Easy Pastina Soup Recipe (Italian Chicken Soup)

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Comforting and healing, this Italian Pastina Soup Recipe, or Pastina in brodo, is just what the doctor ordered when you are feeling a little under the weather. This pastina soup is made with wholesome ingredients and homemade chicken broth.

In the mood for another cozy Italian soup recipe? Try my Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (soup) and No Potato Leek Soup Recipe (Creamy and Easy).

pastina soup in a bowl with spoon.
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This simple pastina soup will warm you up from the inside out during the colder months or any time of year. This recipe takes me to my childhood, as many young children in Italy grow up with this nostalgic soul-warming soup. This is a delicious Italian comfort food recipe. Serve with a slice of homemade Italian bread. Enjoy!

Equally comforting is Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe (Quick and Easy Side).

Simple Ingredients

This pastina soup is made with simple and wholesome ingredients.

ingredient shot for recipe
  • Pastina Pasta
  • Homemade Chicken Broth (or good quality store-bought chicken stock or broth)
    • Homemade chicken broth:
    • Whole Chicken
    • Onion
    • Carrot
    • Celery
    • Bay leaf
    • Thyme
    • Sea Salt
    • Garlic (optional) I prefer the broth without
  • Parmigiano (or parmesan cheese), for serving
  • Black pepper (optional), for serving
  • Olive oil (optional), for serving

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Pastina Soup

Making your homemade chicken broth for pastina soup is easy! You dump the ingredients in a stock pot, let it boil, then strain the broth. The extra time is worth the effort to make a rich broth for the pasta soup.

filling pot with water and ingredients to make chicken broth.

Place all chicken broth ingredients in a large pot, soup kettle, or Dutch oven. Cover with water just enough so all ingredients are submerged. Bring to a boil on high heat.

Let boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat until it is just at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, skimming foam from the top as necessary.

pastina soup process of making the chicken broth.

Strain broth through a colander or sieve. Discard the vegetables and herbs.

raw pastina pasta in a bowl ready to add to broth.

Bring 6 cups of homemade chicken broth to a boil.
Add the pastina pasta and boil for 3-4 minutes or until al dente (according to package instructions).

pastina soup in a soup pot with ladle.

Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, freshly ground black pepper, and a good drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve with Easy, Soft Italian No Knead Bread. 

pastina pasta little stars close up shot.

I love the little star’s pastina variety since that is what I grew up eating for this soup. Feel free to use any variety you have on hand or like best! It doesn’t matter what kind of pastina you use as long as you like it.

The small size makes pastina an excellent filler for many Italian soups. Try it in our Classic Italian Minestrone Soup Recipe, or Easy Tomato Soup.

Pastina FAQ’s

Do you drain pastina?

No, you do not drain the pasta for pastina en brodo soup. The broth is the most nutritious part, and the pasta cooks IN the broth. The pasta will absorb some of the broth, and that is normal. You can always add more broth to thin out the pasta soup if you want.

Can I add chicken to pastina soup?

Yes, absolutely! It is not traditional in the Italian pastina en brodo soup, but you can. If you want a boost of protein, you can add shredded chicken and even cooked veggies.

What chicken to use for homemade chicken broth?

There are many ways you can make homemade chicken broth. The most nutritious and rich chicken broth uses whole chicken.
This is a great way to use your leftover chicken carcass after making Perfect Roast Chicken with Citrus and Fennel. This is what I love to do. Using the whole chicken carcass with bones provides extra health benefits. You can read more about the benefits of bone broth here.
To make a lighter broth, you can use boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or any other chicken you have on hand.

What is Pastina Pasta?

Pastina pasta refers to several fine kinds of pasta or small shapes such as tiny pasta stars, “stelline” (perhaps the most common in Italy), small tubes, alphabet pasta, or even tiny macaroni noodles with small shells. There isn’t one standard “pastina” pasta shape.

Where can I buy pastina pasta?

The Pasta brand Ronzoni announced in January 2023 that the company is discontinuing its pastina product, a tiny star-shaped pasta. Where can you find similar pasta that you know and love to make pastina soup? Here are some great alternatives:
Barilla Brand Pastina (identical in shape to Ronzoni brand)
Little Stars (best substitute- little stars) made in Italy
Acini di Pepe (similar- little bead shaped pasta)
Farfalline (great option- super tiny bowtie pasta) my nonna actually used these often.

Could I make pastina with store bought chicken broth?

I recommend making it homemade if you want the most flavorful and nutritious broth. You can certainly use store-bought chicken broth for convenience and ensure it is good quality.

Expert Tips

  • If you can, make your broth for the pastina soup (pastina en brodo). It makes a rich and nutritious base for this simple soup recipe.
  • You can easily freeze the chicken broth, but I don’t recommend freezing the leftover cooked pasta in the broth.

Variations

This recipe is the traditional pastina soup recipe with homemade chicken broth. If you want to try homemade Italian chicken pastina soup with a few twists, you can try these the next time you make it.

  • Fresh Herbs- add your favorite herbs, such as oregano and rosemary
  • Greens- add spinach, mustard greens, swish chard, or kale. Make sure to let them cook until tender.
  • Vegetables- you can cut up the vegetables from the chicken broth and add them to the soup.
  • Chicken- add shredded chicken for extra.
  • Vegetarian- skip the chicken broth and make this recipe with homemade vegetable broth or store-bought veggie stock.
  • Parmigiano or Parmesan Rind- if you have a Parmigiano rind in your freezer it for an extra. flavorful broth.
  • Lemon juice- my nonna often added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the soup. I still do this with my soup.
  • Pastina with Egg– This version of pastina soup is also nostalgic for me since my mother often used egg to add extra protein, especially when we weren’t feeling well. If you want to try Italian pastina soup with eggs scramble 1-2 whole eggs per person and drop them in the hot broth with pasta at the end of the cooking time. It is similar to an egg drop soup since the egg cooks in the hot broth.
pastina soup in a bowl with spoon and bread.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

You can store chicken broth or stock in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it for months. Store in airtight containers.

To reheat leftovers add to a small pot on low heat until broth and pasta are warm enough for your liking. Add more broth if pasta absorbs it while being stored in the fridge.

I do not recommend freezing the soup with the pastina pasta already cooked.

Since it only takes a few moments to boil the pastina pasta in the chicken broth I recommend making this part fresh before serving.

More Italian Soup Recipes

More Italian soups you’ll love Classic Italian Minestrone Soup, Classic Italian Wedding Soup Recipe, Tomato Soup Recipe, Pasta e Ceci, and Zuppa Toscana.

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Pastina soup in a white bowl with a silver spoon

Pastina Soup Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 10 reviews

Comforting and healing this Pastina en brodo is just what the doctor ordered when you are feeling a little under the weather. This pastina soup is made with wholesome ingredients and a homemade chicken broth.

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Pastina Soup Ingredients

  • 1.52 cups pastina pasta (depends on the ratio you like for pasta to the broth)
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock (vegetable broth or stock)
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional), for serving
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional), for serving)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, for serving

Homemade Chicken Broth

  • 1 cooked whole chicken carcass, skin and meat removed
  • 1 whole onion, cut in half outer layer removed
  • 1 large carrot, whole or cut in half
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, cut in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (add other favorite fresh herbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, or to taste
  • Water

Instructions

Homemade Chicken Broth

  1. Place all chicken broth ingredients in a large pot, soup kettle, or Dutch oven. Cover with water just enough so all ingredients are submerged. Bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for a few minutes then reduce heat until it is just at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, skimming foam from top as necessary.
  2. Strain broth through a colander, or sieve. Discard the vegetables and herbs.

Pastina Soup 

  1. Bring 6 cups of homemade chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add the pastina pasta and boil for 3-4 minutes or until al dente (according to package instructions).
  3. Serve with freshly grated parmigano cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and/or a good drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve with Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread

Notes

  • If you can, make your own broth for the pastina soup. It makes a rich and nutritious base for this simple soup recipe.

  • You can easily freeze the chicken broth, but I don’t recommend freezing the leftover cooked pasta in the broth.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes (3 hours if making homemade broth)
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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19 Comments

  1. This was delicious! I make broth all the time and had a small portion in the freezer. On a night I didn’t want a huge meal I got it out and whipped up a small batch of this. I had a little chunk of Parmesan rind in the freezer and simmered it with the broth and added a splash of lemon juice. It was so good! I definitely will make this again!






  2. This soup was so easy to make! It was very nourishing and healing. My husband and I ate it for several days. I used my homemade bone broth that I canned this summer. I also added some shredded chicken for some extra protein. Definitely a hit and will make this throughout the winter!






  3. I haven’t made pastine in such a long time… your recipe is delicious. Every child should eat pastine and there is not a meal better for everyone’s soul. Incredible memories from a meal.