Woe is me. I was under the weather last week, to say the least. In between the misery and the self pity (and the gallows humor), I saw my life flash before my eyes. It wasn’t as ugly as that of Ebenezer, but it sure wasn’t that pretty either. A common comforting thread, however, was pasta.
My mind harkened back to pastina, which comes in any number of shapes, but is always tiny. A favorite of the very young and very old and the ill, I often ate it when I was sick as a kid. We also always ate it when visiting our Great Aunt Jennie, who invariably served it as a snack just before chasing us around with a wooden spoon.
Pastina can be served as simply as with a pat of butter, or it can be spruced up with some Parmigiano cheese and a dash of pepper, or it can be cooked in vegetable or chicken broth and served in same. It’s as basic as it gets, but reliably gets the job done every time, no matter how and when it is served up during the cycle of life.
Bring a large sauce pan of salted water to a boil. Add the pastina and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, retaining some of the cooking water. Serve the pastina in a soup bowl, and add as much cooking water as desired, and a pat of butter. Salt, pepper, and cheese are optional.