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Chicken Pastina Soup

Homemade Italian Chicken Pastina Soup is a deliciously heart-warming soup made from wonderful childhood memories in Nonna’s kitchen. The tiny  Acini di Pepe pairs perfectly with the rich chicken broth, tender small chunks of chicken breast, carrots, celery, onions, and fresh Italian herbs.

If you grew up in an Italian-American home, chances are you have had this fantastic Chicken Pastina Soup several times. This was the soup our family would make during the colder months or when we were under the weather, and though it was relatively simple to make, it was like a little bowl of heaven.

 

 

Homemade Italian Chicken Pastina Soup is a deliciously heart-warming soup that’s made from wonderful childhood memories in Nonna's kitchen. The tiny  Acini di Pepe pairs perfectly with the rich chicken broth, tender tiny chunks of chicken breast, carrots, celery, onions, and fresh Italian herbs.Pastina soup is more or less a poor man’s soup that my grandmother (Nonna) made when we were little. She shared with us many times that we were lucky. It was usually made very basic as a child, a  homemade chicken or vegetable broth, egg, and tiny pasta that was it. No more, no less, as she would say.  Over the years after moving to America, she started adding a few things to make it more hearty (extra celery, onions, carrots, and chicken)

When I make Chicken Pastina Soup for lunch or a light dinner, I usually prefer heavier veggies, Acini di Pepe (tiny pasta), and tender chicken. If I’m under the weather, I prefer the veggies finely chopped, a lighter amount of Acini di Pepe, and no meat. It’s a very forgiving recipe that you can alter by simply adding more or fewer ingredients.

 

 

 

Italian Chicken and Pastina SoupAs you can see, I have made a more hearty version of Chicken Pastina Soup with lots of vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions,  fresh parsley, extra Acini di Pepe, and tender chicken. Just the way our family loves it. I usually serve it with warm buttered crusty Italian bread and a straightforward salad. It’s the perfect meal to keep you cozy in the cooler months.

 

 

Equipment needed

  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Vegetable peeler *optional*
  • Cutting board
  • 5-quart Dutch Oven or Stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle

 

 

 

Ingredients Needed

*See the recipe card for exact measurements*

  • Precooked chicken breast
  • Acini di Pepe *may sub with other small pasta
  • Homemade chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Yellow onion
  • Fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper *optional

 

 

 

 

Chicken and Pastina Soup

 

 

 

Method

  1. In a 5-quart Dutch Oven or stockpot, bring the homemade chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Add the finely diced celery, carrots, yellow onion, kosher salt, and white pepper. Lower the heat slightly. Stirring occasionally. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender.
  2. Once the vegetables are tender, add the chopped pre-cooked chicken breasts and Acini di Pepe, Stirring occasionally until the Acini di Pepe is done, which should take about no more than 10 minutes on simmer.
  3. At the very end, stir in chopped fresh parsley and stir a few times.
  4. Ladle into your favorite soup bowls, top with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and serve with a salad and hot buttered crusty Italian bread

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What types of pasta can I substitute the Acini di Pepe with? You can use an actual Pastina that is star-shaped, Orzo, Israeli couscous,  or any tiny pasta such as alphabet pasta or ring pasta.
  2. I do not have any homemade chicken broth. Can I use store-bought? Absolutely, look for a quality low-sodium brand that doesn’t contain many preservatives and unnecessary ingredients.
  3. I like the flavor of carrots, celery, and onions but prefer a more clear broth. What can I do? In this case, you can cut the vegetables into larger pieces and use a slotted spoon to remove them before adding the other ingredients, which will allow you to have the flavor of them and a more clear broth.
  4. I do not have white pepper on hand. Can I use black pepper? Black pepper may be substituted for white pepper.
  5. How can I make this a vegetarian meal? You will need to omit the chicken breast and substitute low-sodium vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  6. I notice this has minimal seasoning. Can I add more herbs or spices? Chicken Pastina Soup does not contain a ton of herbs or seasoning when properly made. However, at your own risk, you can add whatever you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken and Pastina Soup
Print Recipe
5 from 26 votes

Chicken Pastina Soup

Homemade Italian Chicken Pastina Soup is a deliciously heart-warming soup made from wonderful childhood memories in Nonna’s kitchen. The tiny Acini di Pepe pairs perfectly with the rich chicken broth, tender small chunks of chicken breast, carrots, celery, onions, and fresh Italian herbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chicken, Pastina
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 196kcal
Author: hmccallum

Ingredients

  • 40 ounces homemade chicken broth +more may sub with low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 large carrot finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 2-6- ounce precooked chicken breasts skin removed, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste *optional
  • cups Acini di Pepe  *may sub with other small pasta
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to serve

Instructions

  • In a 5-quart Dutch Oven or stockpot, bring the homemade chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Add the finely diced celery, carrots, yellow onion, kosher salt, and white pepper. Lower the heat slightly. Stirring occasionally. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender.
  • Once the vegetables are tender, add the chopped pre-cooked chicken breasts and Acini di Pepe, Stirring occasionally until the Acini di Pepe is done, which should take about no more than 10 minutes on simmer.
  • At the very end, stir in chopped fresh parsley and stir a few times.
  • Ladle into your favorite soup bowls, top with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and serve with a salad and hot buttered crusty Italian bread

Notes

 

  1. What types of pasta can I substitute the Acini di Pepe with? You can use an actual Pastina that is star-shaped, Orzo, or any tiny pasta such as alphabet pasta or ring pasta.
  2. I do not have any homemade chicken broth. Can I use store-bought? Absolutely, look for a quality low-sodium brand that doesn't contain many preservatives and unnecessary ingredients.
  3. I like the flavor of carrots, celery, and onions but prefer a more clear broth. What can I do? In this case, you can cut the vegetables into larger pieces and use a slotted spoon to remove them before adding the other ingredients, which will allow you to have the flavor of them and a more clear broth.
  4. I do not have white pepper on hand. Can I use black pepper? Black pepper may be substituted for white pepper.
  5. How can I make this a vegetarian meal? You will need to omit the chicken breast and substitute low-sodium vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  6. I notice this has minimal seasoning. Can I add more herbs or spices? Chicken Pastina Soup does not contain a ton of herbs or seasoning when properly made. However, at your own risk, you can add whatever you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 11 | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2486IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

 

 

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Loreto Nardelli
    November 8, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    This recipe brings back so many memories. I grew up eating pastina. When you told me what your Nonna said about the poor man’s soup and they would have it pretty simple with broth and egg, that was the way we had it all the time. Thanks for sharing, and here’s to all those beautiful Nonnies! We enjoyed eating your version of Chicken Pastina Soup.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      November 12, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing those memories, Loreto! I love hearing them!

  • Reply
    Jessica Knott
    November 8, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    I am a huge soup fan, especially when it’s cold outside, and I need to pick a quick and grocery shop then have dinner on the table for the family. Even better, the ingredients are simple, and the Chicken Pastina Soup was delicious.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      November 12, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Me to Jessica! Though I have also been knowing to indulge in a favorite soup in the summer!!! LOL!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    November 8, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    This was such a lovely soup. Everyone has a chicken noodle soup they like to make, I am no different. This time I chose to make your recipe, exactly as you have written it. I used the pasta you suggested, Acini di Pepe (instant love), and followed your instructions on the seasonings. Simple, comforting, lovely flavors like a hug, that is what I felt enjoying your soup. I love all your recipes and this one, no surprise there, did not disappoint. Will be making it again. Thank you so much Heidy x

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      November 12, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you so much, Ms. Jenny!!! I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed the recipe and that it was easy to make.

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