Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Baby pasta (Pastina Stars with butter and milk)

 This recipe comes from "Italian Comfort Book" by Julia Della Croce.
Serves 4 kids or 2 adults

"Nothing is more emblematic of an Italian childhood than pastina (literally "little pasta") with butter and milk", - as Julia Della Croce is waxing lyrical about this dish. I did ask my husband (who is un Italiano vero, born and bred) if he remembers eating this dish as a child, and he replied that he never had it. Thus the myths are shattered. Anyway, I wanted to try this dish for my little man. I used the star pasta from Heinz and cooked just enough for one hungry toddler (I used much less pasta and milk and butter than the recipe below).

For best results, save some of the cooking water after draining and add it as needed after stirring in the butter and milk to keep the pastina moist and fluid.

150g little stars pastina or other tiny pastina shapes
3 tbsp unsalted butter
125 ml warm milk
3 tsp salt (now surely this is a mistake, first of all, I would not add any salt to the baby food, second, 3 tsp seems like a huge amount of salt for a small amount of pasta)

sugar (optional, I added half a tsp of sugar)

1. Bring water to the boil. Stir in the pastina and salt (if adding). Cook according to the packet instructions. Drain and transfer to the bowl.
2. While still piping hot, add butter to the pasta, burying it in the pasta to melt. Stir in warm milk and serve at once. Add a little more warm milk for a looser texture if desired.
Serve immediately to prevent the pastina from drying out and clumping (and again, my little note: wait until it is at a reasonable temperature, you don't want your baby to burn his tongue).

It might look not very appetizing to you, but keep in mind, it is a food for a little person.
Eddie loved it.

Here is the chef in training, eating his pasta with two spoons. Why is he dressed up as Santa in mid-November? I have been trying to take photos for the Christmas photo cards, but alas, he would not smile to me or sit still for a second. Eddie's Italian Nonna calls him biricchino (cheeky & cute), and the Russian babushka calls him "yula" (i.e. a whirligig).


  1. It works for fussy eaters! I tried this today after reading about it last night. My 2 year old son has become very fussy about food and wouldn't touch pasta (his previous favourite) at all. I didn't think he'd like this but he loved it and polished off the lot. Thanks so much.

  2. Very glad to hear that your son loved it. I cooked it today as well for Eddie.
    Do you know that has a selection of fancy shaped pasta which looks like farm animals, mini jungle animals and dinos?