A Deliciously Tasty Pastina Soup Recipe

Pastina, which translates to “very small pasta” in Italian, is the smallest type of pasta manufactured. Curiously, pastina is not characterized by one shape, so it may be round, star, or irregular-shaped, but usually, its size is no bigger than one-sixteenth of an inch. In Italy, pastina references more than two dozen types of soup pasta.

This small pasta, which is used in many ways in Italian culture and across the globe, is made from wheat flour. But note that some chefs choose to include an egg when crafting Italy’s favorite comfort food. Pastina is used in baby food, desserts, salads, risotto-like pasta dishes, and of course, soup.

Ingredients for this Deliciously Tasty Pastina Soup Recipe

This deliciously tasty pastina soup, which is often the first soup enjoyed by children in Italy, will warm you up from the inside out at any time. A soup this good is worth the time and effort –

  • Total Time – 70 minutes
  • Servings – 6

Most traditional patina soup recipes use precooked pastina (cooked separately and set aside) that is added to individual soup bowls – along with the other delicious ingredients. The following recipe differs in that all the ingredients cook together to conveniently create a rich and flavorful chicken soup.

  • Approximately 1 Pound of Large, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
    Pro-tip – Some people prefer to use dark and light chicken meat, so feel free to make substitutions to suit your taste. The chicken is eventually shredded and added back to the soup near the end of the cooking process.
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion – Sliced Thin
  • 3 Tablespoons of EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons of Tomato Paste
  • 3 Large Celery Ribs – Sliced Into ¼” Half Moons
  • 3 Large Carrots – Peeled & Sliced Into ¼” Half Moons
  • 3 Garlic Cloves – Chopped or Diced Finely
  • ½ Cup of Pastina (Approximately 4 Ounces)
    Pro-tip – Cooking the pasta in the broth lets it absorb the soup’s flavors. However, if there are leftovers, the pasta will continue to cook and may blow up. It is for this reason that some people may choose to cook the pastina on the side in a separate pan in strained broth. In the cooking realm, this is the chef’s choice.
  • ½ Cup of Finely Chopped Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Optional – Parmesan or Parmigiano Rind

Preparing This Tasty Pastina Soup

This comforting chicken and pastina soup does not require homemade broth or store-bought broth-in-the-box.

Instead, this delicious pastina soup recipe calls for skinless chicken breasts combined with delicious aromatics like onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. In a relatively quick amount of time, these ingredients develop into an amazingly tasty and complex broth that is the base of a delicious and comforting soup.

Step 1

In a large pot, combine your choice of dark/white meat chicken and 10 cups of water. Cover part way and cook over high heat. It is essential to monitor the soup closely at this point in the cooking process to ensure a) it doesn’t overflow and b) be ready to skim off any foam rising to the top of the cooking broth.

Step 2

Add the sliced onion, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir until the broth and added ingredients begin to boil gently. Cover the soup entirely and reduce the heat to a medium-low so the soup can simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the sliced celery, sliced carrots, garlic, and tomato paste – stir well to incorporate all ingredients evenly as the broth returns to a gentle boil again. Cover the soup and reduce the heat. This time simmer for 30 minutes with an occasional stir. Season with salt or pepper to taste, as needed.

Step 4

Remove the cooked chicken pieces and set aside in a separate bowl. Add the 4 ounces of pastina to the cooking broth and increase the heat to high until the soup begins to gently boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium. Follow the instructions on the pasta package so that the pastina is cooked al dente. Remember to stir occasionally so the pasta does not stick to the pot.

Step 5

While the pastina is cooking, grab a fork and begin to shred the chicken you have set aside. Add the shredded chicken and finely chopped parsley to the soup. Stir and then cover. Simmer the finished pastina soup for an additional two minutes. This tasty pastina soup recipe is often topped with grated Parmesan just before serving.


What are some variations of this pastina soup recipe?

If you want to try a few exciting and delicious twists to this pastina soup recipe, consider these options –

Add Fresh Herbs Before Serving

Most soups are enhanced by fresh herbs, so add rosemary, oregano, or another of your favorite flavors to this chicken and pasta soup.

Squeeze a Bit of Lemon Juice

This is a simple way to brighten the soup with a bit of acidity.

Add Parmigiano or Parmesan Rind While Cooking

The soup’s flavor is also enhanced if you add a parmesan or parmigiana rind while it cooks. Just remember to remove the rind prior to serving.

Add Extra Greens

For those who prefer added greens/nutrition, consider adding kale, spinach, swish chard, or mustard greens during the cooking process. Be certain to cook the greens until tender.

Try a Vegetarian Option

Skip the chicken and use homemade vegetable broth or store-bought veggie stock in place of the water noted in the above recipe.

What is the best way to store and reheat this Italian pastina soup recipe?

You can store chicken broth or stock in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or so. To reheat the leftover soup, add it to a pot over low heat. Add more broth/water if needed.

Can I freeze pastina soup?

It is best not to freeze the soup with the pastina already cooked. Because it only takes a few minutes to cook the pastina, it is best to freeze just the broth, vegetables, and meat. Make fresh pastina just before serving the leftovers.

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