Acini di pepe. Ideas for "pasta and some sauce" vs tossed into soup?
- Kris in Beijing Apr 15, 2013 11:09 AM
Just scored a huge box of Acini di pepe.
I'd like to use it as a "real thing," not as a tiny floating addendum to soup.
Has anyone tried AdP like couscous?
Maybe cook almost like a risotto?
You're best off with a sauce that's really "clingy" - like something with a cheese or bechamel base - because there's no way for those tiny pasta bits to really hold the sauce.
You can also use it in cold salads or hot dishes as you would orzo or Israeli couscous.
As I recall, acini di pepe are small pasta similar to couscous. My wife sautes aromatic vegetables like onions, celery, bell pepper and carrots. She then cooks the tiny pasta, and adds the drained pasta to the vegetables.
As a child, if I were staying at my aunt's house and feeling under the weather, she would cook me pastina (a tiny bit smaller than A de P)and serve it in a little bowl. She'd put a few of pats of sweet butter on it, stir until it was melted, and then pour over a little bit of warm milk or cream. You could add a pinch of salt or a pinch of sugar. Comfort food to the max, and quick (unlike risotto).
Acini di pepe, which means "peppercorns," are meant to be cooked in soup, particularly broth, and that is considered pretty real. You could cook them like risotto for a pastasciutta. I've seen recipes for pennette cooked like risotto, and acini di pepe could probably be treated the same.
I use it instead of rigatoni in my timpano, because it sets up nicely in the bechamel, and I didn't want any holes. The only thing I don't like about it is that if any drop on the floor, they're hard to find, and can even roll to the next room.