Easy and Delicious Italian Pastina Recipe

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Published: 02/27/2024 | Updated: 03/25/2024

This pastina recipe, dubbed “Italian penicillin,” combines tiny pasta shapes such as acini de pepe or stars to create the epitome of comfort food, offering a soothing embrace in every spoonful.

Ideal for both children and adults, this dish can transform into a delightful soup, making it a versatile choice for quick, cozy meals or as an accompaniment to a crisp salad. Ready in about 10 minutes, it’s a testament to the simplicity and warmth of Italian cuisine, perfect for nourishing the soul.

Whether under the weather or just needing a creamy texture and rich flavor, this classic Italian comfort food passed down from an Italian mother-in-law is a go-to recipe card for any occasion, including a soothing pastina soup recipe. Remember that tiny pasta pieces may have varying cook times, so adjust accordingly to ensure the perfect al dente texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pastina
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Step 1: Simmer Chicken Broth

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat to start the base of a comforting chicken pastina soup. 

Step 2: Add Pastina

Stir in the ¾ cup pastina until the pasta is cooked for 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Add Condiments

As the tiny stars become tender, stir in the butter, a pinch of salt, and freshly grated parmesan cheese for that perfect creamy texture. Once the pastina is cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more broth to achieve the desired consistency if the mixture is too thick. 

Step 4: Serve

Serve the creamy pastina hot, garnished with more cheese if desired. This dish is a simple yet satisfying meal ready in just 30 minutes.

Optional Additions/Variations:

The beauty of pastina recipes lies in their versatility. For a nutritious twist, one might incorporate a handful of fresh spinach or diced vegetables into the pasta as it cooks. 

If you’re accommodating dietary restrictions, gluten-free pasta can be substituted for the traditional pastina pasta variety to make the dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. For a vegan version, swap out chicken broth for vegetable broth and use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese.

For those who enjoy a meatier dish, adding cooked chicken or tiny meatballs can transform this pasta recipe into a heartier meal. For a fun variation, experiment with different pasta shapes, like acini di pepe or orzo. 

Cooking Tips

If you opt for gluten-free pasta, stir frequently to prevent the tiny pieces from sticking together. When cooking pastina, keep the temperature at medium heat to avoid boiling over. 

Pastina cooks quickly, so it’s important to taste it often as it nears the end of cooking time to ensure a perfect al dente texture. If you wish to add vegetables or proteins, cook them separately and add them to the pastina once fully cooked. 

This ensures that every component of your dish is cooked to perfection. And if you’re aiming for an even creamier pastina, stir in extra butter and cheese before serving for a luxurious finish.

Equipment Needed:

  • Medium saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stirring spoon
  • Grater (for cheese)

Preparation Time:

Preparing this simple and delightful pastina recipe takes approximately 20 minutes of active prep time and 10 minutes of cooking time. With just 30 minutes from start to finish, you can have a creamy, comforting pasta dish ready to serve and enjoy. This quick turnaround makes pastina ideal for a satisfying weeknight dinner or a last-minute lunch.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve this creamy pastina as a main dish or alongside a fresh green salad. Consider adding a side of vegetables roasted in an air fryer for a crispy contrast. This pasta dish pairs well with a light white wine or sparkling water with lemon for a refreshing touch.

Storage Instructions:

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat pastina, add a splash of broth or water and warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally. For the best texture, consuming leftover pastina in an airtight container is recommended within a few days.

Recipe Notes:

This pastina recipe can be compared to a hug in a bowl, with its roots in traditional Italian medicine for its healing properties. It’s a versatile dish that can be adapted for any season by incorporating fresh herbs like chopped parsley in the spring or bone broth for added richness in the colder months.

Whether making chicken noodle soup or pasta e fagioli, pastina adds a delightful texture to your Italian recipes.

FAQs

Q: What is the definition of pastina?

A: Pastina is a small pasta commonly used in Italian cooking. It is often used in soups and can be cooked until it is tender.

Q: How do I make this easy and delicious Italian pastina recipe?

A: To make this easy and delicious Italian pastina recipe, start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add the pastina and cook it according to the package instructions. In a separate pot, heat chicken soup and add celery. Once the pastina is cooked, drain it and stir it into the soup mixture. Continue cooking until the pastina is heated and the flavors melded together. Serve hot and enjoy!

Q: Is pastina considered comfort food?

A: Yes, pastina is often considered comfort food. Its warm and comforting nature makes it a popular choice, especially during cold weather or when you’re feeling under the weather.

Q: Can I find pastina in any grocery store?

A: Yes, you can usually find pastina in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores. It is a common ingredient and can often be found alongside other types of pasta.

Q: What other ingredients can I add to this pastina recipe?

A: While the basic recipe calls for chicken soup and celery, you can customize it to your liking. Some popular additions include cooked chicken, vegetables, or even a sprinkle of grated pecorino romano cheese.

Q: How long does it take to make this easy pastina recipe?

A: This recipe can be made in 30 minutes or less, making it a quick and convenient option for a comforting meal.

Q: What should I do if I can’t find pastina?

A: If you can’t find pastina at your local grocery store, use orzo or another small pasta. The texture may differ slightly, but it will still work well in the recipe.

Q: Why is pastina sometimes referred to as “Italian penicillin”?

A: Pastina is sometimes called “Italian penicillin” because it is often recommended as a comforting and soothing dish when sick. It is believed to have healing properties and is often served to individuals under the weather.

Q: What do Italian nonnas call pastina?

A: Italian grandmothers, or nonnas, often refer to pastina as “little noodle soup.” It is a term of endearment for this comforting and classic dish.

Q: How does pastina make you feel?

A: Eating pastina can make you feel warm, comforted, and loved. It is a dish that evokes feelings of coziness and is often described as feeling like a warm hug.

Comfort Your Soul with this Easy and Delicious Italian Pastina Recipe

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time29 minutes
Course: Dinner/Lunch, Healthy, Other Recipes, Quick & Easy, side dishes
Keyword: pastina recipe
Author: Natalie

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stirring spoon
  • Grater (for cheese)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pastina
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

Step 1: Simmer Chicken Broth

  • Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat to start the base of a comforting chicken pastina soup. 

Step 2: Add Pastina

  • Stir in the ¾ cup pastina until the pasta is cooked for 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Add Condiments

  • As the tiny stars become tender, stir in the butter, a pinch of salt, and freshly grated parmesan cheese for that perfect creamy texture. Once the pastina is cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more broth to achieve the desired consistency if the mixture is too thick. 

Step 4: Serve

  • Serve the creamy pastina hot, garnished with more cheese if desired. This dish is a simple yet satisfying meal ready in just 30 minutes.

Notes

  • This pastina recipe can be compared to a hug in a bowl, with its roots in traditional Italian medicine for its healing properties. It's a versatile dish that can be adapted for any season by incorporating fresh herbs like chopped parsley in the spring or bone broth for added richness in the colder months.
  • Whether making chicken noodle soup or pasta e fagioli, pastina adds a delightful texture to your Italian recipes.

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