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By definition, pastina means tiny dried pasta, and Acine di Pepe is the pastina my mom always made for us – in the form of (two) quick soup-like pastas for a simple lunch or snack. As a comfort food, it’s great when off your game…like under the weather, down and out, or on the mend. Pastina always has a way of filling many a need any time of year. Both of these (pasta/soups) cook up in a matter of minutes. The first one (pastina in tomato sauce, above) incorporates Tomato Basil Sauce (or Marinara, leftover Meat Sauce, or whatever), with a snowfall of Pecorino-Romano cheese on top. The second (pastina with egg and cheese, below) has scrambled egg and Pecorino-Romano stirred into the cooked pastina, much the same way as egg drop soup.

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Ingredients for both versions: 1. Acini di Pepe, salt and pepper and tomato sauce. 2. Acine di Pepe, salt and pepper, eggs and Pecorino -Romano cheese. I don’t recommend substituting with Parmesan. The reason I say this, is because it doesn’t have the intense complimentary depth that Pecorino-Romano does, which is needed here (for best results).

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 Pastina In Tomato Sauce

Tiny dot shaped pasta (pastina) is precooked, and then mixed with a delicious tomato sauce and garnished with grated Pecorino-Romano cheese. It’s quick cooking and has a smooth texture that serves as anytime comfort food.

Makes 2 to 3 servings

1  cup (7-ounces) Acini di Pepe dried pasta

2  teaspoons kosher salt

2 1/2  cups Tomato Basil or other delicious tomato sauce

1/2  cup fresh, finely grated Pecorino-Romano for garnish

 

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 5 to 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and pastina. Cook over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).

Meanwhile, warm the sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Drain the pastina, transfer back to the saucepan, and stir in the warmed sauce. Heat thoroughly, over low heat. Serve in bowls and garnish with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Pastina With Egg and Romano (Stracciatella)

Stracciatella means little shreds, like an Italian egg drop soup with Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese. In my family, we call it “pastina with the egg and cheese” and we make it extra thick. It’s quick and easy to make and is especially satisfying during winter months, or when you’re just plain under the weather.

 Makes 2 to 3 servings

 1  cup (7-ounces) Acini di Pepe dried pasta

2  teaspoons kosher salt

2  eggs

1/2  cup fresh, finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 5 to 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and pastina. Cook over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pastina, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the hot liquid. Transfer the pastina back to the saucepan and add 1/2 cup of the hot liquid. Reheat the mixture over low heat.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs and cheese until blended. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pastina, and stir with a fork to create shreds. For a more soup-like consistency, add more of the reserved liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

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2 Responses to Pastina…Italian comfort food

  1. Linda Capodieci Jones says:

    Yum, I remember it well!

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