Sunday Pasta®: Pastina

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Sunday Pasta Pastina 640

Woe is me.  I was under the weather last week, to say the least.  In between the misery and the self pity (and the gallows humor), I saw my life flash before my eyes. It wasn’t as ugly as that of Ebenezer, but it sure wasn’t that pretty either.  A common comforting thread, however, was pasta.

My mind harkened back to pastina, which comes in any number of shapes, but is always tiny.  A favorite of the very young and very old and the ill, I often ate it when I was sick as a kid. We also always ate it when visiting our Great Aunt Jennie, who invariably served it as a snack just before chasing us around with a wooden spoon.

Pastina can be served as simply as with a pat of butter, or it can be spruced up with some Parmigiano cheese and a dash of pepper, or it can be cooked in vegetable or chicken broth and served in same. It’s as basic as it gets, but reliably gets the job done every time, no matter how and when it is served up during the cycle of life.

Buon Appetito!
Ed Garrubbo

Sunday Pasta®: Pastina

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Sunday Pasta<sup>®</sup>: Pastina


2 cups pastina (acini di pepe or stelline)
1/4 cup butter
Salt to taste
Parmigiano cheese (optional)
4 cups chicken broth (optional)
Black pepper (optional)


Bring a large sauce pan of salted water to a boil. Add the pastina and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, retaining some of the cooking water. Serve the pastina in a soup bowl, and add as much cooking water as desired, and a pat of butter. Salt, pepper, and cheese are optional.

Edwin Garrubbo

Edwin Garrubbo

Ed Garrubbo has been studying, cooking, searching for, and thinking about la cucina italiana for as long as he can remember. He cooks a wide range of Italian dishes, but loves his pasta most. He visits restaurants, cooking schools, markets, and food artisans across Italy, and wherever Italians practice their craft. He is a member of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, and is a citizen of both the United States and Italy.

3 Responses to Sunday Pasta®: Pastina

  1. Pastina, just as you describe it, surely is the ultimate comfort food. Merely contemplating it seems to bring soothing to both body and mind. Actually having it fulfills all hopes. Is it because this was what our mothers made when we could keep little else down? When we were sick? To this day, it is my go-to solution for a dish that will never disappoint.
    Grazie Edwin. I hope you feel worlds better.

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  2. Aunt Linda says:

    Edwin, This brought a huge smile to my face and many happy memories. Yes, I too was chased around the table with the wooden spoon and enjoyed many bowls of Pastina with Aunt Jennie. It is still one of the lAZARO favorites. Thanks for the recipe and the memories. Aunt Linda

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