1 package LiptonChicken Noodle Soup with White Meat
(Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup makes a good substitute).
6 Tablespoons Pastina, any rice grain sized pasta will do
4 Cups Water

Bring the water to boil and add the soup mix. This Italian recipe has been handed down and modernized from my mother’s side. Toast pastina in a medium skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add pastina to stock, and return to a simmer. Don't be tempted to add more pastina to the soup. Those little pastina puppies are super absorbent. When you make the soup, they fill out nicely and give the broth some body. Too much you'll make pastina stew, and after that, it’s pastina glue.
Boil for 6-8 minutes. Allow 5 minutes for cooling or if you can't wait add a small ice cube.

For a heartier soup add one package of chopped spinach and top with mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese.
It's healing food! If a neighbor is sick, my inclination is to send over a batch of pastina. Filling, but easy on the stomach. Serve with Vernors ginger ale.

Some history and trivia:

Pastina, pronounced pah-STEE-nah is Italian meaning "tiny dough." Culinarily, this term can refer to any of variety small pasta shapes for example Acini De Pepe and is generally used in soups and for baby foods. It's also a small, star like pasta product made by Ronzini, similar to orzo. good number of anecdotes about the origin of pasta center around who introduced it to Italy, several say it was Marco Polo and mention his account laying claim that he was taught the art in late 13th century China then brought it back to Venice. Others say it was sweet-talked out of a chieftain's kitchen maid by an amorous Roman soldier and stormed into Italy along with Germanic tribes in the 5th century. One expert historian relates:

    Certainly Italy has turned pasta into an art form, but this created food is native to many different cuisines, from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia to Central Europe--and certainly began elsewhere. The Chinese had it by the first century AD--and noodle shops were all the rage by the Sung dynasty (960-1280)...yet one early Chinese writer indicates that common people learned to make noodles from foreigners, which he didn't say. Japan was making pasta squares, then switched to ribbon shapes in the 12th century (see below). Then, too, people in India and the Middle East were making them by 1200.
With the advent of the industrial revolution mass production along with entrepreneurs in Naples, Italy, pastas made by machine were not only big business but also world famous by the 18th century. These hard small-unleavened breads, cooked in boiling water, can be made from any number of different flours, starches, and beans. While the Italians invariably made theirs with durum semolina wheat flour, Asia uses arrowroot, mung beans and rice flour to create vermincelli and cellophane noodles and Germany uses spatzle from wheat flour for their homemade soft noodles.

Did you know that 3000 year old relics discovered in Sicily show that extrusion dies for pasta were being created? By preserving their cereal grains ancient people most likely enjoyed their pastas since they are relatively neutral in flavor and make a perfect companion to carry a myriad of flavors along with an excellent food source for carbohydrates in the diet.


Food Tale: PASTA:

Pasta Solutions:

pastina in Italian is a generic term for any kind of small pasta. There are literally hundreds of types and shapes (after all they are made by extrusion, so it is not difficult to diversify). They usually have cute names, like "stelline", "ruotine" and other things ending in "ine".
In Italian kitchen, pastina (that literally means "small pasta") is always eaten as part of a soup. The simplest way is to throw about 50 grams of pastina per person into boiling beef or chicken broth. It will take about 10 minutes to cook.
Pastina is considered to be easier to digest than regular pasta.

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