This Pastina Soup is so comforting and made up of just a few ingredients. It's super simple to make and is absolutely delicious! Ready in less than one hour and full of flavor.
Italian people call this soup Italian Penicillin, because it's their cure for healing sick family members in the house. It truly is the best medicine.
The simplicity of this soup is my favorite, with just a classic mirepoix of vegetables, chicken stock, egg and tiny pastina pasta.
Why You'll Love This Soup:
- This Pasta Soup is so easy to make with simple ingredients
- It's ready in less than an hour
- This is the Italian version of Chicken Noodle Soup and is great for healing colds or to warm you up on a cold day
- Pair it with some french bread and call it a meal
- The perfect kid friendly soup
Acini di Pepe (Pastina)-A small, star shaped pasta used in Italian kitchens. It cooks to perfection in this chicken stock for a classic Italian soup recipe. You want to be careful not to overcook this pasta in the broth, as it can bloat and absorb the stock.
Chicken Stock-Rich in depth flavors. Chicken stock uses the bones to flavor the liquid and is highly recommended over chicken broth, which will be more watery in taste.
Egg-A traditional ingredient in the Italian cooking of pastina. While we aren't using any extremely accurate methods of tempering, a ladle of hot broth is brought into the egg and combined before adding it to the soup. You will still see some strings of eggs in the broth, and if you don't want that, just leave out the egg. It does bring in some incredible flavors to the broth though and I recommend using the egg for the authentic feel.
Carrot, celery, and onion-This combination is known as a mirepoix and it's fantastic to flavor soups. You want to make sure this is all minced very fine and only use about a tablespoon of each. This Pastina Soup isn't supposed to be full of vegetables. Also, no browning the vegetables in this recipe. We want the broth to remain as clear as possible.
Parmesan Cheese and Black Pepper-While these are optional ingredients to use for toppings, I highly recommend Parmigiano Reggiano for it's delicious nutty flavor. Mix this with black pepper and an almost Cacio e Pepe like taste develops.
*Full recipe ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations:
If you don't want to add in the egg, you can leave it out.
Making this for the kids? Feel free to leave out the onion and garlic.
Pastina pasta, or acini di pepe, is what really makes this dish pastina, but an orzo pasta or other small pasta variety can be substituted.
Add protein by dicing up or shredding one breast of already cooked rotisserie chicken meat and adding it into the soup. Cook it for the last 5 minutes with the egg.
How to Make Pastina Soup:
Step 1: Heat a dutch oven to medium low heat on the stovetop. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and allow it to warm up. Pour in the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and salt, and cook to soften for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 2: Pour in chicken stock, stir and cover for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Add in the pastina. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, making sure the pasta isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Step 4: As the pasta is cooking, temper the egg by whisking the egg first. Then, slowly pour in a hot ladle full of the chicken broth from the soup, while still whisking quickly at the same time, to help cook the egg.
Step 5: Pour the tempered egg into the soup. Stir well, then cover the soup for another 5 minutes.
Step 6: The soup is ready to serve! Pull the dutch oven off the heat immediately to avoid the pasta from swelling up in the broth and overcooking.
Step 7: Top with parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired, and enjoy!
- In Step 1, do not brown the vegetables, only soften until translucent. If any browning starts to occur, turn down the heat.
- If you are using the egg, even after tempering it you will see some stringy like pieces in the broth. If you don't want this, leave out the egg.
- As soon as the pasta is finished cooking, immediately pull the dutch oven off the heat to avoid overcooking.
If you add the entire egg into the soup, it will result in large chunks of cooked egg. When tempering the eggs by slowly adding broth, outside of the dutch oven, it will add a nice creamy texture to the broth once added in.
Pastina is the smallest form of pasta made. You will most likely find it as Acini di pepe, boxed dry in the grocery store isle with the other pastas.
To store the pastina, allow it to come to room temperature, then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, use the microwave or stovetop.
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