Food Tradition

Italian American Comfort Food: Pastina

It is amazing how a certain taste or smell can bring you back to another time. One minute you are at your desk working and the next minute, you could be 10 years old in your grandmother’s kitchen – all based on a familiar smell.

For love of pastina

We all grew up with certain foods that have special memories. Beyond Sunday macaroni. Beyond the more “fancy” meals we may remember. I’m talking about comfort food. And for many of us, the ultimate comfort food is pastina.

homemade pastina
Nothing like homemade pastina.

A simple dish that sparks memories of being a child home sick from school and your grandma or nonna would prepare a warm bowl of the simple goodness for you. It almost made it worthwhile you were home sick. You want to see a grown man melt? Ask him about his grandma making him pastina when he was a boy.

As usual, there was no recipe. After all, it only required chicken broth, pastina, grated cheese, and an egg. It is one of the recipes you just kind of knew.

Well, last week when my husband and I were both down with COVID, so I decided to make some. Again, it was those It certainly wasn’t as good as when grandma made it, but that familiar taste and smell, well, it was definitely worth it.

So while it is still winter, treat yourself one cold afternoon or evening and make yourself a real treat.


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups pastina
  • 1 egg
  • Pecorino romano


  • Bring chicken broth to a boil.
  • Add pastina and stir regularly; bring back to a boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Lightly beat the egg and gently mix the egg into the pastina and chicken broth.
  • Add pecorino romano.
  • You can add salt and pepper to taste, if you would like, but I generally don’t. The grated cheese has enough salt.
  • Mangia!

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