Not Feeling Well? TikTokers Swear This Viral Pastina Recipe Will Help

And it's really easy to make.

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Feeling under the weather and not sure what to do about it? Your nonna (that’s Italian for grandmother), would probably make you a nice hot bowl of pastina, which includes some combination of pastina pasta, cheese, butter, and an egg. Also known as “Italian Penicillin,” this recipe made with tiny star-shaped pasta (confusingly also called pastina) is said to cure many sicknesses. While we can’t prove this medically—who doesn’t feel just a little bit better after eating a delicious bowl of hot pasta

But fans of this traditional Italian recipe had the rug pulled out from underneath them recently when Ronzoni—a maker of the pastina pasta shape—announced on Instagram that they were discontinuing the product due to an issue with their long-term supplier. As a result, the comforting pastina recipe went viral on TikTok

Subsequently, the cost of this prized pasta went up to nearly $25 per box on Amazon. But don’t fret (or go broke)—the good news is that Barilla, which is available nationwide, is still making pastina. You can also try Goya Estrellas if all the Barilla is sold out.

Pastina Recipe

There are a variety of ways to make pastina, all of which take approximately ten minutes. This probably explains how it became a “sick day” food. If you’re really sick, ten minutes is probably about all the time you can manage to spend away from your bed or couch. To make pastina at home, follow the easy recipe below:

  1. Add two cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock (if you’re a vegetarian) to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in a box of pastina and reduce the heat to low.
  3. While the pasta simmers, beat one egg in a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Let the pasta simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring often. The pasta is done when all but a small amount of stock has been absorbed. 
  5. Turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Stir until the butter is fully melted.
  6. Next, mix in at least half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. If you love cheese, feel free to add more.
  7. Pour the egg into the pasta pot and stir until well combined.
  8. Garnish with fresh black pepper and more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

The result should be creamy pasta with a porridge-like consistency. If you have any leftovers, consider freezing 'em for your next sick day.

Pastina Upgrades

Since pastina is a blank canvas of deliciousness, there are countless ways to upgrade it. A drizzle of olive oil or pesto on top adds richness, while adding freshly grated lemon zest brings an acidic punch. You can also feel free to swap out the Parmesan for another grated cheese, such as Asiago or Pecorino Romano.

If you want to get really fancy, you can sauté a little bit of celery, carrot, and fennel in some extra virgin olive oil before adding in the stock. This makes the dish a tad more chicken soup-like, and is a great way to make sure sick kids are eating their veggies.

Or, to make the meal a bit heartier, consider mixing in some mushrooms and leafy greens, or leftover rotisserie chicken. Basically, if it works with pasta, it'll work here.

Buon appetito!

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