Two Kooks » ALL RECIPES » Soups and Stews » Easy Pastina Soup With Veggies

Easy Pastina Soup With Veggies

Pastina soup – Italian chicken noodle soup – is a comforting soup in a bowl. I like to add veggies to bump up the nutrition, but that’s up to you (and what the kids will eat!). A deliciously satisfying one pot meal. 

Pastina means ‘little pasta’. It comes in a box in the pasta section of the grocery store. Or you can use any tiny pasta to make this pastina in brodo (pasta in broth). 

ladle with pastina soup over pot of soup

I make this pasta soup with broth, veggies and pastina. Some Italian versions add an egg or a parmesan rind – options you can try too.

Needless to say, a homemade chicken broth is more authentic, but bouillon or broth in a box works just fine for a simple weeknight meal. Especially if you use a flavorful broth. 

This chicken pastina soup recipe brings back fond memories of lunch with chicken noodle soup in the old days. My Italian son in law calls it Italian penicillin 🙂

What to expect

  • A perfect meal in a bowl on a cold day the whole family can enjoy. With extra veggies and a side of warm crusty Italian bread, it’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner – nutritious and low calorie. 
  • The soup comes together in 22 minutes. 
  • You can experiment with lots of variations to make it your own.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

chicken broth, pastina, chopped veggies, onions, spinach, oil
Simple ingredients – in fact, pastina is known as a poor man’s soup.

Pastina pasta: tiny little pasta. Alternatively, use acini de pepe, alphabet pasta (kids love these), stelline or orzo.

Chicken broth: Get the most flavorful rich chicken broth you can. I find Better Than Bouillon Roast Chicken paste very good. My other go-to is an undiluted full strength broth like Campbell’s in a can because I can use less water than called for which adds more intense flavor. See FAQs for the New York Time’s taste test on chicken broths.

Vegetables: I typically use carrots, celery (or bok choy, pictured), onions and baby spinach. Other good options are snap peas, kale, swiss chard or cut up green beans. Veggies aren’t typical in this soup. I use them to boost the ‘healthy’ factor. Almost any will do – it’s a great way to use up those wilting veggies in the fridge.

Variations:

  • add a parmesan rind while cooking the soup or parmesan cheese at the end.
  • add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving to brighten up the soup
  • stir in an egg at the end of cooking (it will cook in the chicken broth)
  • add a tablespoon of pesto
  • for a vegetarian version, Roasted Vegetable Better Than Bouillon makes an excellent vegetable broth
  • make a homemade soup – here’s a recipe for chicken soup and instant pot turkey soup (you can use chicken instead)
  • add cut up leftover or rotisserie chicken for a more hearty soup.
  • garnish with fresh herbs like dill, cilantro, chives or basil.

Step by step instructions

Sauté onions until slightly caramelized for extra flavor. Add veggies and sauté another few minutes.

Add chicken stock or broth. Then pastina.

pastina soup cooking in pot on stove
Cook soup on a slow boil until pastina is cooked to al dente or softer if you like.
ladle with pastina soup over pot of soup
Add baby spinach and let it wilt for a minute. Taste and adjust seasoning.
bowl of pastina soup on white plate
Serve immediately.

Tips

  1. Pastina will almost double in size when cooked, so don’t add too much. If it absorbs most of the broth (especially overnight in the fridge), just add more broth or water.
  2. Sautéing the onions until slightly caramelized will add extra flavor to the soup. You can also add a bit of onion powder if you like.

FAQs

What is pastina?

Pastina means ‘little pasta’. It’s made with wheat flour and sometimes egg in small pasta shapes – often a tiny star-shaped pasta.

What is the difference between condensed chicken broth and chicken broth?

Condensed chicken broth is undiluted. You have to add water to it. Chicken broth is sold as a finished product where water is already added. Here’s a good article on condensed chicken broth vs chicken broth – and when to use them.

What is the best store-bought chicken broth to buy?

New York Times did a taste test on the best store-bought chicken broths. The top two included Treasures Organic Bone Broth (found in Costco) and a Target house brand. For a bouillon or paste brand, try Roasted Chicken Better Than Bouillon. Just add water.

Shortcuts

  • Cook the pastina separately (not directly in the soup).
    • The downside is an extra pot.
    • The upsides are: less starch in the soup, you will save about 5 minutes (ok, that’s not a lot) and you can keep the pastina separate if you have leftovers and add it when reheating the soup. This will avoid the pasta absorbing all the broth. I do this all the time.
  • Skip the extra veggies for less chopping. I would still keep the onions and spinach.

Make Ahead

To make earlier in the day:

  • As the soup sits at room temperature or in the fridge, the pastina will absorb some broth so you might need to add a splash of water or broth when reheating.
  • Alternatively, make the soup and veggies without the pastina. About 10 minutes before serving, bring the soup to a boil, add the pastina, lower to medium heat and cook until tender.
  • A third option is to cook the pastina in a separate pot while the soup cooking, then add it to the chicken soup when serving.

To store: Place the soup in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave with extra water or broth if needed.

To freeze: If you want to freeze the soup, make the soup and pastina separately – and freeze them separately for up to 2 months.

What to serve with pastina soup

ladle with pastina soup over pot of soup

More broth soups

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks!

bowl of pastina soup on white plate
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

5 from 3 votes

Easy Pastina Soup With Veggies

Pastina soup – an Italian chicken noodle soup – is comfort in a bowl. I like to add veggies to bump up the nutrition, but that's up to you (and what the kids will eat!). Deliciously satisfying. 
Prep Time6 mins
Cook Time16 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course, soups and starters
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 sweet onion)
  • 2 cups diced carrots or mix of veggies, Note 1 (the smaller the dice, the quicker the veggies will cook)
  • 6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock, Note 2 (or vegetable broth)
  • 3/4 cup pastina, Note 3
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped (or kale or swiss chard)
  • salt and black pepper to taste (amount of salt depends on saltiness of broth)

Optional add-ins

  • Parmesan rind (while cooking soup), shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (chives, dill, basil), Parmesan cheese, splash of lemon juice

Instructions

  • SAUTÉ ONIONS AND VEGETABLES: Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized. This will add good flavor to the soup. Add carrots and any other veggies you're using. Sauté another 2-3 minutes.
  • COOK SOUP: Add chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup). Cook for 5 minutes to soften the veggies. They will will cook more with the broth. If you cut the veggies larger, they will take longer to cook.
  • ADD PASTINA: Bring soup to a boil. Add pastina. Lower heat to get a slow rolling boil and cook until pastina is al dente or as tender as you like it. About 5-6 minutes.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Add baby spinach. Stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with herbs, parmesan cheese or lemon juice if you like and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Vegetable options: The recipe calls for two cups of carrots, but I like to do a combination of carrots and celery (or bok choy). You can also snap peas or cut up green beans if you like. Or whatever you have hanging around. If you add a lot of extra veggies, I suggest increasing the amount of broth. 
  2. Chicken broth options: I like to use a canned condensed broth (add less water than called for for a more intense flavor). I also find Better Than Bouillon Roast Chicken paste very good. Of course, a homemade broth would be perfect too 🙂 
  3. Pastina options: pastina, acini de pepe, alphabet pasta, stelline, orzo. Note that orzo is larger and will take an extra few  minutes to cook. 
  4. Variations for add ins:
    • add a parmesan rind while cooking the soup or parmesan cheese at the end.
    • add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the soup
    • whisk in an egg at the end of cooking (it will cook in the chicken broth)
    • add a tablespoon of pesto
    • for a vegetarian version, Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable makes an excellent vegetable broth
    • make a homemade soup – here’s a recipe for chicken soup and instant pot turkey soup (you can use chicken instead)
    • add shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken
  5. Make ahead:
    • To make earlier in the day:
      • As the soup sits at room temperature or the fridge, the pastina will absorb some broth so you might need to add a splash of water or broth when reheating.
      • Alternatively, make the soup and veggies without the pastina. About 10 minutes before serving, bring the soup to a boil, add the pastina, lower to medium heat and cook until tender.
      • A third option is to cook the pastina in a separate pot while the soup cooking, then add it to the chicken soup when serving.
    • To store: Place the soup in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave with extra water or broth if needed.
    • To freeze: If you want to freeze the soup, make the soup and pastina separately – and freeze them separately for up to 2 months.
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include extra add-ins or garnish. 

Nutrition

Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 1108mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 8540IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

    1. The recipe calls for 2 cups of finely diced carrots and celery combined (not 2 cups of each), but of course you vary that as you like e.g. only carrots, carrots and another veggie or even 3 cups of diced veggies. It’s pretty flexible. Hope that helps. Thanks for asking – I’ll make that clearer in the ingredients section.