A labor of love that is well worth the effort
Submitted by Chiara, an Italian American in New York City, I learned that pastina is a pasta dish like no other. The name translates from Italian to English as “little pasta.”
To make it, Chiara says that you use a special type of pasta called “stelline,” which are little tiny star-shapes that kids love. In order to make pastina, Chiara recommends simply cooking the stelline in lightly salted boiling water before draining it. Then, she says to add some butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Chiara says that this dish is usually made for very young kids who are just learning how to feed themselves. The pieces of pasta are very tiny, so they are very easy for clumsy toddlers who are just learning how to hold a spoon to eat.
Chiara’s eldest daughter is now four and a half, often ate pastina when she was a baby, cooked for her by her great grandmother.
According to Chiara, this dish is a great way to introduce picky kids to Italian food because it has two of the most famous Italian ingredients in it: pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano, and as we know, many kids love pasta and cheese.
I had never had thise before making it on the show and sure enough this was simple and comforting. This dish is interesting partly because the pasta doesn’t look like pasta due to the tiny size of the individual pieces. The Parmigiano Reggiano in this dish is what really gives it a fun twist. The nutty, complex flavor present in the cheese takes pastina above just plain buttered noodles. I think this dish would be perfect for a kid who likes buttered noodles and wants to try something a little different.
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