Meemaw’s Pastina

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You only get a few real BFF’s in your life. I’m a minute from 40 years-old, and while I don’t claim to be an expert, I do know that most people come and go. Only a few really special friends are truly forever. For me, Becca is one of those friends. We met over a decade ago in a belly-dance class and though she now lives in South Carolina and we can’t visit very often, I don’t feel like she is any less a part of my life.

One of my favorite memories with Becca was a trip to see Meemaw, her Italian grandmother, in rural Pennsylvania during spring of 2004. Meemaw is a sweet, gentle lady who greeted us off the road that evening with a warm smile – and a bowl of steamy pastina soup. I’d never had pastina before and have loved it since. Apparently these little pasta stars are common comfort-food to Italians, but it was all new to me.  It’s great after a long day at work or when you have a cold or during a wintery night or when you just need simple food that feels like a snuggly hug from Meemaw!

Today seems the perfect day to post this recipe, as it’s Meemaw’s 90th birthday. This photo from 2007 shows Meemaw, on the left; Becca in the center; and Mariann, Becca’s mom, on the right. Three generations of wonderful, kind ladies. And each of them knows the value of a warm bowl of pastina.

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To be honest, I don’t know Meemaw’s exact recipe for pastina.  But over the years, this is how I make it and it always reminds me of her. Making a bowl of pastina couldn’t be easier. If you don’t feel like adding the veggies, just warm the pasta and broth. If you want a veggie short cut, you can find pre-chopped onion/carrots/celery on the grocery store salad bar. This recipe serves one person. Make as much as you or your family, needs, of course, and it’s crucial to serve it with a hug, like Meemaw does!

pastinaA_lrMeemaw’s Pastina

2 cups vegetable broth (we like Pacific Foods low sodium)

2 Tbl. minced onion

2 Tbl. minced carrot

2 Tbl. minced celery

1/4 cup pastina pasta (Barilla’s is great)

In a saucepan, warm the vegetable broth and minced veggies over medium-high heat.  When the veggies are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, add the pastina. Bring to a low boil for about 4 to 5 minutes and serve warm right from the pot.

If you want, add salt and pepper (depending on the saltiness of your broth), and sometimes, I stir in a spoonful of pesto, if I’m feeling fancy.

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Wishing you a wonderful 90th birthday, Meemaw!!!!

Hugs, Rissa & Nathaniel

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