Grandma Gerard's Pastina Soup

February 8, 2018 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas

Warm and comforting just like a grandmother's hug...This soup was the creation of my Italian grandmother who came to America from Calabria Italy at the turn of the last century. She and her cooking are missed but her memory lives on through her recipes.

Grandma Gerard’s Pastina Soup
Serves: 6 to 8

Beef Stock
5 lbs oxtail, rinsed well and patted dry
2 medium Spanish onion, halved
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
10 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt

1. Combine the oxtail, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, thyme peppercorns and salt in a large stock and add 4 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until meat is tender (fall off bone) and stock has reduced, about 6 hours. During the first hours, remove the scum that rises to the top using a ladle and discard.
2. Remove the stock from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Strain the soup through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a very large bowl or another clean stockpot. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. You should have about 12 cups of stock. Remove the meat from the oxtail, put into a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate.

Pastina Soup
Beef stock, recipe above
Reserved oxtail meat
1 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes and their juices
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup pastina pasta
2 medium carrots, diced
¼ cup Heinz ketchup
Small bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated parmesan, for serving

1. Put the stock in a large stock pot, bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced to about 10 cups, about 20 minutes. Add the meat, tomatoes and thyme and cook for 30 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and ketchup and cook 10 minutes longer. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with grated parmesan on top.