Nothing is more emblematic of an Italian childhood than pastina (literally, “little pasta”) with butter and milk. It’s baby’s first solid food, remembered in adulthood with great nostalgia. There are many different varieties of pastina, including anellini (“little rings”), stelline (“little stars”), acini de pepe (“peppercorns”), funghetti (“little mushrooms”), alfabeti (“alphabets”), and orzo (“barley”), to name a few of the most common.–Julia della Croce
LC Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Note
Soooo cute, right? But not so cute that adults can’t sit down to pastina for dinner once in a while alongside the kids–especially after one of those days, when these little stars makes everything better in the twinkling of an eye. So when you wish upon a star, wish hard for Pastina Stars with Butter and Milk. You’ll thank us.
Pastina Stars with Butter and Milk Recipe
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes | Serves 4 children or 2 adults
- 1 cup “little stars” pastina, or other tiny pastina shapes
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup warm milk, plus more if desired
- 1. Bring 3 quarts (12 cups) water to a boil. Stir in the pastina and salt. Cook according to the package directions. Drain, reserving the cooking water, and transfer to a bowl.
- 2. While the pasta is still piping hot, add the butter, burying it in the pasta to melt it. Stir in the warm milk. If a looser texture is desired, add a little more warm milk. Serve at once to prevent the pastina from drying out and clumping. For best results, stir in a little of the reserved cooking water as needed to keep the pasta moist.
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Pastina Stars with Butter and Milk Recipe © 2010 Julia della Croce. Photo © 2010 Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved.