This classic Italian Pastina recipe is the perfect comfort food but also a the ideal dish for your kids when you are just out of ideas.
What Is Pastina?
Pastina is a classic Italian dish that has now spread almost around the whole globe. The word is used to describe a very small pasta which doesn't necessarily need to be a certain shape.
Small pasta shapes like little star pasta, alphabet pasta, star-shaped pasta, orzo pasta or tiny noodle will all do the trick when you are making your tiny little pasta recipe.
How To Use Pastina?
Being the tiny pasta shape that it is, it can be used in a whole variety of dishes.
You can cook it in homemade chicken broth or vegetable broth and serve as chicken soup or you can cook it in water, add some black pepper and parmesan cheese and make yourself the ultimate comfort food for a cold night in.
And that is how the Italians actually do make it in most cases.
How To Cook Pastina
Luckily, it is cooked like any other regular pasta. You can cook it in boiled water to which you've added some additional salt, or you can even cook it in some delicious soups.
Once you've cooked it, you can either top it with some sauces, or just add some parmigiano reggiano, fresh herbs and serve it as the ultimate comfort food for anyone.
Italian Pastina Recipe Ingredients
One of the most common ways to make this recipe, is with classic dairy ingredients such as milk, butter and cheese. Italian's love their cheese and dairy so adding those into their pastina is one of their favorite meals.
To make this tender pastina pasta, you will need the following ingredients:
- pastina: even though the most common kind is in the shape of tiny starts, you can use any tiny pasta that you want/find.
- milk: to really make this a creamy and tender dish, I recommend you do use dairy milk. In case you have any nutritional restrictions to it, plant-based milk will also do.
- butter: similarly, to milk, dairy butter would be the best choice here because it would add to the creamy texture of the dish. In case you cannot eat dairy butter then you can exchange it for a vegan version or even olive oil
- liquid for cooking: if you have some chicken stock or any other stock for that matter, it's preferable to cook the pasta in that. However, plain tap water will also do.
- salt: a pinch of salt is required for cooking the pasta if you will be cooking it in water.
- parmesan cheese: a must-have pasta ingredient for any Italian is parmesan cheese. And not just any kind but the parmigiano Reggiano. So if you can find that one, do use it in this recipe.
How To Make a Classic Pastina Step-by-Step
1. Put the liquid to a boil over medium heat.
2. If using water as the liquid, make sure to add some salt.
3. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the pastina.
4. Cook it according to the instructions on the package. Usually this is until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. In the meantime, heat the milk either in a microwave or on the stove over a medium heat.
6. Once the pastina is cooked, add the milk and butter and stir until you have a creamy texture.
7. Now add the parmesan cheese on top, some fresh herbs and black pepper.
Variations And Tips
Try some of the following variations and tips to mix up this classic Italian pastina recipe:
- make it carbonara: make your own pastina carbonara by adding an egg and some bacon to the cooked pastina and stirring it in while hot
- add a sauce: add a veggie-filled sauce on top of your pasta like this Quick & Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce or Quick Green Pasta Sauce
- make a soup: add 4 times the chicken broth that the recipe requires, and make yourself a chicken pastina soup
Pastina is the tastiest and creamiest when it is eaten as soon as it is cooked. But, if you do have some leftover you can always store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing though because the texture just isn't going to be the same once thawed.
It's best to reheat the pastina either in a microwave or in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add a bit of milk or butter to it before heating it because storage can dry it out.
Yes, you can definitely use another grain such as cous-cous or millet to make this recipe but be aware that the taste might not be the same given that pasta is wheat.
If you've tried this or any other recipe from the blog, please rate it and leave a comment.
A Delicious And Creamy Classic Italian Pastina Recipe
- 1 cup pastina
- 2 cups liquid water or broth
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- pinch salt optional
- pinch pepper optional
- fresh herbs optional
- Put the liquid to a boil over medium heat.
- If using water as the liquid, make sure to add some salt.
- Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the pastina.
- Cook the pastina according to the instructions on the package. Usually this is until all the liquid is absorbed.
- In the meantime, heat the milk either in a microwave or on the stove over a medium heat.
- Once the pastina is cooked, add the milk and butter and stir until you have a creamy texture.
- Now add the parmesan cheese on top, some fresh herbs and black pepper.