This simple Pastina Soup Recipe comes together in no time and is often referred to as "Italian Penicillin." It's the ultimate comfort food Italian parents and grandparents have been making for their kids for decades. Nothing cures the common cold quite like a bowl of tiny pasta stars, celery, and onion, swimming in a gentle but flavorful broth... It's Italian Comfort food in its simplest form. And it's just as good on a cold day as it is on a sick day. Plus it's so easy to make.
A note on "Pastina": It's technically the Italian Word referring to any tiny shape of pasta. The two most common types of Pastina pasta are stelline (little stars) and acini di pepe (little pepper seeds). The But most people now use the word Pastina when referring to this type of simple delicious soup.
How to make Pastina Soup
This little pasta soup recipe is really easy to make because it calls for just a few simple ingredients. It's really the perfect meal when you're feeling under the weather.
- Stelline or other small pasta shape
- Canned or Homemade Chicken Broth (chicken stock, vegetable broth, mushroom broth, or water mixed with 2 bouillon cubes also works)
- A parmesan rind, if you have one
- Diced yellow onion
- Diced Celery
- Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- Salt to taste
See recipe card at the end of this post for exact amounts.
- In a medium sauce pot heat up the chicken broth (or veggie broth or water), the parmesan rind, and the deiced celery and onion.
- In a separate small sauce pot, heat up lightly salted water to boil the pasta.
- When the vegetables are soft, add 1 cup of pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is done (al dente), Divide broth and Pastina into serving bowls. (Many people cook the Pastina directly in the broth, but I don't like this method. It soaks up too much broth. Instead, I like to combine them right before I eat my pastina soup.
What Type of Pastina to Use?
As mentioned earlier, the two most common types of Pastina Pasta are Stelline and Acini di Pepe. But other small pasta shapes you could use to make Pastina Soup include orzo, fideos, alphabet pasta, and broken up thin spaghetti/ angel hair.
Where to buy Pastina Pasta
- Many grocery stores in the Tri-State area sell Pastina because of all the Italians that live here.
- Amazon: If your local grocery store doesn't sell pastina, you can buy the Barilla and Ronzoni brands on Amazon using my affiliate link. These brands make extra tiny star shaped Pastina, which I love. The texture of this specific type of pastina is actually quite similar to grits due to its size and starchiness.
- Target sells the slightly larger star-shape Pastina pictured above. This variety is also very common in the Mexican version of Pastina Soup: Sopa de Estrellitas, which has tomato.
- Protein: Add tiny Meatballs, shredded rotisserie chicken, a beaten egg, or even diced up tofu for added protein in your pastina soup.
- Add greens: as the Pastina Soup finishes cooking, add a handful of spinach or arugula for extra nutrients. These greens wilt nicely in soups.
- Pastina with egg
- Pastina with cream and sugar
- Sopa de Estrellitas
Pastina Soup RecipePrint
Pastina Soup is an Italian staple many kids eat when they're sick. It's just like chicken noodle soup, but with this fun stars as the noodle!
- 1 cup of Pastina pasta (also called Stelline)
- 4 cups of chicken broth (or 4 cups of water and 2 bullion cubes)
- 1 parmesan rind, if you have one
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese for serving
- black pepper and salt to taste
- Bring the chicken broth, parmesan rind, and diced onions and celery to a boil. Let it Simmer until the veggies are soft, about 20-25 minutes, then add salt if you think it needs it. (All chicken broths have different amounts of salt, so use your judgment!)
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook 1 cup of pastina.
- When the pastina is cooked, drain it through a colander (or strainer, if you colander holes are too big)
- Divide pastina and broth among bowls and top each with pecorino and black pepper. Enjoy!