Ok, so this is so simple it borders on not really being a recipe at all. Except that there are so many people out there who have never heard of this that it necessitates sharing.
Pastina. It’s a tiny little star shaped pasta. And when I say tiny I mean it’s tiny. Like it might take three or four of them to match the size of a grain of rice. Maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe not. Go buy a box and test it out for yourself. Here’s the kicker… it’s not hard to find in most every mega-mart I’ve ever been in. Go down the dried pasta isle and you can find a box of Ronzoni pastina, really it’s that easy. Pastina has been rumored to be the first solid food many kids of Italian descent get fed. And it’s the best comfort food I can imagine.
It expands in the water (or broth, which I prefer) until it consumes all of the liquid and becomes a pasta with a consistency akin to cream of wheat. But have I mentioned that it’s PASTA? With all the carbo-loading, fat thigh making, soul satisfying, emotional wound salving potential that goes along with it. But most importantly, when I’m sick with a cold, or some such trivial yet appetite destroying illness, it’s the only thing I want to eat. And my kids love it then too. Been to the dentist today? How about some pastina? It’s cold and rainy (or snowy) outside today? How about some pastina? Have snot dripping out your nose for the third day in a row? How about some pastina? Sorry about that, but this was the impetus for the most recent batch so, it’s REAL people!
2 cups water or preferred broth/bullion/stock
1 cup dried pastina
Bring the cooking liquid to a boil on the stove. Once it boils pour in the pastina and stir. Allow the mixture to boil until the pastina has absorbed most of the liquid but is not clumpy. Pour into a bowl and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.
* If you want to add a little protein to it dish you can add in 1 egg. When the pastina is just about ready to come off the heat crack one large egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork. Slowly add the beaten egg into the pastina and stir vigorously so it doesn’t clump. Then immediately remove the pastina from the heat and serve.
Oh, yeah, and this is what my kids’ bowls look like after they’re finished eating.