Monday, October 3, 2011

Mister Mamma

This might go a lot more smoothly if you closed your eyes and thought about your mother in her most motherly of aprons, not me. We are, after all, discussing one of the top comfort foods of all time: pastina.

To refer to this as a recipe would be an extreme overstatement. The only three ingredients here are pastina, cheese and butter. If you can boil water then you are pretty much good to go.

Parents have been serving bowls full of pastina to their kids for generations. Just look at the stuff, would you: the tiny star-shaped pasta has got bambini written all over it! 

But I don't have any kids, see, and still, there is always pastina in the house.

Why? Because it is good for what ails you, that's why. I guarantee you that a bowl of pastina with butter and grated cheese (Romano is best, I think) will make you feel better the next time you are feeling under the weather or simply kinda blue.

It helps if the weather is on the cool and rainy side, and if you are curled up on the sofa underneath a blankie.

I say this because it was under just these conditions that I prepared this magical dish for a not-altogether-well associate of my own just days ago. No sooner had I cleared away the empty bowl off of the coffee table that the mood in the house improved.

And I didn't even have to put on an apron.


Anonymous said...

good with chicken broth as well

Anonymous said...

Never undersestimate simple recepie.Always remember when I asked Pia who si Italian and very well know chef in our capital...what is the best italian pasta dish she said
Spaghetti with butter..fresh parsley and grated parmesan.
At first I thought she must have realy low opinion of my cooking abilities..but when I tried..heaven:))

Proud Italian Cook said...

I make it for myself, I made it for my kids, now my granddaughters love it, total comfort food with great memories always!

Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Agreed: no home must ever be without pastina! It is still what I want (NEED!) when I have a cold and feel sorry for myself, and alas, I've passed this on to my children. In broth when you're sick, with butter and Parmesan when in need of comfort, and every now and then (and this was one of the foods my children had when they were babies) with sour cream and nutmeg.

Stelline, risoni, filini, ditalini, munizioni, alphabetti… if I'm ever in a shop that stocks a good variety of pasta, I always end up buying at least 10 packets.

Fred said...

My family's version of pastina as a comfort food: scramble an egg and add it into the hot cooked pasta. Yum. This dish remains just the ticket when the BW is feeling low or peaked.

Claudia said...

Nothing comforts like pastina. Not even Mama in an apron. Pastina is sadly lacking in MN so we have it mailed to us from NYC! Pastina: cheaper than therapy.

Anonymous said...

Another one here that ate this as a kid growing up. When we were ill and the smell of the cheese was too strong for us, she should crack and egg into the hot pastina and butter. The heat of the hot macaroni cooked the egg. I guess it was extra fortifying! I made it for my kids and now they will make it for theirs. The still love it. I was so tickled to hear you say it is best on a cooler day. When we got done playing outside in the winter, Mom would make a batch and some hot chocolate to warm us. We would sit around the the table wrapped in blankets and laughing about who got hit with more snowballs!

Awesome post! Thank you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

when I'm under the weather, pastina cooked in chicken broth and smothered in parmigiano is like a hug from my mom.

Yank's Franks said...

I'm not feeling that well. Do you deliver?
I love Pastina!

Gin said...

As a non-Italian all I got was crackers with hot milk and butter.

lindaj said...

There's another version just as good for making happy hearts: cook the pastina and stir in generously cream cheese. Great baby food, and makes Mamma plump! Can be gussied up with all kinds of goodies, but just terrific plain creamcheese, or the butter & parmesan way. I thought eating pastina was MY secret addiction, so glad you all are out there.

millie said...

Pastina was one of the first solid foods I fed my kids. Now its for the grandkids when they come to Nana's house.