Pastina carbonara is the comfort food you need to make as a side, for your kids, for a late-night snack, or for whenever you're feeling down. This dish is an easy version of carbonara that can be made by anyone. It doesn't have any of the typical egg yolkand parmesan mix that can be difficult with a classic carbonara. This is more of a carbonara-inspired pastina and I'm here for it.
There has recently been a fear that you will no longer find pastina because Ronzoni has discontinued the product. I think some people may have forgotten that there are other companies, Barilla and De Cecco, who also make pastina. So, fear not, there is still pastina available.
Pastina is the food all little Italians were fed in their soup when they were kids. Parents made it into a little mac and cheese dish for them when they were babies. My son loves this dish. But I'm here to tell you this pastina carbonara is for adults too. The flavor is addicting and it is an easy recipe to make when you're hungry and want some carbs.
Frying the Pancetta
Uncured pancetta can be found at any deli that sells Boar's Head meat. When they slice it, ask them to slice it in ½ inch slices. Three slices are usually about half a pound. Ask to see the slice because they will often cut it really thin, which won't work as well for a dish like this.
Chop the pancetta into little squares. It helps to throw it in the freezer for ten minutes before chopping it so that is firm and easier to cut through.
Use a heavy bottom frying pan and bring it to medium heat. Toss the pancetta in and fry until the fat renders and the meaty parts are a little crispy. It will take about 8 minutes.
Boil the Pastina
Boiling the pastina is quick. Start this process once you have the pancetta on. It will finish right when the sauce is ready. Save half a cup of pasta water to mix afterward. It will make the pastina even creamier.
Finishing the Pancetta
Once the fat is rendered and the pancetta starts to develop some golden brown edges, stir in the minced garlic. Stir for 1-2 minutes. When the garlic becomes fragrant, stir in the pasta water and the strained pastina. Mix really well and transfer to a bowl.
Stir freshly grated parmesan into the warm pastina. Mix well and add more as needed. Add salt and pepper for taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
This pastina can be served as a side to some steak or grilled chicken. It's also a great midnight snack or meal for your little ones. Pastina is an easy dish to get done quickly when it is time to get some food on the table and it's been a busy day.
How to Reheat Pastina
Reheat pastina by placing it in a bowl and adding olive oil. Mix well and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each round. Add extra parmesan cheese to serve again.
If you enjoyed this pastina, and you're looking for other easy pasta dishes check out these:
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- ½ box pastina
- ½ lb uncured pancetta, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup parmesan
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare to boil the pastina.
- Bring a saucepan to medium heat. Add pancetta to the pan stirring often until the fat renders and the meat starts to become crispy, about 8 minutes. Add the pastina to the boiling water when the pancetta looks close to being done. Add garlic to the pan with the pancetta and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the pastina, saving ¼ cup of pasta water, and add it directly to the pan and remove it from the heat. Stir quickly for 1 minute until it absorbs the oil. Transfer to a bowl.
- Stir in the parm and salt into the pastina. Then add in the ¼ cup of pasta water until it is absorbed. Serve as a side, garnish with fresh parsley.