Pastina

Comfort food from my childhood.

I find that the older I get, the more I look back with fond memories on certain aspects of my childhood. And since eating has always been high on my list of life priorities, it’s no wonder that I think back about food.

Last month, Mike and I went to the New York City area where I grew up to be tourists and spend Thanksgiving with our families. I took the opportunity to buy some of the foods I enjoyed as a kid that simply don’t seem to be available in Arizona.

PastinaOne of these is Pastina. I bought two boxes of Barilla Pastina, which is the only one I could find. (I think we used to buy Ronzoni.) The Barilla Web site, where I found this nice box shot, has a good description:

There are few children in Italy who do not grow up eating Pastina, the classic tiny pasta stars that parents first serve as a child’s introduction to the delicious world of pasta. Here in America, parents choose Barilla Pastina for their young children because it is made from 100% highest quality durum wheat; is enriched with essential nutrients, such as thiamin, iron, riboflavin and niacin; and is easily digested. And grown-ups love the deliciously nutty flavor of Barilla Pastina, too, especially in soups and simple broths.

When they say “tiny,” they’re not kidding. Pastina makes rice look huge.

We ate Pastina for breakfast many times, usually at my grandmother’s house after a sleepover. My mother’s mother was second-generation Italian; her parents had come to New York with the wave of Italian immigrants in the early 1900s. My mother was born in the Bronx and lived in a true Italian neighborhood until she was 8, when my grandparents moved to northern New Jersey. The Italian influence was pretty heavy on that side of my family, although my mother was fully Americanized. Her brother, who was 16 when they made the move, stayed more Italian. He married a second-generation Italian woman who tried hard to keep the family as Italian as possible throughout the subsequent years.

I’m the product of a third generation Italian mother and second generation German father. I don’t consider myself either nationality; I’m American — whatever that really means.

Back to Pastina. When my grandparents made Pastina, they didn’t follow package directions, which called for the usual boiling and straining of the pasta. Instead, they used far less water and let the tiny pasta soak it all up in cooking. Then, before cooking was done, they dropped a raw egg into the pot and stirred the mixture until the egg was cooked. They served it in bowls with butter. I’m not sure if this is how everyone served Pastina to kids, but it’s the way we had it.

My grandparents are gone now, so I couldn’t call them for a recipe. Instead, I sort of winged it. What I came up with works and is very tasty. Here’s the recipe/instructions for one serving:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Pastina
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine Pastina and water in a large, deep bowl.
  2. Cook on high in microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir, add butter.
  4. Return to microwave and cook on high 1 minute.
  5. Stir, break egg into mixture and stir again to scramble and mix it in.
  6. Return to microwave and cook on high 1 minute.
  7. Stir one more time.
  8. Return to microwave and cook on high 1 more minute.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Please keep in mind that my microwave is 21 years old. I think it’s only 700 watts. So you might have to adjust the cooking times shown here.

After about 3 minutes of cooking, the Pastina should have soaked up most of the water and be tender. (Remember, this pasta is really tiny.) The last two minutes are primarily to cook the egg.

I really like this — it’s true comfort food. If you give it a try or have had it in the past, please share your comments about it here. Use the Comments link or form for this post. I’d love to hear from you — especially if you grew up in an Italian household and enjoyed this for breakfast, as I did.

92 thoughts on “Pastina

    • Yes, but I shy away from buying at sources where there isn’t a lot of turnover. I’m not sure if others have noticed this, but if you let any kind of pasta, rice, etc. sit around too long, bugs appear in it. Ick.

      Good Italian delis (or “pork stores”) usually have Pastina.

  1. It would be interesting to see if you can get Pastina there. I couldn’t find it anywhere in Arizona. I think it must be a “traditional” Italian pasta that’s likely sold in places where there’s a large Italian population.

  2. My mother always made me pastina when I was a little girl. She would always cook it and serve it to me with salt, butter, and a little milk. Sometimes my son asks me to make it for him now…..by the way, he’s 22 now, but still my baby.

  3. I have been searching all over the Net for this way to make it. My grandparents & my mother use to make it this way, thanks for sharing, I don’t use a Microwave tho, appreciate you sharing this. Best Wishes for the New Year. Salute!

  4. Oh, heck, I use a microwave for almost everything. But should work the old fashioned way — in a pot on the stove. A lot easier to stir, too. I don’t think it needs a cover.

    • If I wanted to cook it this way on the stove, should I start with the padrona & water in the pot at beginning, or heat water first & then add pasta? Thoughts?

  5. Hi Maria. I made it for my husband & I today for lunch on this very cold & windy NY day it was so good, Even my two dogs loved it. One is picky he wont eat bread or Pastina but with the egg he loved it! thanks again. it hit the spot. Brought back alot of memories for me.

  6. I also had trouble finding it here in AZ. Just ran out (from my NJ purchase in November) and found a place to order online. If you don’t mind buying 15 little boxes of the stuff, try http://www.BuyByTheCase.net

    With shipping, it came to $33 and change. It won’t go bad (at least I don’t think so).

    There’s also a site that specializes in baby food and sells it. Do a google search for Pastina and it’ll come up near the top of the list. They sell by the box (I think), but you’ll pay more per box.

    Good luck!

  7. There are many ways to cook it. My parents used to make it with just enough water to cook it and let it soak up. When it almost done drop a good amount of butter in it to get creamy with a chicken buillon cube or 2 to taste depending on the quantity.

    That’s the most common way in Brooklyn.

  8. Wow! We grew up on pastina in Boston. There were 6 of us and Ma would make a box of pastina and feed all of us. Loads of butter and salt and pepper. Guess what one of my most favorite foods are still today. A bowl of pastina with lots of butter and salt and pepper (40 years later!!) I didn’t thimk any one else really ate pastina much. What a surprise.

  9. We would eat this at my grandmothers house in Hartford Conn and later my mother made the Pastina and egg, she used chicken broth with the water and added mozzarella cheese to the egg mixture. We loved it. Sometimes when she didn’t have Pastina my mother would use rice and that is really good too. My sister, brother and me used to play the 3 bears because the Pastina reminded us of porridge. LOL

  10. My mom’s an Italian from Brooklyn and always made pastina for breakfast for me growing up. We’d also make it so the pastina soaked up all the water, so it was like a hot cereal almost, and we’d have it with butter and grated cheese, usually romano. Yum!

  11. You should try cooking some grated ROMANO cheese right in with the pastina. Add a tiny bit of parsely too. My mom used to make it like that all the time. Delicious!!

  12. I make a varioation my children love. Use chicken broth instead of water. I add butter along with the egg and top it all with Parmesan. Yum!

    Another variation is like cream of wheat. Use water, drain if there’s extra water, then top with milk and white sugar. Put the sugar on first so it melts.

  13. I also have a love for pastina! I grew up in New Jersey and my mom would make this for me. I am now 40 and live in MN and I cannot find it anywhere. I bring back boxes in my suitcase when I visit my parents. In fact, I called my parents in a panic last week because I used my last box. My dad is sending me a shipment and just in time for the cold MN winters. I have passed the tradition to my kids but my husband just doesn’t get it! Oh well, more for me. I also add grated cheese. Delicious!

  14. I grew up in an Italian house and this is how my Mom used to make it and how I still make it today. I would fill stock pan 1/2 way with water and once boiling, add pasta and cook. In the last 2 mins of cooking, I would add 3 eggs beaten. I wouldn’t drain the water. I would cook that and then add 1/2 stick of butter and salt. It is like eating Italian Chicken Soup, only with no chicken or broth except for the egg part!. I have a cold now and I just made myself a pot. Quick and delicious and comforting!

  15. I love pastina! So do all the friends I have shared it with. My husband is the biggest fan. I had no idea so many others enjoyed it also. I grew up in California and now live in Hawai’i and no one has ever heard of it. I was wondering if my Grandma made it up? She was a second-generation Italian and grew up in Brooklyn. She had 5 granchildren and when we were together it was a popular lunch treat. I make it exactly the way she did. On the stove, with salted water. When water soaked up, add egg and butter and a little milk. The best comfort food ever. Thanks Grandma.

  16. Ialso grew up with pastina. I have not been able to get it for years. How do you order it? Any help would be sooo appreciated.Thank you!

  17. Thanks for posting this cooking method! I love pastina and was looking for a way to cook it in the microwave. I was out of eggs so I added the rough liquid equivalent with milk instead and it was great.

    If you haven’t tried Pastina before it’s the ultimate Italian comfort food. My grandmother used to feed it to me as a child and I’ve been eating it since.

    For those in California, I’ve found it pretty easy to find Pastina, both Barilla and Ronzoni brands in Italian stores like Claro’s in Tustin, Bauducco’s in Thousand Oaks and Italia Deli in Agoura Hills. Some larger or more “gourmet” grocery stores have it too, but it’s hit and miss. I’d recommend calling Italian groceries around to see if they have it or will consider carrying it for you.

  18. I am so glad to have found this blog! My husband and I were just in Fla. last week and found the last box of pastina at Publix…a wonderful find,because he is crazy for this stuff~we’re always looking for it when we travel;it’s not anywhere around here in Arkansas. So I thought I’d suprise him and cook it up…first time and now I’m in Big trouble because I broke the sacred laws of cooking it…and used it up,too. Guess who’s getting a case of it for Christmas! Hopefully I will be forgiven..lol

  19. You might be pleased to know that Netgrocer.com now carries Ronzoni Pastina. It has not been easy to find, and tha manufacturer was of no help to me. I just received my order, and I couldn’t be happier.

  20. This is great. I too grew up on pastina. My grandparents were first generation from Italy and lived in Queens where I spent the first years of my life. Now my son loves it too. I prep it the same way.. sometimes with chicken broth other times with just water, tons of butter and romano cheese and a little pepper. My son is a bit of purist and just likes it made in water with butter and the cheese. I’ll have to remember to sneak an egg in there for him to make it a little more well rounded, nutrionally.

  21. my grand mother came over from italy (naples) when she was very young with her mother and father.

    my father and my grandmother (on my father’s side) served this to me always in a similar fashion. although, instead of salt and pepper it was always served with sugar.

    I’ve searched quite a bit for breakfast pastina recipes, but yours was the first one I found and it’s strikingly similar!

    I may have to try your version next time I get a chance.

  22. My Mom is from Italy and my Dad’s parents were both born there as well. My Mom always made it so that it was what I like to call ” Italian chicken soup”. She would boil the pasta in lots of water and then when it was cooked, add a few beaten eggs. Then do not strain off the water, but add lots of butter and some salt to taste. I still make this now whenever I have a cold. The pasta water with the flavors of the butter, salt and egg is like a broth. I love it this way. She also used to make it was parmesean cheese as well.

  23. We all grew up with the butter, salt, milk version and my children now call this star soup. You can find it sometimes in small specialty stores attached to Italian restaurants. Also, I have found it in Wegman’s. However the closest Wegman’s to us is 3 1/2 hours in D.C. I stock up and change it to a watertight/air tight container when I get home.

  24. it amazes me how this tiny little pasta had such an impact on all our lives. my mother the Italian one in the household couldn’t cook for beans..yet whenever i was sick she would make me pastina with butter salt and milk.. to this day the moment i dont feel good i reach for my pastina.. ive found it everywhere ive lived.. just look for the Mediterranean stores..i even found it in an Asian store once!!

  25. Hi everyone, its good to know that im not the only one who grew up on pastina…lol…being that i have just moved to arizona from Nj(having lived in northern NJ all my life) I couldnt understand why in the world i coulnt find any pastina out here…i thought i had a box in the pantry only to find it was alphabets….eeekkk!!!Im thankful I have found this, and i am now going to check out those sites mentioned to see if i can order some boxes, because where i moved to(the white mountains) there arent any little stores of the like you mentioned, and I looked at the only few stores we have to shop at…by the way, my mom always made the pastina with the milk, butter, and salt & pepper..so the idea with the egg sounds very interesting…her dad, and grandparents were all born in sicily…and you all are right about the ultimate comfort food…Bon,bon…Thanks again

  26. My Mom and paternal Grandmother always dropped a cube of chicken bullion in the water cooked it until the Pastina was a little past al dente and the water had almost boiled off. Shewould serve it with butter. I make it for my youngest now. If I let her, she would eat it for every meal. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

    Also, here is a tip for those of us who have trouble finding egg pastina. When my mother could not find pastina she would by egg, alphabet pasta (noodles) from the Jewish food section of grocery store. Cook it the same way and the results are close enough for any child or adult looking for a little comfort in a bowl.

  27. I also grew up in New Jersey eating Pastina. My mom used to cook it in just enough water till the pasta was cooked and all the water absorbed. Then she’d stir in some medium or large curd cottage cheese. Usually it needs a little salt. If you’ve never tried pastina with cottage cheese you must give it a go! Everyone I’ve made this for has loved it.

  28. I grew up in Ohio as a Pastina kid. My Italian father would always fix this for me when I was under the weather. He would prepare it just as directed here but would also add chicken boullion to the water. I just recently bought a box of Acini di Pepe (pastina) and was thrilled to find the recipe here. Thanks a bunch.

  29. Cannot find the Ronzoni pastina in Dallas area . Have been using a kroger brand of stellini…not as good as the real thing. Ronzoni came three ways: egg in the regular pasta aisle , carrot and spinach pastina with the baby food.I will try and order it. I am now ordering all my Italian tomatoes from 6 in one . Got my first case last week and i am thrilled with it.Learned about it on line when looking for a better tomato product than I can get here.Our food store is charging 5 bucks a can for Cento and its not even good.

  30. I also ate pastina as a kid from my first generation Italian great-grandmother. She would add brown sugar but I never liked it like that. She also would leave the eggs a little runny which is I think the best way. Don’t want to overcook the egg. In Texas, Albertson’s sells it. My kids love it but, they think I made it up. I now can show them that other people grew up on Pastina

  31. I was so happy to find pastina in the grocery store (publix) in the south as soon as I saw the box all the memories of my mother making this for me as a child on cold New York days or when I had a cold. I too am a first generation italian, and it sounds like we all made it mostly the same, salt butter and a little milk, my husband never tried this and when I made it for him with some crusty bread, he was hooked. great comfort food.

  32. Thank you for posting this Pastina and Egg recipe and providing background on your family. I am a 1st generation of Indian descent and feel very connected to my heritage, despite considering myself an American through and through. So I really appreciate it when other “Americans” know where they are originally from and have a sense for their heritage. Family history and background is so easily forgotten. Anyway, i’ve been hunting down good pastina recipes to serve my very finicky 2 year old. She’s a strange child when it comes to eating. She loves to eat her granmother’s spicy Indian cooking, and then likes pretty bland, run of the mill comfort food like mac & cheese, pasta w/ butter and paremsan, grilled cheese sandwiches. She’s sick with a bad cold right now so i’m hoping your pastina recipe will hit the spot and provide her with some much-needed nutrition. I’ll report back on what the 2 year old thinks! :)

    • Anu: Thanks for your kind comment. You’re right, of course. People tend to forget where they came from.

      Pastina is coming in handy this week. My husband has a cold and we’d pulled some homemade chicken soup (from my last cold) out of the freezer. Instead of bothering with regular noodles, as we heated the soup up in the microwave, we threw in some pastina and cooked it right in the chicken soup. Made the soup heartier without a lot of extra effort and pots to clean. You might try adding it to some chicken broth for your daughter for a bit more nutrition than plain water.

      Hope she recovers from her cold quickly!

  33. MY MOM WOULD MAKE PASTINA FOR US WITH SALT, BUTTER, AND CHEESE WIZZ. I CAN’T REMEMBER HOW MUCH PASTINA TO ADD TO HOW MUCH WATER. DOES ANYONE KNOW THE RATIO? SOMETIMES IT WAS TOO SOUPY AND WE WOULD HAVE TO DRAIN IT. THANKS

    • Margo: Sorry about that. The internet makes us all equals.

      If you missed the info about the proportions, 1:2 or 1:3 (pastina to water) usually works, depending on the brand. Ronzoni seems to need more water than Bertolini, which I wrote about.

  34. OMG my grandma would make us pastina every day!! it brings back so many memories. She passed without passing on the recipe. She didn’t like to cook and tell. But this definitely sounds close to what she would make us.

  35. WOW! Who would have thought I would get homesick for Brooklyn, NY after reading about pastina :) When I was growing up, we used to buy Ronzoni, all 3 kinds, spinach, carrot and egg. My favorite was the spinach and it tasted amazing when you added the butter and grated cheese :) I actually went to the ronzoni website and it looks like they still make pastina, but only one kind and I asked if there are any stores in the Triangle area of NC that carry it and they said I should contact my local grocer and see if they can get it. So Maria, you may want to try asking your local supermarket chain and if they’re a big enough chain, they probably could get it for you in AZ

    • Anita: I didn’t even know they made a spinach version of Pastina. I’ll call my brother, who lives in New Jersey, and see if he can track some down for me.

      Although my local supermarket here in Arizona is a big chain, my town has a small population and even smaller imagination. We live in “white bread land.” But I’m sure there are some Italian markets in the Phoenix area to explore.

      Thanks for sharing your comments. It’s great to see how many people enjoyed Pastina as part of their childhood.

  36. my mother also made pastina when i was young and growing up. She used chicken broth with celery, onions and carrots and added pastina after the vegetables cooked. I too love to make comfort food from my childhood, I wanted to make this today but my supermarket doesn’t carry pastina, it used to always be on the shelves of any supermarket, I’ll try to order online.

  37. Wow .. I grew up in a Italian(Sicilian) family on my mothers side in the Bronx… My Mom was first generation American..I also have fond Memories of Pastina..back in the day, you had to have a hot breafast and I really wasnt one of those kids that wanted to eat breakfast..but then Mom made me Pastina with butter and cheese mmmmm and I was hooked..when I had children I made pastina for them, my husband had no idea what pastina was..but my kids loved it..I was wanting it again and thought about looking on the internet, ..glad to know you can order it and I also saw that it possibly could be found in Walmart…trust me I will be going there …more then likely it will be tomorrow :)..it is a great comfort food …thanks for sharing and its good to be a Pastina kid :)

  38. I am an adult in my 40’s and still eat Pastina. I eat it with butter, salt and a little milk. I have been eating this since I was a little kid.

  39. I sure would like to know if someone makes spinach pastina, my mom used to make it for me with butter salt & pepper with an egg. I still remember that flavor it was wonderful. I’m 62 now and still would love to have a bowl…

  40. I used to go to my best friend’s house before walking to grade school. Her parents were 2nd generation Polish immigrants. Her mom would make pastina for us (but she called it pastini). She would cook it in water until the water was mostly soaked up. Then she would add butter and white sugar. It was a delicious alternative to oatmeal. Thanks for your post!

  41. Not quite sure what’s caused everyone to start looking for Pastina online these past few days, but it sure is interesting to see all the visitors and read their comments here. It really makes me wish I could find some Pastina here in Arizona again!

  42. Maria… I too live in Arizona and I went to Walmart and LO and Behold it was there…I bought several boxes :)thanks so for starting this blog and having so many share their Memories of growing up with Pastina…

  43. I found this while researhing a cultural presentation project im working on. im originally from brooklyn and still love this stuff to this day. i cook it on the stovetop with milk and butter to make it creamy and add salt and pepper to taste. apparently this is more common than i thought.

  44. I love getting comments on this post. It’s great to see that I’m not the only one crazy about this comfort food. Had some yesterday for brunch; might have more today — maybe I’ll even try making it with milk this time.

    Thanks, everyone! Keep your stories coming!

  45. I love Pastina and have passed that love on to my children (boys, 12 & 14). First was introduced to Pastina when we went to dinner at a friend’s house (2nd generation Italians) and they served the most amazing soup as the first course. I swear the clouds parted and angels were singing! Our friend served the pastina in a clear chicken broth with fresh parmagiano reggiano served on the side. When I tell you I was “in love” at twelve and continue to make this delicious, comfort food to this day!

  46. Ah, what memories! My mother made this for my sister and me with butter and milk instead of eggs. We called it “foofoo” as toddlers. I think i’m going to buy some tonite and make it to take care of this cold I’ve got!

  47. I teach an Italian class in Nebraska as an elective and am 2nd generation Italian. While walking through the grocery store, trying to think of something “cool” to serve 8th graders at 8:30 a.m. for food day tomorrow, I spied a box of stelline and was over-come with emotion! No, it’s not exactly pastina but hopefully close enough to give my students a little taste of the wonderful memories I have of having, Alvisa, my Grandmother, fix this for me when we visited her. I’m thrilled I found this web-site because it helped me continue down memory lane. I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning! Thanks so much!

  48. Wonderful memories. Loved reading your post and all the comments.
    Just heard my grandchild was sick and not eating. Of course my first thought was Pastina! And then I craved it myself.
    My German mother also prepared a quick lunch from leftover spaghetti lightly browned in butter with a beaten egg stirred in at the end. Salt, pepper and grated cheese – delicious.
    Cheers!

    • @Luise Viskup
      I made Pastina with chicken broth for the first time just the other day. What great comfort food for a cold! ALWAYS put in the beaten egg!

  49. It was so
    nice to find this! I grew up in northern nj and my
    Grandmother made me pastina all the time. It is still
    A favorite comfort food…I always crave it when I am
    Feeling under the weather. There is nothing better!
    Now my kids love it too :)

  50. I was born in NYC to an Italian mom. my grandparents fed me pastina. for a cold : boil a chicken and pick the meat off the bones. put in diced: carrots ,celery, and onions when you cook it . salt and pepper to taste.put back meat and sdd pasta for about 15 minutes..I add a lot. For a snack use bullion and add pasta then when done ..a pat of butter and romano cheese on top,

  51. I am eating pastina right now and my boyfriend is eating it the way you suggested. He grew up on it that way as well, although he is Puerto Rican. But I wanted to let you know, I live in the phoenix area and we bought the Barilla pastina from our local grocery store Frys.

  52. Hi Maria,
    I was writing my own blog entry on pastina and found your post. I also grew up eating this, but more like a soup. The egg and butter do sound familiar though, so I’ll have to ask my mom if she prepared it that way also. Thanks for the recipe – I’m going to try it and see what my kids think!
    Sarah

    • Sarah, until I started a low-carb diet, I probably ate this for breakfast at least twice a week. My other favorite is farina (cream of wheat) cooked with 50% milk/50% water and served with unsweetened applesauce. Alas, neither is on my current diet and I’ll need to drop about 20 pounds before I can treat myself to either one. :-(

      Enjoy!

  53. Hello I love Pastina. My wife thought I was kidding when I taught her my Grandmothers recipe adding the raw egg. I also grew up in an Italian neighborhood in North Jersey (Paterson) I Loved it and always had it with milk. I am wondering if you or anyone remembers Ronzoni Spinach Pastina? I can not find it anywhere. Does anyone know if they still make it?

  54. I actually grew up eating Pastina too, my mom served it to us cooked in the water without straining it, however she added, butter, sugar and milk. Similar to how we would make oatmeal or cream of wheat. It is perfect on a cool fall or winter morning for breakfast. I loved it and now my daughters love it. My husband however refuses to even try it because he said you do not eat Pastina for breakfast and that it could be served as lunch or dinner with butter and grated cheese. It is so interesting to see all the different ways this one little type of pasta is made and served!

  55. Wow! I was just searching for spinach and carrot pastina, which I can’t find anywhere, and came across this wonderful site. Grew up and still live in northern NJ, of Italian-Irish-Ukranian descent, ate pastina in all ways mentioned above, gave it to my kids and now looking for it for my grandkids. My friend’s mom, 1st gen. Italian, made it with butter, grated cheese, salt, pepper, egg & finely chopped mint leaves when you had digestion trouble. I saw on the Ronzoni site that they do not make the egg pastina anymore due to consumer’s responses it said. I have e-mailed them to ask if they still make the carrot and spinach version and will let you know when they respond. Thanks for sharing. Safe flying!

  56. As a child, pastina was also such a great comfort food for me….my mother would make it for us if we were sick or had an upset stomach. She would make it with butter and salt. Sometimes, she would add cottage cheese and bacon….YUM! Has anyone else ever had it this way? I just got done eating a bowl of pastina…probably the first in fifteen years….oh the memories! :)

  57. I can’t believe this site exists! So many pastina lovers, and all so tied in with great memories and feelings. I just had a bowl of pastina (with chicken broth, one drop of truffle oil, and grated parmesan cheese). Then I was searching for spinach pastina and came across this wonderful site. With so many people health conscious these days, why would they discontinue (if they did?) the spinach and carrot pastina varieties? There are actually 3 other things that were among my favorite memory foods that have been discontinued: coffee flavored Charm candies (like life savers but square), Celestial Seasonings Almond Sunset tea, and Entenmanns Banana Cake with the white and chocolate swirl icing. Hope these all come back — Italian woman from Brooklyn.

  58. Hello I’m in Eustis FL they have it a publix,
    with us it was lunch and we mixed in ketchup.
    I will say it took years of asking then to have it on the shelves but once it was there it moves fast.
    oh PS mom put a little sugar In it not the salt as the box tells you to. and try it with cinnamon but remember never drain cook off the water.

  59. I was raised on this- Italian family- living in Brooklyn. My grandparents made this for me with ricotta and butter. I haven’t seen that mentioned- but trust me- DELICIOUS. I am 33 and was just recently sick- begging my mom to come over and make it for me. haha

    • Well too bad I’m not in the neighborhood I’ve been happy to make it for you. but Florida is just a little far away from Brooklyn.

  60. Here I am, late to the party. I too grew up with pastina in Boston, probably Prince brand. Oddly, I most remember the spinach. Consistency of mud with lotsa butter on top.
    I search for it every so often with no luck. Found 4 instances on Amazon this morning, various sized packages.
    Talk of comfort food, our family was always big on elbows with butter, salt n pepper.
    I forget the name of it, but my cousin found an old favorite recently, thick spaghetti that’s hollow. We called it macaroni. Spaghetti was spaghetti. We used the leftover macaroni (in it’s sauce) with butter in a white bread sandwich.
    BTW: ALL pasta is better the next day.
    Also still looking for spinach pastina.

  61. I cook pastina almost every day for breakfast for my mom and I . Our favorite way is I cook it with beef broth to give it extra flavor and if I want extra protein I whip in an egg when almost done – it is delicious and filling – it stays with you all morning long!!

  62. I remember eating past in a for breakfast as a child and just the other day while shopping at Walmart I came across that little box of memories and of course I bought some. I am unsure of what brand it was that my mother would buy at the commissary but I do hope it will taste as good as mom use to make it. Like Michelle’s mom ( posted on 10/12/11) my mother made it with milk,butter & sugar. Another thing I remember as a child were space food sticks from Pillsbury. She bought those at the commissary too. That is one thing I wish they would bring back! And if anyone else remembers space food sticks and loved them drop Pillsbury a note and let them know that you’d like to see them back on grocery shelves!

  63. I can’t believe how many variations there are to Italian traditions! I stumbled along your blog while looking to buy a case of pastina. Our Walmart has sold it in the past, but I can’t seem to find any in the Texas Panhandle right now. We grew up on “Milk soup” which consisted of cooking the pastina in milk until the pasta absorbed all of the milk, then adding tons of salt. I prefer no butter, but a lot of my family likes lots of butter. My kids love this breakfast tradition, but my husband thinks it is nasty! Did you grow up on crostoli too? I have never met another Italian who made crostoli, but it is still a huge tradition in our family at Christmas!

  64. I was trying to find pastina for a fried of a friend of mine who lives in NC. I recently introduced her to pastina due her recent bout with tongue cancer and could’t eat. I sent her home with it to try. Just heard that not only was she able to eat it and liked it, but her oncologist is now recommending to her patients. I feel so happy my mother’s traditions can help those battling such a painful cancer.

    We cooked It three different ways. I drained my pastina and added butter and Romano. We ate it with marinara and Romano. Also my family’s favorite was to take the box of Lipton soup mix, add the pastina and serve with Romano. My son has made it for his daughter and adds the egg and fresh spinach.

    Been sick and ate some with butter and cheese. Thank you for this walk down memory lane.

What do you think?