Saturday, January 22, 2022

Pasta History of Brooklyn New York - Macaroni



Macaroni / Pasta in Various forms was sold loosely from Bins.


A. Zerega's Sons, Inc. was a privately owned pasta company with plants in Fair Lawn, New Jersey and Lee's Summit, Missouri. The company was founded by Antoine Zerega in Brooklyn, New York in 1848 making it the first pasta company in the United States. Antoine's son Frank was a pasta maker for 83 years and served as the company's president. Both Zerega Avenue in the Bronx and the elevated train station on the New York City Subway's Pelham Line were named after Antoine. The company moved from Brooklyn at 28 Front Street to Fair Lawn in 1952.

In May 2020 it was announced that Zerega's was sold to fifth-generation family-owned Philadelphia Macaroni.

Antoine Zerega

Inside the Factory of DeFRANCISCI & Son


Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn

Pasta Machine Manufacturing




Founded 1914

Kent Avenue, BROOKLYN


V. La Rosa and Sons Macaroni Company was founded in 1914 by Vincenzo La Rosa, a Sicilian immigrant. The company eventually became one of the largest regional brands in the United States producing over 40 varieties of pasta.

Starting in the United States as a butcher, Vincenzo noticed an increased demand for macaroni during World War I, so he started making it in the back of his shop in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The company opened a pasta factory at 473 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn using an extruder made by the DeFrancisci & Son, now called DEMACO. As the company grew, additional plants were added at 40 Jacksonville Road, Warminster, Pennsylvania and 90 Wauregan Road, Danielson, Connecticut.

Vincenzo La Rosa was considered an innovator in the development of the packaged foods industry in the United States as he was an early pioneer in food packaging and distribution. Prior to V. La Rosa, pasta was distributed in bulk throughout the neighborhoods of New York. V. La Rosa introduced packaged pasta into these markets.

American Italian Pasta Company eventually acquired the La Rosa brand.


The BROOKLYN EAGLE,  Wednesday November 10, 1943

ITALIANS Have Excuses For Drying Pasta in Public

Many soldiers of The United States are getting to see more macaroni and Spaghetti than they ever saw before. I am thinking of men who are going to Italy to drive out the Germans. Italy is the original home of macaroni and is a National Dish among Italians.

So far as the Wheat supply has held out, it has been made all through the present War. The Italians have been on short rations, but macaroni has kept an important place on their tables, also Spaghetti and Vermicelli (Cappellino). A special kind of Wheat is used to make macaroni. This wheat has more gluten in it than other wheat, and it's grown in Southern Europe and Algeria.

In Italy, Macaroni (Maccheroni) making machines push the pasta dough into tubes. An old tradition in Naples and other cities is have the macaroni hang on rods to dry in pasta shops and even out on the sidewalks.

Spaghetti is more popular with many Italians than other maccheroni. The Italian word spaghetti means little cords.

Vermicelli ( Angelhair, Cappellini) is the thinnest macaroni.

Uncle Ray ... The Brookyn Eagle

Pasta Drying in the Streets of Naples




"Ronzoni Sono Buoni," if you are Italian and grew up in the New York area in the great decades of the 1960's and or 70s you know the slogan. We Italians do love our pasta, we're weened on it! Pasta is the main staple of our diet. Many are fanatical about and love it so, they insist on having it several times a week. I'm one. Pasta, can be covered in a wide variety of sauces,  in some soups like; Pasta Fagoli (Pasta Fazool), in Minestrone's, with Pasta and Peas, and Pasta con Ceci (Chick Peas). Yes, we are weened on it. Mommy gave me, my bothers and sister Pastina coated in a bit of butter and Parmigiano when we were just toddlers  and every so often I have to pick up a box of Ronzoni Pastina, as I love and crave it still, and of late as with many my age, you start craving things you loved as a child, thus my stints with PASTINA ."Ronzoni Sono Buoni," it means, Ronzoni is So Good, and that it is. This brand of  Pasta, born in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century has been a mainstay of not only Italian-Americans of the East Coast but, for all. For years before the surge of many a imported pasta product in the U.S., Ronzoni, was not the only game in town for Macaroni, there was the Prince and Creamette, as well, but Ronzoni dominated the market and though I don't have stats, I would wage to say that 85 to 90 % of all commercial pasta sold in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas was Ronzoni, the pasta in the bright blue boxes, Ronzoni Sono Buoni. God I wonder how many plates and bowls of Spaghetti, Ziti and other Ronzoni pastas I ate over the years, starting with Pastina as a toddler  and moving to Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce or Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Stuffed Shells and more. Oh “Stuffed Shells,” they bring back memories of my mother who loved them. We had them often, along with Lasagna made with Ronzoni Lasagana. You don't see Stuffed Shells around that much any more, they used to be on many a restaurant and even more home menus. There popularity has waned, but every once and a while I'll pick up a box of Ronzoni large shells, just for the purpose of bringing back those memories of mom making them and me loving them as  a child. I'll make a batch of tomato sauce, cook the Ronzoni Shells, and stuff them with ricotta and Parmigiano, bake them in tomato sauce, and "Voila" Stuffed Shells of days gone by. I do the same with a Pastina as I still love the dish so, dressed with butter and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, “makes me feel like a kid again!” Yum, delicious little pleasure you can whip up in minutes and bring back visions of your youth. All with some butter, Parmigiano and a box of Ronzoni Pastina. That's Ronzoni, every bit a part of my life and youth as a spring ol Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, The Three Stooges, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and all the favorites of my youth, Ronzon Sono Buoni, “Ronzoni it's so good!”

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And More ...



Zerega Pasta Factory

Fairlawn, New Jersey

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