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Chicken Pastina Soup has tiny star-shaped pasta in a simple homemade chicken broth. Top with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil for the ultimate Italian comfort food meal.
What is Pastina?
Pastina is the general Italian term for any tiny, shaped pasta. You also might find packages with the name “pastini” or “pastine.” Here in the United States, you’ll most often find star-shaped pastina at the supermarket, but it can also come in tiny tube, ring, or shell shapes, as well acini de pepe, or star/flower-like stelline pastas.
We used the little stars to make this delicious Chicken Pastina Soup – which is sometimes also called Italian Penicillin. Like any homemade chicken noodle soup, you’ll always feel better after eating a bowl of this simple, comforting, and delicious soup.
We made our chicken pastina soup with homemade chicken broth and chicken picked off the bones. But, if you are really feeling under the weather, you can doctor up a box or can of chicken stock with some carrots, onions, and celery for more nutrients, and add some shredded rotisserie chicken to the soup.
Why you’ll love Chicken Pastina Soup
- It’s the ultimate comfort food when you are feeling under the weather or just want something filling and delicious.
- You can make it with homemade chicken stock for the best flavor, but it’s also delicious with some shortcut ingredients.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chicken Stock – We think this soup has the best flavor and nutrition when you make a homemade chicken stock. If you are in a hurry, see our Chef’s Tips below on how to enhance a boxed or canned chicken stock.
- Cooked Chicken – We use the cooked chicken from the homemade chicken stock. Or you can buy an already-cooked rotisserie chicken and pick off the meat.
- Pastina – We like the tiny star-shaped pasta but any tiny pasta will work for this soup.
- Parmesan Cheese – You’ll grate the cheese over each portion when served.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is drizzled over each portion as well.
- Optional ingredients – The authentic Pastina Soup does not have extra vegetables in it, however we like to puree the vegetables that cook in the stock and add it back to the broth for extra nutritional benefits. The vegetables we added include carrots, onions and celery.
Special Tools Needed
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
- Measuring Cups
- Cheese Grater
- Large Soup or Stock Pot
- Medium Pot
- Immersion Blender
How do I make Chicken Pastina Soup?
- Prepare our homemade chicken stock, however, remove the whole chicken after an hour and pick the meat. Then return bones and skin to the pot and continue to cook per this recipe. At the end, spoon out the cooked carrots, onion and celery and puree with the strained stock.
- Place some of the stock in a medium pot and cook the pastina. Pour the rest of the stock in the larger pot and add the cooked chicken to heat through.
- Serve cooked pastina in bowls, add broth and heated chicken.
- Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you did not make our homemade chicken stock and are using boxed/canned chicken stock instead, it’s best to enhance the store-bought stock for better flavor and nutrition.
Simply pour the boxed or canned stock into a pot along with cut up onions, celery and carrots and cook until they are tender.
Then puree in a blender or using an immersion blender.
We also suggest that you choose a low sodium boxed stock since the cooking process will concentrate the liquid and it may taste salty. (You can always add more salt to taste if you prefer.)
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Chicken Pastina Soup ahead of time? Yes, this tastes better the next day.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Reheat the soup in a saucepan or microwave individual portions.
- Can I freeze? You can freeze the leftover stock and chicken, but the cooked pastina is best freshly cooked. (It will get mushy once frozen and thawed.)
Click here for more delicious Soup Recipes!
2 quarts homemade chicken stock (enhanced by pureeing the cooked carrots, onions and celery after preparing the stock, then added back to the stock)
1 pound cooked chicken picked from the bones of the chicken used to make the stock (Note: While preparing the stock, remove the whole chicken after one hour of simmering, pick meat, and put the skin and bones back into the pot and continue cooking per our recipe.
1 1/2 cups Pastina Pasta (tiny star shapes or other tiny pasta)
Parmesan Cheese, grated for serving
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for garnish
- Place one quart of cooked enhanced chicken stock into a medium pot and heat to hot.
- Place another quart of cooked enhanced stock into another medium pot and heat to hot.
- To the first pot, add the cooked shredded chicken to heat.
- To the second pot, add the pastina, bring to a medium simmer and cook for five minutes.
- To serve, portion the pastina into each bowl, then ladle stock and chicken meat from the second pot over the pasta.
- Grate Parmesan cheese over each portion along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve immediately.
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See Chef’s Tip in the post above if you do not plan to make a homemade chicken stock.