Macaroni, photo by Sherool. In Italy those depicted here are not called maccheroni, but are a variety of pasta called “pipette” (little pipes) or “lumache” (snails).
No Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Brown Stock and Anchovy Sauce
Pasta Asciutta means ‘dry pasta’, it is the pasta that is served without sauce, or with very little tomato sauce. The Italians serve the spaghetti or macaroni at the beginning of the meal, in place of soup, and they give it the name of Minestra Asciutta or “dry” soup. Besides the familiar spaghetti, the paste is served in many other forms and with different seasoning. This is by far the most popular Italian dish, and it seems to have pleased the taste of all the peoples of the earth. The highly nutritive qualities of spaghetti and of cheese, their indispensable condiment, have been recognized by all diet authorities and, as for its palatableness, the lovers of spaghetti are just as enthusiastic and numerous outside of Italy as within the boundaries of that blessed country.
The most popular seasoning for spaghetti, are tomato sauce, brown stock and anchovy sauce. The
description of these three condiments follows:
12 TOMATO SAUCE (Salsa di Pomidoro)
Chop together, fine, one quarter of an onion, a clove of garlic, a piece of celery as long as your finger, a few bay leaves and just enough parsley. Season with a little oil, salt and pepper, cut up seven or eight tomatoes and put everything over the fire together. Stir it from time to time and when you see the juice condensing into a thin custard strain through a sieve, and it is ready for use. When fresh tomatoes are not available the tomato paste may be used. This is a concentrated paste made from tomatoes and spices which is to be had, at all Italian grocers’, now so numerous in all American cities.
Thinned with water, it is a much used ingredient in Italian recipes. Catsup and concentrated tomato soup do not make satisfactory substitutes as they are too sweet in flavor. Of course canned tomatoes seasoned with salt and a bit of bay leaf, can always be used instead of fresh tomatoes.
This sauce serves many purposes. It is good on boiled meat; excellent to dress macaroni, spaghetti or other pastes which have been seasoned with butter and cheese, or on boiled rice seasoned in the same way (see Risotto). Mushrooms are a fine addition to it.
When using concentrated paste the following recipes will be found to give good results:
Chop one onion, one carrot and a celery stalk: form a little bunch of parsley and other aromatic greens and put everything to brown in a saucepan together with a piece of butter. Add a reasonable portion of tomato paste while cooking, stir and keep on a low fire until the sauce assumes the necessary consistency.
13 BROWN STOCK (Sugo di Carne)
Cover the bottom of a saucepan with thin slices of beef taken from a juicy cut and small pieces of salt pork. Place over a large onion, one carrot, and a stalk of celery, all chopped in small pieces. Add some butter and cover the whole with any trimmings from steaks or roasts and any bit of left over cooked meat. Season with salt and cloves. Put over the fire without stirring. When you smell the onions getting very brown, turn the meat and when everything is quite brown add a cup of water, renewing the latter three times. Finally add acertain quantity of boiling water or, better still, of broth, and let it boil gently five or six hours. Strain, cooland skim off the fat which will form a cake on top of the liquid. The meat can be used afterward for meat balls or Croquettes. The stock may be kept for some days and forms the basis for many dishes.
14 ANCHOVY SAUCE (Salsa d’Acciughe)
This recipe does not call for the filets of anchovies prepared for hors d’oeuvre, but the less expensive and larger whole anchovies in salt to be had in bulk or cans at large dealers. Wash them thoroughly in plenty of water. Remove head, tail, backbone and skin and they are ready for use.
Put five or six anchovies into a colander and dip quickly into boiling water to loosen the skins, remove the salt, skin and bone them. Chop them and put over the fire in a saucepan with a generous quantity of oil and some pepper. Do not let them boil, but when they are hot add two tablespoons of butter and three or four tablespoons of concentrated tomato juice made by cooking down canned tomatoes and rubbing through a sieve. When this sauce is used to season spaghetti, these must be boiled in water that is only slightly salted and care must be taken not to let them become too soft. The quantities above mentioned ought to be sufficient for about one pound of spaghetti.