Easy Pastina Soup

4.66 from 258 votes

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This Easy Pastina Soup 🍲 is incredibly comforting and healing, making it the ultimate 🇮🇹 Italian comfort food. This recipe is so nostalgic and something that you can find every Italian making in their own special way. It is incredibly healthy, nutrient-dense, and good for the soul.

Why You’ll Love Easy Pastina Soup

🍝 Versatile Pastina: Discover the charm of “pastina” pasta, those tiny pasta shapes that make this dish a delight for all ages.

🥕 Hidden Veggies: Perfect for picky eaters, the veggies are skillfully blended into the broth, which certainly ensures a vegetable-free taste and texture.

🧀 Customizable Toppings: Traditionally topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, this soup allows for dairy-free alternatives and personal preferences.

🍲 Recipe Flexibility: Transform this soup into beef broth by adding beef, chicken broth by adding chicken, or simply enjoy it as is, depending on your mood.

🏫 School Lunch Hero: Packed in a thermos, it’s an ideal school lunch, sure to please even the pickiest of kids.

🇮🇹 Embrace Tradition: Try this Italian tradition and share your own “pastina with brodo” experiences in the comments.

How To Prepare Easy Pastina Soup

Prepare the Broth: In a large pot, combine 10 ½ cups of water 💦 (or vegetable broth) and heat until boiling.

Veggies: Include a halved yellow onion, celery ribs, carrots, and garlic 🧄. Don’t forget to season with 🧂 salt.

Simmer + Blend: Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft while the liquid reduces. Afterward, blend the cooked veggies with broth until the mixture is smooth.

Cook the Pasta: Now, boil your choice of pastina in a separate pot.

Serve: Begin by placing the cooked pastina in a bowl. Then, pour the blended broth over the pastina. To finish, garnish with Parmigiano, and now you’re ready to enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip

I used a pastina by the name of “seme di melone” which translates to melon seeds (hence the look) but you can use any tiny pasta shape of choice.

Substitutes and Variations

Now, let’s explore some exciting ways to customize this soup to suit your preferences and dietary needs because one of the best things about this recipe, is its versatility.

  • Pasta Variations: Instead of pastina, try other small pasta shapes like orzo, tiny stars, or tiny macaroni noodles.
  • Broth Options: While the recipe uses water and vegetable broth, you can experiment with different broths, such as chicken or beef, for varied flavors. For a lighter option, opt for low-sodium broth.
  • Dairy-Free Topping: If you’re dairy-free, substitute Parmigiano Reggiano with dairy-free cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without dairy.
  • Custom Ingredients: You can certainly get creative by adding other ingredients like spinach, kale, or other leafy greens to boost the nutrition.
  • Protein Choices: To increase protein content, consider adding cooked chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey. Alternatively, keep it vegetarian with plant-based protein sources like tofu or beans.
  • Dietary Modifications: Adjust the recipe to suit dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta or low-carb by using cauliflower rice instead of pasta.
  • Spice It Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick. Experiment with other seasonings like paprika, cayenne, or Italian seasoning to tailor the flavor to your preferences.
  • Garnish and Presentation: While Parmigiano Reggiano is a traditional topping, consider garnishing with fresh basil, parsley, or a drizzle of olive oil for an elegant presentation.

Best Served With

For a complete and hearty meal, consider serving this easy pastina soup with some delicious homemade bread. So, here are some of my favorites:

Similar Recipe

If you’re interested in comforting soups, don’t forget to explore other similar soup recipes on my blog:

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Common Questions

Can I make this with chicken or beef?

Yes, you certainly can. Add bone-in chicken or beef into the broth and let it boil until tender but fully cooked. Chicken will take 45 minutes, and beef will take a bit longer. I would cook the broth with the beef on low heat for about 1.5 to 2 hours. You can also use beef bones (without meat) for flavor.

Can I freeze this broth?

Yes you can, you will simply let it cool completely, then transfer it into a freezer-safe container and freezer. Broth can be also frozen into ice cube trays as well.

How can I send this to my kids for school?

Absolutely, you start by preheating a thermos with boiling water but make sure you keep it closed. While the thermos warms up, heat the broth on the stove and boil the pastina separately. This entire process should only take about 10 minutes. Once the thermos is ready, empty the hot water, and add the pastina to the broth inside it, leaving some space at the top to prevent a vacuum seal, which would make it harder to open. If desired, sprinkle some fresh Parmesan over the soup before serving.


Can I cook the pastina in the broth directly?

Yes, you certainly can if you serve the soup right away. The longer the pastina sits in the broth, it will absorb all the liquid and make everything super starchy. I like to cook pastina separately if I will be enjoying the soup over the course of a few days. 

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How can I store leftovers in the fridge?

Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Then, place it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Leftovers can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Can I freeze this?

If you have more leftovers than you can consume in a few days, freezing is a great option. Portion the soup into airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. Ensure there’s some room for expansion to prevent containers from cracking. Label the containers with the date. The soup can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

How do I prepare this from frozen?

When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover soup, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight if frozen. To reheat, use a microwave, stovetop, or an oven. Make sure to heat it thoroughly until it’s steaming hot. You may need to add a bit of water or broth to adjust the consistency.

How can I make this soup vegetarian or vegan?

If you want to make this soup vegan or vegetarian, simply leave out the chicken completely.

Easy Pastina Soup

This Pastina Soup is incredibly comforting and healing. It’s the ultimate Italian comfort food. This recipe is perfect for picky eater as all the veggies are hidden by blending them into the broth, so you don’t get the taste or texture of veggies.
4.66 from 258 votes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 10.5 cups water, (2 ½ liters), you can also use organic unsalted veggie broth or use ½ water and ½ broth
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • salt, (start with ½ tablespoon, then taste and adjust)
  • 1 cup pastina, boiled (any small pasta shape, such as orzo, little stars, or tiny macaroni noodles)
  • parmigiano, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Fill a large pot with the water (or ½ water and ½ organic unsalted vegetable broth) and heat over high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and season with salt. Bring the contents to a boil.
  • Once the broth is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and semi cover the pot with a lid. Let cook for 45 minutes or until the veggies are all super soft and the quantity of liquid has reduced. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt, if needed.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veggies to a blender, as well as 2 ladles full of broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the blended mixture back to the pot of broth and stir.
  • Meanwhile, separately boil any pastina of choice in a small pot of salted water.
  • Add a ladle of the cooked pastina to the bottom of a bowl, pour the broth on top, and dust with some parm. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 66mg, Potassium: 204mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 7653IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

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75 Comments

  1. Very yummy. Mine was very orange and very carrot-y. Any suggestions? I did add some chicken bouillon to bring that flavor down a bit.

    1. I would add less veggies if you want it less orange and less carrot-like flavor 🙂 Mine does not taste like carrots at all.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this and it is amazing!! I veganized the recipe with vegan chicken broth and vegan parm on top. So easy, so cozy, feels like grandma’s hug. This will be in my regular rotation from now on. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. This soup is for all seasons..it’s still comfort food..pastini ( low carb or not !) shredded chicken . Good value. Sharing bread and stories . Thank you

  4. This soup never fails and like you say…so versatile. I’m getting the “change of season cold” so whipped up a batch this morning and added some garden cherry tomatoes, a hunk of Parmesan rind and some finely chopped spinach at the end before serving. So good and so easy…THANK YOU!!

    1. Love to hear this, Tina! Sorry you’re under the weather, but glad that this soup is a comfort. ❤️

  5. I just came across this recipe today on Instagram. I’m vegetarian and SO excited to make this. I miss chicken noodle soup when I’m sick and think this will be my new go to. Very glad I came across your account. Have a terrific Sunday!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it will definitely be on my winter rotation! So comforting and delicious. My husband is on his 3rd bowl!
    I wanted a lower carb version so I omitted the pasta but added chicken and diced carrot and celery. Just curious, I sautéd the carrot and celery separately but do you think I could add them to the stock next time? If so, any idea at what time so they’re not to mushy? Thank you in advance for any advice!

    1. LOVE how you made this work for your preferences, Samantha! Sounds delish! If you boil the diced carrot and celery for about 5-10 minutes, they shouldn’t be too mushy.

  7. Hi there,
    My daughter is sick with a cold so I was going to make this and it looks delicious! What type of onion do you recommend for this recipe??
    I haven’t had pastini since my Nona made it when I was a kid! I’m excited!!

    1. Yellow or white onion will be a bit more mild than red onion, but any will work. Hope your daughter feels better!

  8. 5 stars
    So I’m making it now and since I’m in a huge hurry. (My hubby called me and said he was sick ) I’m throwing it all in the insta pot with chicken on the soup setting…Pastina cooked separately of course.
    So, what are the chances this will still be good?

      1. Hi so just wondering how much broth should be left once your done simmering vegetables? I think mine broth was to low so I am adding more water seasoned with a bullion cube. (when I put vegetables back in it was to thick)

        1. Hi Lisa, I don’t have an exact measure for how much broth should be left, but it should be a few ladles-full. You did the right thing to add more broth/seasoned water!