Pastina with Butter and Milk

Pastina with butter and milk is an easy Italian comfort food made with star-shaped pasta and pantry staples. Soothing to kids of all ages.

Pot filled with star pasta, melting butter, and a wooden spoon all on a towel

According to the author of this pastina with butter and milk recipe, Julia della Croce, “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. 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 with butter and milk. [Editor’s note: Although truth be told, there are countless shapes of pastina, including anellini (little rings), stelline (little stars), acini de pepe (peppercorns), funghetti (little mushrooms), and alfabeti (alphabets). But we’re partial to these wee stars.] Originally published November 29, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

Pastina with Butter and Milk

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4 children or 2 adults
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Print RecipeBuy the Italian Home Cooking cookbook

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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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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