Macaroni is a variety of moderately extended machine-made dry noodle. Much shorter than spaghetti (but not necessarily), and hollow, macaroni does not contain eggs. Though home machines exist that can make macaroni noodles, macaroni is usually made commercially by large scale extrusion.
Macaroni is a borrowing of the Italian maccheroni (plural of maccherone, and maccherono, meaning "stained"). Its etymology is debatable. Some think it comes from Italian ammaccare, "to bruise or crush" (referring to the crushing of the wheat to make the noodles), which comes, in turn, from Latin macerare, meaning 1) to soak in liquid, to soften, or 2) to torment, to mortify, to distress (the term also giving us the English macerate), while for others it might be the Arabs who invented macaroni in the Middle Ages. However the academic consensus supports that the word comes from Greek μακαρία (makaria), a kind of barley broth which was served to commemorate the dead.
In English-speaking countries, the name macaroni is customarily given to a specific shape of noodles (i.e. small noodle tubes cut into short pieces). In the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, this pasta is often prepared by cooking it with a sauce made from Cheddar cheese; the resulting dish is called macaroni and cheese or Macaroni Cheese. Macaroni is also used in a milk pudding, similar to other milk puddings such as rice pudding, called macaroni pudding.
Macaroni is also popular among children for homemade arts and crafts projects.
In Hong Kong, the local Chinese have adopted macaroni as an ingredient in the Hong Kong-style Western cuisine. In the territory's Cha chaan tengs, macaroni is cooked in water and then washed of starch, and served in clear broth with ham or frankfurter sausages, peas, black mushrooms, and optionally eggs, reminiscent of noodle soup dishes. This is often a course for breakfast or light lunch fare.
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