Pastina is Italian comfort food. I think everyone who was raised in an Italian household would agree. Pastina, tossed with butter, was baby's first solid. Pastina chicken soup was served as a hearty lunch, a quick and easy dinner on a Saturday night (after confession), and medicine to chase away a Winter cold. Each family recipe is a little different but the constant ingredient is the pastina, or little pasta. There are many varieties. For my recipe here, I used stelline, or little stars. Here's a chart with different shapes of pastina.Read More
This dish certainly isn't Italian, or Californian for that matter. It's Creole. But it's an old standby that I've been preparing since my salad days. I received The Joy of Cooking from my Mother-in-law as a shower gift and it became my kitchen Bible. This was the first recipe I tried and it was a big hit with my husband. I've made it many times since.Read More
Carbonara is a simple, traditional Italian dish. The origin of the name is unknown. Carbonaro means charcoal burner in Italian, and some say the dish is so called because of the black flecks of pepper liberally used in the recipe. Others say its because the dish was served to coal miners who needed a cheap and substantial meal. In some parts of the U.S. it is called "coal miner's spaghetti".
Traditionally it calls for guanciale, an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's cheeks. I substitute bacon. I've also added some chicken, peas, onions and dried tomatoes. Because I don't serve multiple courses with my meals, like they do in Italy, I like the main dish to be a complete meal with protein, vegetables and carbs. A simple green salad, lightly dressed, is all you need to accompany this dish. Oh, and maybe some garlic bread.Read More