Pastina & Cheese

comfort food upgraded

If you’re looking for comfort food on a weeknight, Pastina & Cheese is a great fit. It’s creamy, salty and just “sticks to your bones” as my grandmother would say (love you, Grandma!).


  1. 1 lb. Acini de Pepe pasta
  2. 2 T. Butter
  3. 2 T. Flour
  4. 1 1/4 C. Half ‘n Half
  5. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp. Ground Mustard
  8. 1/4 tsp. Salt, divided (1/8 tsp.)
  9. 8 oz. Dill Havarti Cheese, sliced or diced
  10. 1 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated


  1. Spatula
  2. Medium Stock Pot
  3. Fine Mesh Large Strainer
  4. Cheese Grater
  5. Measuring Spoons – 1/8 tsp.,  1/4 tsp., 1/2 tsp.
  6. Measuring Cup with 1 1/4 capacity
  7. Small Bowl

Add stock pot full of water to high heat over stove burner. When boiling, add 1/8 tsp. salt then pour in Acini de Pepe. Stir until water returns to a boil – you’ll want to make sure that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or clump together. Reduce heat to medium high, while continuing to boil. Cook for 10 minutes. While pasta is cooking, cut Havarti cheese into smaller slices or cubes. Optional: reserve a small coffee mug of pasta water for cheese sauce. Strain in drain, leaving pasta in strainer.

Now let’s make our roux.

Keep heat on medium, add half ‘n half, cayenne and black peppers, and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt. Stir to combine. Add Havarti and shredded cheddar cheeses; continue stirring until melted and combined. Test consistency of the cheese sauce – it should be thin enough to easily stir but thick enough to not drip-drip-drip off of a spoon. If too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water, or more half ‘n half.

Add pasta into pot and stir until coated.

Pastina and Cheese, is an upgrade to your boxed alternative.

Serve as a main dish, with a side of baguette; or as a side dish with roasted chicken or salmon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *