Pastina Recipe – The Italian Comfort Food

Pastina is a type of tiny pasta that looks like little stars or grains of rice. It is usually cooked in broth with parmesan cheese and a whisked egg. It’s considered comfort food in Italian households and is often made when someone is sick.

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper is a must for this dish. You can also add other hard Italian cheeses for flavor and texture if desired.


Pastina is the ultimate Italian comfort food especially if you’re feeling under the weather. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and always hits the spot. The egg and pasta combo is just so good for kids and adults alike. It’s a great alternative to chicken noodle soup or matzo ball soup when you’re not feeling well.

Pasta: You can use any kind of tiny Italian pasta for this recipe such as acini de pepe or orzo. You can also add a bit of chopped cubed chicken for protein. You can even use more broth for a heartier Pastina soup (Pastina en Brodo).

Milk: A cup of milk is used to cook the pasta and help it stay warm. If you don’t have any milk on hand, water will also work.

Salt: A generous pinch of salt is added to the boiling water for flavor.

Egg: You’ll need one beaten egg to make this recipe. Eggs are cooked in the hot pasta which makes it nice and creamy.

Butter: We use salted butter for this recipe, but unsalted will work just fine too. Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated works best, but any hard Italian cheese will do.

Combine the pasta and broth in a pot, bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook the pasta for 6-7 minutes, until it is al dente and the broth has been absorbed. Once the pasta is cooked, stir in the butter and cheeses. Taste for seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Prep Time

Pastina is the ultimate Italian comfort food, especially when you’re feeling sick or under the weather. It’s the perfect mix of pasta, cheese and butter! This super simple recipe can be made in less than 10 minutes and feels like a warm hug from your nonna.

The pasta is shaped like little stars which adds to the cozy, nasutalgic feel of this dish but you can use any small pasta shape you have on hand. Any kind of hard Italian cheese will work too. I recommend buying a block of fresh parmesan and grating it yourself for the best flavor. You can also add any vegetables you want to this dish to make it more hearty and filling. Just saute the veggies in some olive oil before adding them to the pot with the pasta and chicken broth.

This recipe is very easy to double or triple so if you’re cooking for a crowd you can easily make this recipe in large batches. When storing leftovers be sure to keep the pasta and soup separate so the pasta doesn’t absorb all of the broth. Leftovers will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Adding an egg to this recipe is optional but it’s recommended if you want a thicker more creamy soup. When the egg is added to the hot pasta it cooks immediately and adds so much flavor!

Cook Time

A bowl of warm pastina is the ultimate comfort food, especially if you’re sick. It can be served with anything you like, including meats, vegetables, and sauces. It’s a dish the whole family will enjoy, from toddlers to teens. This easy pastina recipe takes just 10 minutes to make from start to finish.

You can find pastina in most major supermarkets, and it’s stocked alongside other pasta shapes. It’s also readily available online. Alternatively, you can use any other small pasta shape that cooks quickly. Other options include acini di pepe, alphabet pasta, israeli couscous, or orzo. Cooking times will vary based on the shape, so always refer to the package instructions for specifics.

For a heartier version of this simple pasta recipe, you can add chicken pieces or chopped broccoli to the pastina. If you’re a fan of herbs, try adding some finely chopped parsley to the mixture. A pinch of grated Parmesan cheese also enhances the flavor and texture of this dish.

Adding a pinch of salt and pepper to the egg before mixing it into the hot pasta helps temper the eggs, which prevents them from scrambling when they come into contact with the hot pasta. It also makes the egg mixture easier to emulsify into a creamy sauce. It’s important to stir well until the pasta, butter, egg, and cheese are all combined.


A warm bowl of pastina is the ultimate Italian comfort food especially when you’re sick or just feeling blah. It’s quick and easy to make, feels like a big hug from mom in a bowl and tastes delicious!

Pastina literally means “little pasta”. It’s the tiniest pasta shapes and can be found in many different varieties. Some examples include acini de pepe (little peppercorns), anellini (little rings), stelline (little stars) and funghetti (little mushrooms). I typically use acini de pepe or stelline, but you can choose any small pasta shape that you enjoy.

This recipe only requires 6 ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to make. It is the perfect recipe for a busy weeknight dinner or when you’re feeling under the weather.

It’s important to cook the pasta al dente because it will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so don’t overcook it. Once the pasta is cooked, add butter and warmed milk. Stir well to combine and season with salt and pepper as needed. I like to sprinkle in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a hint of cheesiness and some texture, but it’s completely optional.

This pasta soup can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for a few days, but it’s best served immediately after preparation. The pasta will continue to absorb the liquid and can become mushy over time, so I recommend serving it as soon as possible to enjoy its creamy, cheesy goodness.