Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick (Comfort Food) Dish: Pastina

When I have a cold, or a crappy day at work, or pretty much any kind of bad experience that justifies some serious comfort food consumption, most often I find myself looking to my Italian roots for inspiration. And while most creations in the comfort genre require a considerable amount of time to prepare - think pot roasts, homemade spaghetti and meatballs, chocolate cake - my favorite is also one of the quickest, and classic Italian comfort food at its very best.

My grandma calls this dish pastina - literally little pasta. (Technically, that's the name of the tiny pasta used, not the milk/pasta/butter mixture she created, but hey, who's going to question Grandma?) She made it for my mom whenever she was sick, and Mom always used it as an antidote for pitiful children, whether they were the result of illness, lost soccer games or mean boys. So when I sit down with a warm bowl of pastina, I don't know which I owe it to more - the soothing starch or my childhood memories of these two wonderful women - but either way, I can't help but feel very comforted.

Note: While both ladies always used pastina/acini de pepe, these particular types of pasta can be hard to find. Orzo (pictured above) works just as well.

To make pastina: Fill a saucepan with water, salt liberally, and bring to boil. Add a cup of pastina (or orzo). Cook until al dente. Drain the water from the pan and add 2 cups of milk. Heat through, add 2 tablespoons of butter and mix to melt. Serve warm, adding more salt if desired.


BS said...

mmm...sounds delish...any pics of the final product?

Lisa said...

um, since I ate it straight out of the pan, let's call this pic the final product :)

Tony August said...

You brought back a good memory for me - and it was this basic recipe that was all that was needed - thank you

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