Considered by many Americans as the ultimate comfort food, macaroni and cheese is thought to have originated with one of the nation’s Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson. After a trip to Italy, Jefferson brought back a pasta machine, which he tweaked to produce pasta to his liking. His guests dined on his creation, “a pie called macaroni,” according to documents in the Library of Congress.
However, most accounts trace the popular dish’s roots back further—to 13th-century Italy. There, historians discovered a cookbook with a recipe for “de lasanis,” thought to be the first macaroni and cheese.
Whatever its origins, macaroni and cheese is a staple at family dinner tables. In recent years, the dish has made its way to the menus of some of the finest restaurants.
About Ernest Barbella: A longtime food industry executive and entrepreneur, Ernest Barbella supplies food-manufacturing companies that produce pasta products, including macaroni and cheese.