After weeks and weeks of rich, high fat, sugary foods, my stomach called out to me for some simple, wholesome nourishment. After weeks of complicated “holiday” recipes that took hours to make, and never look like the picture anyway, I desperately desired some “simple” food. And the simpler, the better!
I found myself alone in my kitchen recently (shocking), and I didn’t know what I wanted to eat for lunch. I was absolutely sick of all the Holiday treats. My stomach was on shut down. I was officially bored with food. Yet there was a hunger brewing, but not for anything that I saw in my kitchen. I had so much leftover food, but I was so over it all.
Then I opened the pantry door, and there it was. A bag of acini di pepe (Italian for grains of pepper) was staring me right in the face. I knew immediately that I needed to make myself a gigantic bowl of acni di pepe with eggs, butter, milk and grated cheese. You can’t get more basic than that! Four wholesome ingredients, mixed with a tiny pasta, and heaven awaits. I went from wondering if I’d ever want to eat again, to ravenously hungry. I put up a pot of boiling salted water, and began my two minute preparation. Beat some eggs and milk together; add grated cheese and some pepper and you’re ready to start tasting the pasta every minute or so, to see if it’s done! I couldn’t wait. I was salivating just remembering the velvety texture of this tasty dish from my childhood. Like so many Italian dishes, I think this one must have begun when a mother or grandmother was at a loss for what to make. So she boiled some tiny pasta and grabbed whatever was in the ice box or refrigerator. There was always milk, eggs and Italian cheese. I did the same for my children, and now for my grandchildren. We never lose our love for this dish, even as adults. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and warm your belly. Now this is what I call “Holiday Food.”
Happy New Year!
1/4 pound acini di pepe pasta or pastina
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Italian cheese (I like to use Parmigiano)
1 TBSP butter
Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Boil pasta in salted water.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add the milk and grated cheese. Stir together.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot with the butter. Stir to coat the pasta.
- Turn the heat back on to low and add the egg mixture, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed and pulls away from the pot. The more you make this dish, you’ll learn what consistency suits you the best. You might like it moister, or perhaps more on the dry side. It’s a very personal choice.
- Once you plate it, you can add more cheese and a fresh grind of pepper