In a world marked by the fast pace of life, intricate culinary techniques, and an ever-expanding array of ingredients, there's something profoundly soothing about a bowl of pastina that whispers of warmth and comfort.
As a staple in many Italian households, pastina carries nostalgia and is a testament to the fact that culinary greatness need not always be complex or extravagant and that the simplest dishes can leave the most lasting impressions.
While pastina's essence lies in its simplicity, its versatility allows for creative interpretations.
From variations with different broths like vegetable, chicken, or beef, to the addition of grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, or even a swirl of pesto, pastina adapts to suit various tastes and preferences.
So, don your aprons and get ready to make the simplest, creamiest pastina – a dish that embodies the essence of comfort and the allure of tradition.
- 1 cup pastina
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
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- In a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a gentle simmer. Season it with a pinch of salt.
- Add the pastina to the simmering broth and cook according to the package instructions or until al dente.
- In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent and slightly golden.
- Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Once the pastina is cooked, transfer it from the broth to the skillet with the sautéed onion and garlic.
- Pour in the heavy cream, stirring gently to combine all the ingredients.
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish chopped fresh parsley and serve hot.
Can I make pastina ahead of time?
Pastina is best enjoyed fresh, as reheating it might cause the sauce to separate or the pasta to become mushy. If you need to make it ahead, cook the pasta and prepare the sauce separately, then combine them just before serving.
Can I use milk instead of heavy cream?
Yes, you can use milk instead of heavy cream for a lighter version of creamy pastina. However, the resulting sauce might be thinner and less rich. You can also consider using half-and-half for a balance between milk and heavy cream.
Can I add vegetables or protein to the dish?
Absolutely! You can customize your creamy pastina by adding cooked vegetables like carrots, spinach, or mushrooms. You can also incorporate protein sources like cooked chicken, shrimp, or crumbled sausage to make the dish heartier.
Can I use different types of cheese?
While Parmesan cheese is the traditional choice for this dish, you can experiment with other hard, aged cheeses with similar flavors, like Pecorino Romano. However, the cheese should have a good melting quality and a bold flavor that complements the dish.