Pumpkin Pastina

In many Italian households children are first introduced to pasta by way of pastina. Pastina literally means “little pasta”. Today you can find shapes of many different forms, from tiny dots to stars, alphabets, and many more.
My own kids grew up with pastina, simply made with a little butter, and grated cheese. To this day it’s the kind of comfort food that they still crave every once in a while, and so do I!

When I first saw this recipe in Michael Chiarello’s cookbook…The Tra Vigne… All my fond memories of pastina came rushing back. I just had to make this! Tiny pastina cooked in a warm broth flavored with onion, & thyme. Adding to that, creamy parmesan cheese, and roasted butternut squash! I can barely describe how good this is, it almost didn’t make it to the table, you will be tempted to eat it right over the stove with a spoon!

By all means, you don’t have to serve it in a pumpkin, but the presentation is great, and very festive for this time of year. And besides, you have to roast your butternut squash, so why not do it all on the same baking sheet! This recipe serves four, and the pumpkin I used was one of those small ones about 6 or 8 inches round. I was going to use the green one in the photo too, but decided against it. Just cut the top, scoop out the seeds, oil it inside and out, and season with salt and pepper. Place the lids back on the top when baking them.

For the butternut squash, I just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, oil it inside and out, salt and pepper, and place it cut side down on baking sheet.
Both will cook at 375F for about 40 min’s. You want your pumpkin still firm enough to stand, so depending on what size you use, you might want to check it.
NOTE: Do all of this earlier in the day to get it out of the way, the pastina cooks up fast.

This has nothing to do with the recipe at all, but I just wanted to show you the beautiful colors that were on these leaves that I saw, while taking a walk the other day! I just love the fall colors!!!

Michael added turkey in his, and cooked the pastina like risotto, adding the broth little by little. I didn’t do that. You certainly could add turkey to it if you like, for a more heartier meal. I didn’t do that either. I might however, use his suggestion to chiffonade some chard or spinach into it next time.

In a pot, saute about 1 cup of onion in olive oil season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
Pour in 4 cups of stock (I used chicken) and bring to a gentle boil.
When stock is boiling pour in 3/4lb. of your dry pastina or any small pasta.
When al dente, fold in about 1 cup of your roasted butternut squash that has been scooped out, and 1/2 cup of good parmesan cheese. Season it to taste with salt and pepper.
The consistency should be loose, so you might want to add more stock to it, so have extra on hand.

Buon Appetito!!!