Monday, February 9, 2009

Ingredient of the Day: Macaroni

My grandmother-in-law is everything you could possibly want in an Italian grandmother. She’s 4’11’’, grabs your cheeks like it was her job (with great big kisses to follow), always has meatballs ready for a snack and, of course, wants everyone to call her “Ma.”

It is Ma’s opinion that pasta should never be called pasta. To her, pasta is macaroni, and macaroni is an essential ingredient in most of her daily menus. There is simple nothing like going home to Ma’s house and having a bowl of macaroni and gravy (that’s Italian slang for tomato sauce!).

Macaroni is shaped like an elbow. It is used in all types of dishes and is packaged mostly dried. In fact, I have never seen fresh macaroni available in stores. Macaroni and cheese is an American favorite, but it can be used in other dishes as well.

These days, you can find macaroni wheat and gluten free. Ma probably wouldn’t serve it that way, but it’s a great option for people with specific health concerns, or for those just looking to add more fiber to their diet.