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Joie De Vivre Tuesday #14: Mom’s Food Fixes All Ailments (Pastina Edition)

Posted by Shannon on 04/19/2011

When I was in my single-digit years, any time I caught a nasty flu or cold virus my appetite was zapped. My mom lucked out because I have a long-standing sugar addiction. She knew it, I knew it. It was/is my Achilles heel.

She’d reward chicken noodle soup & toast consumption with canned peaches, pears or fruit cocktail.When my flu bug was really bad, and I couldn’t keep anything down?

She used the big guns.  The last resort.  The pièce de résistance…

…Jello water.

Strawberry, cherry, raspberry… bring ’em all on, I loved all red Jello flavors and drank a little cup like juice. This always worked because…

Things Only Moms Know #1: A simple, long-standing “favorite” recipe will get your kid back on their feet. It must be simple, quick to make, and minimal ingredients. This rings infinitesimally true if said daughter/son lives out-of-state and orders thai takeout constantly.

 Fast forward to present day:

  • Friday: a scratchy, dry throat.
  • Saturday: Very clearly sick, forced to bow out of Indian food @ Eric/Casey’s.
  • Sunday: intense sinus pressure, a headache, chest congestion. Missed pit-access passes at the Long Beach Grand Prix Races in Long Beach.  Had to re-scheduled a foodie lunch adventure to  Wurstkuche with Stef.
  • Monday: Admitted defeat, went to the dr. Verdict? Bronchitis and a sinus infection.

 — Things Only Moms Know #2: Your kids need hugs when they’re sick, even if they won’t publically admit it. Daughters, even at age 26, need the “how are you feeling?” phone call, and a comforting hug with a back pat.

Both my my mom-mom (Glenda) and my SoCal-mom (Francine) provided these over the weekend and I felt much better because of them!

Things Only Moms Know #3: Your kids have no idea they’re getting sick, but you do. And, you know they won’t take care of proper meals for themselves once they realize that they are.

Luckily, my SoCal mom armed me in advance. While she was at Guilliano’s Sunday afternoon, she scooped up pastina and chicken broth to give to me Sunday night when I came over for our weekly Family Dinner.

She’s a mom, so she planned in advance. She’s a mom, so of course she knew what was coming before I did :).

Pastina. Never had it before? Never heard of it before?

Putting the fun back in pasta!

Pastina means “little pasta,” and is  common in Italian soups, especially for younger children. Yep, those are teensy star-shaped pieces of pasta you’re looking at.

Itty bitty pasta pieces

 They are the tiniest pasta types/shapes produced. I especially like  b/c Tiny is my bf’s nickname for me. Small pasta for a small, bronchitis’ed up & hungry Korean!

Pastinas! (on 4th row): anellini, stelline, grattini, etc. *photo credit:Wikipedia

I made pastina as last night’s lunch/dinner hybrid. I can almost hear my mom worrying about me through the Internet, but see above, my appetite was “zapped” ;).

Ingredients: broth, pastina, salt & pepper, egg, parmesan cheese, butter, mini splash of lemon juice, cilantro to garnish


  • 1 cup all-natural, no-MSG-added chicken brot h
  • 1/4 cup pastina
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh ground pepper

Finale: all dished up

 Bring the broth to a boil in a small sauce pot.

Time to add the mini star pasta!

Sprinkle in the salt and slowly stir in the pastina slowly, cook ~3 minutes or until the broth is mostly soaked in.


Add pastina little by little

Keep adding...

  Turn off stove and stir in the egg, the heat cooks it, don’t worry. Then spoon and swirl in the butter, black pepper and cheese.


 Serve in a pretty bowl…

Extra Parmesan for good measure

 …And enjoy while sitting down in comfy clothes.

Relaxing dinner with Agi the giraffe

*Feel like soup instead?: PASTINA SOUP ,  what’s not to love about a soup with only four ingredients.

 *Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free?: Substitute in vegetable broth, accommodating pasta, and dairy substitutes readily  available at Trader Joes.


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