Pastina with Egg and Cheese is the definition of comfort food. In fact, some people even refer to it as "Italian Penicillin." It's a soft food, but it's not boring. The egg gives it protein, the parmesan gives it real flavor, and a little butter gives it its silky smooth texture. It's very similar to Carbonara... without the bacon. Or Cacio e Pepe... with an egg.
What is Pastina?
Technically speaking, pastina is the name for a category of pasta. Pastina= tiny pasta. There are many types of tiny pasta that can be characterized as such. Stelline, acini di pepe, and orzo, to name a few.
However here in the U.S., the word pastina (Amazon link) is often used to describe the more specific shape, stelline, or "little stars."
5 Ways to make Pastina
There are approximately 5 ways of making Pastina, but you can play around with these tiny pastas however you want. Here are the five main ays of preparing them.
- Pastina with Egg and Cheese, which is the recipe being covered today. It's thick with a custardy texture and cheesy taste.
- Pastina Soup A.K.A, Pastina in Brodo. This is basically just a noodle soup with Pastina or Stelline as the noodle.
- Pastina Stracciatella AKA "Italian Egg Drop Soup". This pastina is like a hybrid of the first two types. It's a soup but it also has egg in it.
- Pastina with Cream and Sugar. I just learned about this method after my TikTok video for Pastina with Egg and Cheese wet viral. I was shocked by how many people said they grew up eating pastina with cream and sugar!
- Pastina with Butter and cheese: This is basically just buttered noodles that use tiny noodles (pastina) instead of larger ones.
Ingredients in Pastina with Egg and Cheese
Egg & Cheese Pastina only has 5 ingredients, plus salt and pepper.
- Pastina/ Stelline Pasta
- Parmesan Cheese
- Chicken broth or bullion and water
- Salt and pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Pastina with Egg
The process of making this Pastina takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.
- You just bring the chicken broth to a simmer then add the pastina. The Pastina's tiny side means it cooks in just 5 minutes. (you can use lightly salted water instead of broth)
- Once the pasta is cooked, and most of the liquid absorbed, vigorously stir in a little butter, 2 scrambled eggs, and grated parmesan cheese.
- Top with black pepper, the best flavor for balancing out rich pasta dishes.
Where to Buy Pastina/ Stelline
- Barilla and Ronzoni both make pastina. I like theirs best because the little stars are TINY. Therefore they cook very quickly and and make a creamy texture that I love.
- You can find these brands of pastina in a lot of Italian-dense Tri-State Area grocery stores. If you live in an area where Pastina isn't as popular, order it on Amazon here. (affiliate link)
- Target sells their own brand of Stelline/Pastina, but they're significantly larger than the tiny stars Barilla and Ronzoni make. You can still use them though.
Top Pastina-Making Tips
- Don't use a rolling boil to cook the Pastina. The Pastina thickens quickly so a rolling boil causes splatter. A simmer is perfect for maintaining heat without the pastina jumping out of the pot.
- Add a parmesan rind to the broth for extra flavor.
- Mix in the eggs off-heat. There will still be enough heat to cook the eggs, just not so much that they scramble on contact.
There are a few substitutes that work for making pastina.
- Acini di Pepe - A very small spherical pasta shape. They look like tiny beads or "seeds" and are common in Italian Wedding Soup.
- Orzo - Another small-dish pasta shape that looks like rice.
- Couscous - Couscous is just like pasta. In fact the pearl couscous or Israeli couscous is very similar in size and shape to Acni di Pepe.
- Rice- This is a gluten free pasta option! The only difference is that you should cook the rice per package instructions. Then mix in the butter, egg, and cheese once cooked.
Pastina keeps in the fridge for a few days. To reheat it, just add a splash of water and pop it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until hot.
Pastina with Egg RecipePrint
Pastina with Egg and Cheese is the ultimate Italian American cure-all food.
- 12 oz of pastina or stelline pasta (one box of Barilla or Ronzoni brand)
- 5 cups of chicken broth or lightly salted water
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 oz grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Bring the broth or water to a boil then add the pastina. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking.
- While that comes to a boil, beat the eggs and cheese together in a small bowl.
- Once the pastina has absorbed most of the water, turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir until fully melted. If using slightly larger type of pastina, it may not absorb all the liquid. In that case, drain out the excess before adding the butter.
- Slowly stream in the egg and parmesan while mixing constantly. Mix until the pastina is thick and custardy. Serve with a little black pepper.
Keywords: pastina with egg