Monday, July 30, 2012


Pastina is a type of pasta consisting of tiny pieces of pasta and available in a variety of shapes, such as tiny stars (stellette).  In the end of the first chapter, "The Sound of Noise," Silvia's appetite returns after being gone for so long, and she craves pastina. This particular food brings great comfort to her as she associates it with her childhood and with her beloved Grandma Tucci.  There are many wonderful dishes that can be prepared with this delightful pasta.  I enjoy it simply with butter, salt and olive oil.  Following are some more exciting recipes.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pastina
(from Proud Italian Cook Blog)


1 large pumpkin- about 6 pounds
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


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.

Pastina with Egg and Cheese


1/2 c. pastina
2 eggs
1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


Boil water, add pastina and cook.  When finished, drain and add butter.  Beat eggs and pour in.  Slowly cook over low heat to cook egg.  Add cheese.  Stir and serve warm.

Baked Chicken and Pastina


1 cup pastina
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Stellette Soup
(from box of De Cecco pasta)


8.8 ounce Stellette
1 sprig marjoram
4 cups broth
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch salt and pepper
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Pour the broth in a large saucepan and place it over the heat.  Add the sprig of marjoram and bring it to a boil.  Cook the pasta "al dente" and drain it.  Pour pasta into broth and sprinkle with Parmesan and nutmeg.  Serve warm.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Free Kindle Book

Hi Everyone!

Just want to let you know that my book will be free at Amazon Kindle store on August 8 and 9 so please check it out.


When I was ten years old, I wrote my first story.  It was called The Gates of Utica and I was inspired to write it during a trip to upstate New York with my mom.  I knew then that I wanted to be a writer; that I wanted to tell stories and make people laugh and cry and think; that I wanted to use words to paint pictures and make music.

I just completed my first novel which is entitled Olive Branches Don't Grow On Trees.  It is the story of a twenty-three year old girl named Silvia Greco who decides to make peace in her constantly feuding family.  It takes place in New Jersey and is set in the present against the back drop of the current wars. Throughout the course of the story, Silvia learns that peace is not something that is freely existing, but that rather, it is something that needs to be created, cultivated and nurtured.  This book is filled with lovable characters, humor and insight. You can buy it as a Kindle e-book on Amazon for $1.99 (cheap) and $8.95 in paperback (still pretty darn cheap). It will also be available in print format on Amazon shortly.  You can also check out the first chapter on my website:

This is the first of many posts in which I will be sharing the various insights about the writing process that I have gained from completing this book.  I also want to share recipes for many of the delectable dishes that are mentioned in my novel.  Because the book is about an Italian-American family, food is a central part of it, and so there are several references to yummy Italian dishes. I am delighted to say that the recipes for these dishes will be shared in this blog.

Hope that you enjoy reading and will return often!