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  • Wednesday’s Pasta – Shell Pie

    Background
    Macaroni and cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, or macaroni pie was created to be a casserole, similar to the British dish cauliflower cheese. The main ingredients of macaroni and cheese are cooked macaroni and a cheese sauce, usually made from cheddar cheese. The cheese sauce is generally a form of Mornay sauce with added cheese.

    There is a similar traditional dish in Switzerland, called Älplermagronen, which is made of macaroni, cream, cheese, roasted onions, and potatoes. In the Canton of Uri the potatoes are traditionally omitted, and in some regions bacon or ham is added.

    Extra ingredients, like ground beef, ketchup, jalape├▒os, sliced hot dogs, ham, bacon, tuna, tomatoes, kitchen sinks, and small autos are sometimes added to this dish. While it is favorite of children, and as such has a strong tie to “comfort food” it also, in some forms, (say Fettuccine Alfredo) appeals to more mature palates.

    Macaroni is mentioned in various medieval Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish. However, pasta and cheese casseroles are recorded in cookbooks of the time such as the Liber de Coquina showing that they were a known style of dish. A cheese and pasta casserole known as Makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century. It was made with fresh hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. It was apparently considered an upper class dish even in Italy until around the 18th century.

    Thomas Jefferson, who called all pasta “macaroni”, is known to have had a pasta maker as early as 1793 and to have served a macaroni pie at the White House in 1802. There are also records of his purchasing, or attempting to purchase, imported pasta after his term as president.

    It has been popular in the United Kingdom since the Victorian era.

    In this case I’ll shuffle the box a bit an use medium shells and smooth melting cheeses.

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