni into pieces an inch or two long; cook it in boiling water, enough to cover well; put in a good teaspoonful of salt; let it boil about twenty minutes. Drain it well and then put a layer in the bottom of a well-buttered pudding-dish, upon this some grated cheese and small pieces of butter, a bit of salt, then more macaroni, and so on, filling the dish; sprinkle the top layer with a thick layer of cracker crumbs. Pour over the whole a teacupful of cream or milk. Set it in the oven and bake half an hour. It should be nicely browned on top. Serve in the same dish in which it was baked with a clean napkin pinned around it.
I think they just called all pasta 'macaroni', Jim. It also used to mean a fop or dandy in the 18thC, I vaguely remember, as in Yankee Doodle Dandy. I still don't like the sound of a spaghetti bake, even with the added minerals.
I've inherited a 1935 British Pharmacopaeia from my father. In the introduction to it, which is an update from the 1914 version, it lists all the substances which are no longer to be used in OTC medicines and cosmetics - arsenic, belladonna, quinine, strychnine, heroin, digitalis, lead etc. So that's when all the fun went out of life ....
Jason, that recipe is almost exactly the same as Mrs Beaton's (of around 20 years earlier), albeit with the local touches of cracker rather than bread crumbs and loads of cream on top (very American!). I reckon these are very close to what was served on the Titanic.
Mon, Mrs B did distinguish between macaroni and spaghetti but she seemed to think them fairly interchangeable. For your homework prepare a bake tonight, serve it up to the lads and report back. It'll be a nice change from Thai fishcakes.
I know that in Russia, to this day, spaghetti and other types of pasta is called "macaroni," though "pasta' Is becoming a more and more popular term every year, but there's still some opposition, since "pasta" means "paste" in Russian.