Last modified on January 5th, 2018 at 12:33 PM

Pastina – An Old Family Classic

Pastina is an old family classic that will become a favorite in your household too! It’s an Italian-American classic comfort food that makes a perfect side dish, lunch for the kiddos, or even a lighter full meal!

Close-up of finished pastina in a stainless steel pan.

Pastina is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s a little different than the traditional comfort foods you normally think of – not quite as decadent {keeping with tradioinal Italian style 🙂 }as homemade macaroni and cheese but still creamy and amazing.

I’ve been making it non-stop this winter since it seems like we are always sick. UGH! We can’t seem to catch a break. In a moment of desperation, I took a shot of apple cider vinegar yesterday. Don’t do it – it didn’t help and just made me want to puke. HA!

Make pastina instead!!

As with most Italian recipes, the ingredients are simple – pasta, some cheese, lemon, and an egg. The pasta is sometimes labeled as Pastina or it can be labeled as Acini de Pepe {which actually means grains of pepper or something}, I’ve seen it both ways! It’s just tiny round balls of pasta.

You don’t want to drain this pasta, you want to boil it in just enough chicken stock or water that it cooks through and has just a little extra liquid in the pot when you’re adding all the other ingredients.

And adding the extra ingredients couldn’t be easier, you literally just throw them all into the pot and stir! There are some slices of cheese – really any kind will do, a little salt, and pepper, an egg…

…some parmesan, which is fine to leave out if you don’t have any. Are you seeing how easy this recipe is?

Of course, some fresh parsley…

And I always like to finish mine off with a squeeze of lemon juice. I think it brightens up the whole dish and makes it come together in a delicious way. Then you just give it a stir until it’s all mixed up!

My mom, aunt or grandmother would make this for me and my cousins whenever we were sick. Sometimes it would be how I made it, most often they made it with american cheese, and sometimes it would be more brothy like a soup.

Writing down old family recipes like this always feels like a little bit of a sin – they are supposed to be open-ended and left up to your interpretation! So make this and play around with it – customize it to your taste. 🙂

Pin it to your Side Dish or Pasta board to SAVE it for later! Follow Longbourn Farm on Pinterest for more great tips, ideas, and recipes!

Close-up of finished pastina in a stainless steel pan.

Pastina - An Old Family Classic

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 377 kcal

Pastina is an old family classic that will become a favorite in your household too! It's an Italian classic comfort food that makes a perfect side dish, lunch for the kiddos, or even a lighter full meal! 

Print

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Pastina pasta 1 box, see note
  • 3 cups chicken broth + 1 cup extra, see note
  • 2 slices mozarella cheese any mild cheese will work, see note
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg room temperature is best, see note
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley fresh chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon

Instructions

  1. Measure 3 cups of broth or water into a saucepan. Add the pastina and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. 

  2. You will not be draining the pasta, so check the liquid level frequently and add more as needed.

  3. When the pasta is mostly cooked, there should be a small amount of liquid left in the pan. 

  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, besides the lemon, and stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined. 

  5. There will be streaks of cooked egg white in the pastina, that is normal. 

  6. Squeeze in the juice from half of a lemon, stir, and taste. Adjust seasonings and lemon to your taste. I like a lot of lemon juice. 

Recipe Notes

Pastina is sometimes labeled acini de pepe in the store, both are the same and will work great in this dish. 12 oz is usually the weight measurement on 1 box. 

You will not be draining this pasta, so only add as much water or broth as you need. I like the additional flavor chicken broth adds but you can use water or vegetable broth as well. 

Any cheese you have on hand will probably work in this dish. My mom always used american cheese but I don't usually have that on hand so I throw in a couple slices of whatever is around. If you don't have any parm, just leave it out. 

Since we just crack the egg right into the hot pasta without tempering it (bringing it up to the temperature of the pasta slowly) it will start to cook immediately and leave white streaks of cooked egg white through the pastina. 

 

Nutrition Facts
Pastina - An Old Family Classic
Amount Per Serving
Calories 377 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Sodium 1361mg 57%
Potassium 166mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 64g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 3g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin A 5.1%
Vitamin C 20.1%
Calcium 11%
Iron 19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Pastina is an old family classic that will become a favorite in your household too! It's an Italian classic comfort food that makes a perfect side dish, lunch for the kiddos, or even a lighter full meal! 

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Alli
    January 16, 2018 at 6:13 AM

    Family favorite!

  • Reply
    Ana
    January 7, 2018 at 6:52 PM

    On a whim I decided to try this on my ultra picky 7yr old eater. This was REALLY good. I didn’t add enough liquid so it kind of became a ‘cake’ when slightly cooled but next time I will add more stock to make it a little more creamy. I did half the recipe but this WILL be made again. Just stumbled on your site today and have already pinned a few recipes to try….now I just have to find time to make them all!

    • Reply
      Alli
      January 8, 2018 at 6:55 AM

      I’m so glad you liked it, Ana!! Thank you so much for your kind words – I hope you love all the recipes!

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