Pastina Chicken Soup — Italian Childhood Memories
Here’s a soup that is near and dear to my heart. One that evokes childhood memories of my mother’s cooking. Pastina Chicken Soup brings back precious Italian childhood memories in her cucina. It also reminds me of something comforting and made with love. Why? Because if you make my homemade chicken broth from scratch, it’s a labor of love (in the beginning) and a snap to put together with the teeny, tiny pastina noodles! Mmmmm!
Is there any wonder that this post went viral when first posted in 2010? And I might add, the photos lifted for another site on Facebook. Boo! Even with a kind request, the people would not give me credit or take it down. Don’t you just hate that, my fellow food bloggers?
Made with homemade chicken broth, it’s extremely easy to prepare and will warm not only your heart but also your children’s hearts. However, I say that this is easy with the caveat that simplicity comes after the broth is made.
Yes, you can buy the canned variety of chicken broth, especially when you are in a pinch for time. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to homemade chicken broth. And it’s really not that hard to make. Trust me!
My mother made her version of chicken noodle soup with homemade chicken broth and tiny, tiny little pasta shaped in the form of stars . . . known as ‘pastina‘. This recipe represents the ‘cucina povera‘ (poor food) that my relatives ate in the harsh environment of the Italian mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries prior to moving to America.
My family recipe for chicken broth (Brodo di Pollo) was posted on this blog back in November 25, 2009. However, you can click here for the recipe.
Who doesn’t like chicken noodle soup? And what soup comes to mind the most when someone is a little under the weather? When someone you love needs some warm comfort food? Chicken noodle soup! A classic, traditional soup in our culture.
Pastina Chicken Broth Soup (Pastina en Brodo di Pollo)
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- 1 gallon homemade or store bought chicken broth click here!
- 1 2-inch piece of Parmesan cheese rind
- 1 box pastina pasta pastina
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken, preferably breast meat (optional, my family does not include)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt to taste
- In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth (preferably home-made) and Parmesan rind to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the tiny pastina noodles and cook until the pasta is tender for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chicken if using, and heat through about 3 minutes.
- Remove the Parmesan rind and discard.
- Stir in 1/2 of the cheese.
- Season with sea salt to taste.
- Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, if desired.
- Serve with warm, crusty Italian bread for sopping up any extra broth.
Serve with warm, crusty Italian bread for sopping up any extra broth.
This post was originally posted in 2010 and updated in 2021.
sheer comfort food! 🙂
It is easy to see why this would be a childhood favourite.So comforting! I have seen the wee little pasta at the grocers and will make an effort to pick some up the next time I am there.
With all those little stars, that soup must taste “heavenly.” Thanks for sharing. Susan
The stars are called stelline pasta.. Is lovely with even plain vegetable stock and Parmesan.
I just learned something new Pragya! Thank you for informing us!
I love this simple soup.
I can almost taste it!
OMG you brought back some awesome childhood memories for me 🙂 My nana made this soup all the time when I was a little girl . . . my mom never had the recipe since nana did all the cooking.
Thanks so much for posting this recipe . . . I must make it this week!!
Ciao . . . Gina 🙂
Pastina is so evocative – whether it’s with soup or a little butter – it’s pure childhood bliss. I just looked at your photos and was swept away. Pastina is next-to-impossible to get in the Twin Cities. Whenever we go to NYC, we come home a suitace filled with it!
i never knew pastina was stars, so cute!
That simple soup looks like comfort food at its best. Something to warm you up inside and out and eating stars will surely put a smile on anyone’s face.
love this pasta feed it to Jasmine when she was 7 months in Italy mashed up with cheese he he
Ciao mia amica! This looks so delicious.
Hope you have a great week!
Oh my gosh Roz Pastina!! Pastina was my oldest sons first “real food”. we were so poor that child ate Pastina every day. Funny thing is he still loves it!
That is the cutest little pasta. I’ve going to have to see if my grocery store carries them. My husband requests chicken soup all the time and this would be a nice addition. thanks!
I just bought a box of Barilla pastina on sale and now I know what to make with it. The soup looks delicious–perfect comfort food. Great pick! 😉
We love homemade Chicken soup, especially in the fall/winter months. I will definitely try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!
I really love the star shaped pastina! Great comfort food.
I also grew up on pastina. Sometimes my mom would make cheese ravioli in chicken broth and that was also good for the soul. Now I make it for my children. Pastina brings back many warm childhood memories. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
this post of the pastina brought back many beautiful memories and a tear reminising them, miss my mom and grandmom so much thank you very nice post and love your soup
This is golden and rich and so appealing. I could sit down to a plate, at almost any time, when it looks like this. Thanks for linking this to MMM.
I love it! I never see stars here, but I am definitely going on the lookout. Delicious!
oh i’ve got to look for that star pasta! that looks incredible, anne
This soup warms my heart!!!
Roz – This was most perfect choice for the kid at heart theme. Comforting, warming, soul-satisfying, and nostalgic. It looks perfectly delicious.
Hope you are doing well!
My mother used to make soup with pastina as well, and everyone really loved it. It is a true comfort food.Thanks so much for bringing back the flood of good memeories.
Roz – what a wonderful choice – comfort food at its best, and love those little pasta stars – that would definitely appeal to the kid in me 🙂
Hi Roz!!! im a blogging Newbie and im just now finding your site! Im DIGGIN IT ALL! I LOOOOVE those teeny tiiiny lil stars! I SOOO remember those! I am VERY cookin challenged! Im workin on it though! I WILL be following you! I have an Interior Design business & Blog…Im doing 14 days of xmas trees right now and would LOOOVE it if you could visit! I also have a GIVEAWAY!
*ENTER PAMPERING Give-Away Here *
Awesome Roz! This is so fun and totally reminds me of being a kid…another of my childhood favorites. Great choice for IHCC and thanks for sharing it w/ the hearth and soul hop this week, as well 🙂
what adorable little pasta! I love it! This looks like a fantastic soup and it’s gorgeous! 🙂
I hope you will swing by and enter the CSN Giveaway that I’m hosting this week!
What a delicious soup – reminds me of campbells chicken and stars – but OH so much better! I know my kids would love this! Thanks for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!
pastina was my very first baby food…and then the only thing i would eat when i was little when i was sick…and the one thing i turn to when i need some comfort food. oh how i love my pastina! my heart is warmed just reading your post. grazie! thank you for linking up this great food memory to tuesday night supper club.
Oh wow…yeah, that DOES bring back some childhood memories. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Also, Hi! I found your fabulous blog through aquariann’s Autumn Blog Hop.
And I forgot to say thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays this week. It’s in the round up. 😉
I make pastina like this almost once a week or every other week. It’s so comforting. We mix an egg in it and it really hits the spot. I love your brodo recipe. Never mixed beef with the chicken though. What do you do with the beef after it’s cooked?
YUM. I know just how heavenly this is. My grandma used to make it, and my mom still does too.
How do I cook pastina for 2?
It all depends on how much you’d like to eat? I’d prepare 4 servings if anyone of the 2 people want seconds. Use about 6 cups of chicken stock/broth and about 1 cup of pastina noodles. It all depends on how much pastina noodles you want as well. We like alot of pastina.
I hope that is helpful,
Oh my goodness does this ever have memories for so many Italian families. Who didn’t make this? And what baby ever missed out on it? Not in my family. I think this was every baby’s first real meal. Pastina! Mmmmmm, so good and so homey!
Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. This takes me back to when i was a little girl and my nonna used to make this for me. this is very comforting food and i love it. i make this for my husband when hes sick and he’s not a soup person. But he loves this soup. =) Manja manja!
-xo Napoli Love
Great recipe! Very simple and soothing for a soar throat. I have bee meaning to find a use for the pastina pasta and this was as good as any. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Great recipe! Very simple and soothing for a soar throat. I have bee meaning to find a use for the pastina pasta and this was as good as any. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about favourite foods from childhood. I do hope you link this lovely one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.
Roz, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We are now getting a super collection of dishes we loved as kids together. I hope you have stopped by some of the other links to check them out!
Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or have you already followed? Cheers
Ps If you would like email reminders of future Food on Fridays, just pop by and comment and include your email – I won’t publish it – and the reminder will be by bcc so it will remain private
Hello! Love your recipe for brodo! I made it yesterday for my 8 month old baby, so she can enjoy a nice pastina. Many thanks. Love your other recipes too 🙂
Thank you for sharing! I usually just make my pastina with butter and salt, but will now be making this soup regularly- tastes just like childhood 😉 I shared a link to this recipe on my latest post if you’d like to check it out!
Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know how you will be making this delightful soup for your family! I hope that it will give you continual happy childhood memories to your little ones!
Oh my goodness. Thank you for this recipe! My nana always made me pastina soup when I was a little girl, and it is my absolute FAVORITE food. I always tried to recreate what she made, but she never passed down her recipe. Whenever I made it, it was always missing something, and now I know it was the cheese rind! I stuck a good hunk of Pecorino Romano rind in my soup, and let me tell you, it was nothing short of DIVINE! THANK YOU!!!! 😀
Samantha, I loved reading your story about your nana preparing pasting! I’m so glad the weather is cooling down a bit, because I’m ready for a big bowl of pasting right now!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate it!
La Bella Vita Cucina
One of the first foods my babies ate was pastina.
I think it was for me too! Now that I have my first grandchild, I am anxious to introduce him to this delicious Italian soup!
Thanks for stopping by,
My Mother called it baby pastina. Don’t know why.
also add a tin of good quality plum tomatoes into the chicken stock.. adds a whole new dimension of Taste.. what my nanna always used to do 🙂
I think that your Nanna was very wise; in fact, I’m going to add some good tomatoes to my next batch of brodo! Thanks for the tip!
did you like it with the plum tomatoes? any better or worse?
You’re right . . . this soup is fantastic with tomato added! Thanks for the tip! Hope you’re staying warm this winter!
Roz @ La Bella Vita Cucina
Great piece. Yes, Pastina is Italian childhood. My favorite was when my mom would make me Pastina simply dressed in butter with a little grated Parmigiano. Yumm! I hadn’t eaten it in years, but a few years ago I started craving it, as one often does of their childhood as you get older. So a few years ago, I started buying my Pastina, bringing it home and eating it this way, Pastian con Burro e Parmigiano. And I’d be transported back to my youth. The same happened with me with Stuffed Shells which my mom would often make.
I was just today going through comments and read yours. I have no idea why I never saw your wonderful thoughts from 2015! Usually these come t hrough my email where I see them and read them. But, oh, what a story you have to tell others in sharing about the memories and meaningfulness of pastina soup in your Italian childhood I cannot even begin to imagine the intense boost of flavor with butter. My favorite ingredient after olive oil, pasta and cheese! Please do stop by again with more of your foodie stories and/or recipes! I so enjoyed reading your heartfelt thoughts of your childhood and mother’s love!
I am Italian and my mother made pastina for us for breakfast. Cook the pastina in water (like you would cook farina) tiil it boils off. Add an egg, butter, salt to taste and milk. My mother is 93 with dementia and now I cook it for her breakfast.
ahhh fond memories my friend, chicken and stars soup with toasted french bread was one of my favorite as a child. I think I’ll give your amazing recipe a try very soon. xo
Hi Sweet Katie girl! this recipe touches so many of us regarding wonderful, loving, and tender childhood moments. What’s not to love with simplicity, deliciousness and meaningfulness to our hearts and souls!
Bless you Katie!
Hi Roz! Have not eaten this since I was a young girl! I’m from a family of 8 children…so never any leftovers. There is only my husband and I in our household now. Do you think soup would freeze well?
Pastina is just the best isn’t it? It’s my second most popular recipe since I started this blog. It brings back so many memories for so many people! I would not freeze the pastina noodles once they are cooked. But I do recommend making your broth (brodo) and it will freeze wonderfully! Then all you have to do is thaw out some broth when you need it and boil the little pastina in the hot broth and you’re ready to eat! Let me know when you make it and shoot me a photo to share here if you like! Have a wonderful afternoon Nancy!!
This brings back a lot of memories. There are also many other variants of pastina, for examples anellini (little rings) or risoni, my favourite (rice-shaped pastina, but it hasn’t anything to do with actual rice).
I’m addition, one can also experiment a bit with the broth variations. In my hometown the most popular is “brodo in terza”, which is made with chicken, veal and pork spare ribs (terza stands for third, so three different meats). The result is a much stronger taste. Really heartwarming during winter days.
This game he easiest and most satisfying soup! My family will defiantly have this again.
I’m so glad that you enjoy this soup; it is wildly loved around the entire world! Buon Appetito, Charlotte!
Just made this. Reminded me of my childhood. Thanks for sharing.
My brother in law introduced me to this wonderful soup. My nephews were all raised on it and now their kids clamor for it. We don’t add the chicken it’s best for us without.
I understand how your nephews kids still ask for Pastina soup. I just had a delicious bowl of it a few days ago. I keep homemade broth on hand as well as a few boxes of the tiny pasta so that I can enjoy it quickly. Thank you for sharing your experience of pastina soup and for stopping by!
Stay in touch and be well,
My family migrated from Rivisondoli Italy in the 1950’s. This recipe looks very similar to my Nonna’s. I’m excited to try it. Thanks for sharing!
The tiny pasta looks super cute! And homemade broth makes this comforting soup even more appealing and moreish.
I love love love pastina stars and its unfortunate I havent been to find it here in over a year now. Its been off the shelves for awhile since this pandemic. I am using broken vermicelli or orzo for now. I also loved ABC’s bet you had them also. This soup is spot on perfection and I love it! Thanks for bringing back memories. I am going online to see if I can find my favorite pastina now! Thanks for posting hope you are well!
Your post brought back memories of when my daughter was very little. If she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to eat, I’d fix her Pastina, either as a soup like yours or with a little butter and cheese.
Your soup brings back such wonderful memories for me too. Although we were not Italian, my mother made chicken pasting soup too and it was so wonderful. Who wouldn’t love a bowl?
I don’t think one has to be Italian or any ethnicity to enjoy this soup,Judee.
Hi ! About the chicken broth , I was wondering , once all the ingredients are I
In the pot , do I add salt or wait until after I strain it to add salt
add the salt while in the pot Cinthya
one of my favorite things, simple and delicious xo
I think it is everyone’s favorite soup among those who have tasted it, Katherine. Hope this year will treat you well!
I am looking for the teeny tiny Pastina for babies that I fed my children. No one seems to know what this product was it all the pastina today is too large babies used to be able to eat this. I am wishing for this back again and it was not the stars. It was not the regular pastina. It was tiny, tiny tiny, can anyone help