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This TikTok Pastina recipe is going viral because it is pure comfort food. It is creamy, buttery, cheesy and so easy to make.
Also know as the "Italian Penicillin", this recipe is what Italian grandmothers make when someone is sick.
This pasta is cooked in delicious chicken broth and it is said to make you feel better when you are under the weather.
What is Pastina
The word Pastina translates to "tiny pasta". It comes in lots of different shapes such as the Steline (little stars) or acini di Peppe (little peppercorns).
Pastina is the term referring to pasta the is smaller than 1-2mm in diameter.
This tiny pasta shapes are commonly used in beloved Italian soups like the famous Italian Wedding Soup.
These pastinas are very versatile and can be used in cold pasta salads, soups and it can replace ingredients like barley or couscous.
When I visited Italy and tried this pastina, it totally reminded me of a creamy Mac and cheese!
Why you will love this recipe
This recipe is pure nostalgia for people who grew up in an Italian household.
This pastina recipe is a childhood favorite of many as this pasta is one of the first solid foods for babies.
This recipe is like a warm hug. It is creamy, cheesy and buttery. It is easy to make and comes together quickly.
Ingredients for Pastina
For this recipe you only need 5 ingredients. Most of the ingredients are pantry and household staples.
- Pastina: It comes in several shapes and names. The most commonly used are Steline (tiny stars) and Acini di Peppe (Tiny peppercorns). If you can't find those, Orzo is a good substitute but cooking time will vary.
- Chicken broth: The base of this pastina is chicken broth, it gives it nice flavor and saltiness and if you happen to be under the weather, it will help you feel better.
- Parmesan cheese: I always grate my own parmesan cheese for the best flavor and texture.
- Egg: The lightly beaten egg is going to give this pastina its creamy texture.
- Butter: A pat of butter added to the pastina is known in Italian as "mantecare" or to add fat. This will make your pastina silky and creamy without any cream!
- Pepper: This is optional but it amplifies the parmesan flavor and rounds up the dish really nicely.
Step by step instructions.
This tiny pasta shapes cook really quickly. The secret to a perfect pastina is all in the ratio of liquid to pasta and the egg technique I will explain below.
Cook the pastina al dente
In a medium sauce pan, add the chicken broth and the pasta. I love to use this enameled sauce pan because it prevents the tiny pasta from sticking to the bottom.
If you don't have an enameled sauce pan, be sure to keep stirring the pastina with a wooden spoon.
Beat the egg and parmesan
In a medium bowl lightly beat the egg and the grated Parmesan cheese.
Make sure to use a fine microplane as this will prevent the cheese from clumping in the pasta.
Add the egg to the pastina
When the pastina is cooked al dente, remove from the heat. Add the egg mixture while whisking vigorously to avoid the egg from "cooking".
The pasta will still be hot and this will make the egg safe to eat.
Add a pat of butter to the pasta
Adding butter at the end of the cooking process is called "mantecare" or to add fat. It makes the pasta silky and creamy without having to use cream.
Serve and enjoy
To serve the pasta, add more shaved parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of pepper.
What to serve with Pastina
This Pastina can be served on its own! Adding the egg and parmesan cheese packs plenty of protein into this pasta dish.
If you want to add a side of roasted broccoli, peas or cooked spinach you will have a complete balanced meal.
Storage, reheating and freezing instructions
If you have any leftover pastina, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
The best way to reheat this pastina is over the stove top. Since this pasta has egg the best way to avoid the egg curdling in the pasta is to use low heat.
To reheat the pastina, add a splash of water or more chicken broth and cook over low heat until heated thru.
This tiny pastas can be found at most super markets. Target sells this star shape pasta.
If you are unable to find tiny pasta at your local super market, an Italian grocer is your best bet. Most Italian delis carry a selection of imported pastas and I've always found acini di Peppe in stock.
Although orzo is a small pasta is not considered a "pastina" per se. However you could use orzo in this recipe, just note that the broth to pasta ratio is different. If using orzo, cook according to package instructions.
TikTok Pastina Recipe
- ½ cup Acini di peppe Or any tiny pasta shape.
- 1 ½ cups Chicken broth
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- Pepper to taste Optional
- In a sauce pan add the chicken broth and the pasta.½ cup Acini di peppe, 1 ½ cups Chicken broth
- Cook the pasta over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and pasta is al dente.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg and parmesan cheese until you get an uniform paste.⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Egg
- Remove the pasta from the heat and use a whisk to stir the pasta as you add the egg mixture.
- Add the butter and keep stirring until it has dissolved.1 tablespoon Butter
- Sprinkle more parmesan cheese and pepper. Serve and enjoy.Pepper to taste