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The Best Italian Pastina Recipe

Pastina Recipe; a soul-satisfying dish. Born from the rich culinary heritage of Italy, the pastina recipe has become a beloved staple in households around the world. Its small, delicate form and incredible versatility have made it a cherished comfort food for all ages.

In this article, we embark on a culinary journey to explore the heartwarming world of pastina recipes. From the origin of the pastina recipes, the shapes, and the health benefits, to the comforting recipes to try out at your family dinner.

Whether you’re seeking a quick and comforting weeknight meal or planning to impress guests with an elegant pasta creation, the pastina recipe holds the key to a world of simple yet exquisite flavours. So, don your apron and get ready to experience the comforting embrace of pastina as we present a collection of delightful recipes.

Pastina Recipe
Pastina Recipe

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Definition of Pastina and Origins

Pastina, also known as “pastine” in Italian, refers to a type of tiny pasta. The name “pastina” comes from the Italian word “pasta,” which means “paste” or “dough.” In the US, it is commonly called “pastine” or “pastini”. These tiny pasta shapes are made from wheat flour and water, like other pasta varieties, but their sizes and shapes can identify them.

Pastina recipe is often used in Italian cuisine for preparing soups and dishes suitable for babies and young children. Due to its small size, pastina cooks quickly and easily absorbs flavours from the broth or sauce it is cooked in, making it a popular choice for broths and light, comforting soups.

Some common shapes of pastina include stars, alphabets, circles, and grains. It is a versatile ingredient and can be used in various recipes beyond soups, such as casseroles, salads, and desserts. 

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Types of Pastina shapes and sizes

Pastina Shapes

There is no particular shape to pastina. They are generally just small-shaped pasta

Pastina comes in a variety of shapes, and some of the most common ones include

  1. Stars: Tiny star-shaped pasta, often used in soups and broth-based dishes.
  2. Alphabets: Alphabet pasta, also known as alphabetti spaghetti in the UK, is a pasta that has been pressed into the letters of the alphabet. It is often served in an alphabet soup, sold in a can of condensed broth
  1. Small pasta shapes in the form of letters of the alphabet, appealing to kids and often used in soups or pasta salads.
  1. Orzo: also known as risoni large [grains of] rice’), is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. Orzo is traditionally made from flour but can also be made of whole grain. 
  1. Acini di pepe: An Italian name for “seed of pepper”. It is also a form of pastina. They are known as a symbol of fertility, which is used in Italian wedding soup.  Acini di prepare is usually used in making soups and cold salads.  
  1. Ditalini: Short, tube-like pasta with straight-cut edges, ideal for soups and pasta salads. It is used to make pasta dishes, like pasta e Fagioli (pasta and beans)
  1. Anellini: Also known as anelletti tiny, ring-shaped pasta that is used for soup, baked dishes, and pasta salads.   
Pastina Recipe
Pastina Recipe

Popular Pastina Brands

Here are some well-known pastina brands:

  1. Barilla: Barilla is one of the most recognized pasta brands globally, offering a wide range of pasta products, including pastina in various shapes.
  2. De Cecco: An Italian brand known for producing high-quality pasta, De Cecco offers pastina and other pasta varieties made from durum wheat semolina.
  3. Ronzoni: Ronzoni is a popular pasta brand in the United States, known for its wide selection of pasta shapes, including pastina. However, they quit making pastina pasta as of January 2023.
  4. Colavita: Colavita is another well-known Italian brand that offers a variety of pasta products, including pastina.
  5. Garofalo: Garofalo is an Italian pasta brand with a long history of producing traditional pasta shapes, including pastina.
  6. La Molisana: La Molisana is an Italian pasta brand based in the Molise region, offering a range of pasta products, including pastina.
  7. Divella: Divella is an Italian pasta brand that has been producing pasta for over a century, including pastina.
  8. Rustichella d’Abruzzo: Known for its artisanal pasta products, Rustichella d’Abruzzo also produces pastina in traditional shapes.
  9. Giovanni Rana: Giovanni Rana is an Italian brand famous for its fresh pasta, but it also offers dry pasta, including pastina.
  10. San Giorgio: San Giorgio is a well-known pasta brand in the United States, offering various pasta shapes, including pastina.

Read Also: Saffron Rice Recipe

Nutritional Value Of Pastina Recipe

Pastina Recipe
Butter and milk Pastina recipe

Pastina is typically made from durum wheat semolina, a good carbohydrate and protein source. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, thiamine, and niacin. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional content of pastina per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 357
  • Carbohydrates: 75 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 3 grams
NUTRITION VALUESUNITS (per 2 oz )DAILY VALUE %
Calories200N/A
Fat Cal9N/A
Total Fat1 g1 %
Saturated Fat0 g0 %
Trans Fat0 gN/A
Cholesterol0 mg0 %
Sodium0 mg0 %
Potassium118 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate42 g15 %
Dietary Fiber3 g11 %
Soluble Fiber2 g0 %
Insoluble Fiber1 g0 %
Sugar1 g0 %
Protein7 g0 %
Vitamin A0 %N/A
Vitamin C0 %N/A
Calcium0 %N/A
Iron10 %N/A
Vitamin D0 %N/A
Thiamin40 %N/A
Riboflavin15 %N/A
Niacin30 %N/A
Folate50 %N/A
Pastina Recipe
Creamy tomato pastina

Health Benefits of Pastina Recipes

Pastina recipe offers several health benefits that contribute to overall well-being:

1. Provides Energy

With its abundance of carbohydrates, pastina is an excellent energy source, fueling the body and supporting an active lifestyle.

2. Supports Digestive Health

Rich in fibre, pastina promotes healthy digestion, prevents constipation, and aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Boosts Immune System

Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, pastina strengthens the immune system, safeguarding the body against infections and diseases.

4. Supports Bone Health

Enriched with iron and B vitamins, pastina plays a vital role in maintaining robust bones and safeguarding against conditions like osteoporosis.

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Pastina Soup Recipe

Pastina Recipe
Pastina Recipe

Ingredients for Pastina Recipe

  • 32 oz of water
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • (optional: 1 tsp vegetable or chicken bouillon)
  • 2 stalks of celery, leave whole to remove or chopped into pieces if you want to leave it in the soup
  • 1 large carrot, cut into pieces as desired
  • 2 shallots or 1 medium onion
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp pastina of choice (acini di pepe, orzo, alphabet, etc., or you can break spaghetti into little pieces) (if you have no pasta see the recipes below)
  • 1 egg

Instructions

Make the broth.

  • Put the water, oil, bouillon (if using), celery, carrots, shallots, onion, and salt into a pot and bring to a boil. If you have celery leaves, you can add those, too.

Add the pastina.

  • Lower the heat so the soup simmers for 15 to 20 minutes, then add the pastina. Cook until the pastina is ready then remove any of the ingredients you don’t want to serve, for example, stalks of celery and/or celery leaves.

Add the egg.

  • Break an egg into the pot and swirl with a fork until cooked. Taste for salt and add if needed. Serve immediately. 

Notes

For children, you can always pop an ice cube in their bowl. Not only does it make it safer for them not to get burnt, but they love watching it melt, and it teaches them about the reaction of hot with cold.

Pastina Recipe Soup

Classic Pastina Recipe Soup with Vegetable

Pastina Recipe
Vegetable soup pastina recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 lb of Green Beans, trimmed
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Few Sprigs of Parsley
  • Few Sprigs of Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pastina of choice
  • Freshly grated parm
  • Rind from a piece of Parmigiano

Instructions

  • In a large soup pot filled with water, add all your veggies, including herbs, along with a generous pinch of salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the Parm rind and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  • Once the veggies are cooked, remove the rind, carefully pass them through a food mill (you can also just puree them in a blender or using a handheld blender), add the puree back in the broth, bring to a boil, add pastina and cook according to package instructions.
  • Serve with an extra sprinkle of Parm and a drizzle of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on!

See Also: Hunan Chicken Recipe

Creamy Tomato and Basil Pastina Recipe

Pastina recipe
Creamy tomato and basil Pastina

Creamy tomato and basil pastina is a delightful and comforting pasta dish that combines the flavours of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a creamy sauce. It’s a simple and quick recipe that makes for a satisfying meal, especially on chilly days. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pastina (or any small pasta shape like stars or alphabets)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • ½  cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • ¼  cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼  cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes for a hint of spice

Instructions:

  • Cook the pastina: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pastina according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  • Prepare the sauce: In a separate large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they become soft and translucent.
  • Add garlic and tomatoes: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Then, add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you want a little spice in your sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce: Lower the heat and let the tomato sauce simmer for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cream and basil: Pour in the heavy cream or half-and-half into the tomato sauce, stirring gently to combine. Let the sauce cook for a few more minutes until it thickens slightly. Then, stir in the chopped fresh basil, reserving some for garnishing.
  • Combine the sauce and pasta: Add the cooked pastina to the tomato and basil cream sauce, tossing gently to coat the pasta evenly.
  • Serve: Plate the creamy tomato and basil pastina and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and some additional chopped basil on top for added flavour and presentation.

Chicken Noodle Pastina Recipe

Pastina Recipe
Chicken Noodle pastina recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (divided use)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ medium yellow onion (or white, red)
  • 3 medium celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots
  • 6 cups chicken stock (1 ½ quarts)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ pound pastina (Acini di pepe or stelline. See notes.)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)

Instructions

  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a soup pot and place it over medium heat. Use a long spoon to push the oil around the bottom of the pan, so it completely covers the bottom. Heat the oil until it’s sizzling.
  • When the oil is sizzling, pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and add them to the pot with tongs. In a tiny bowl, stir together ¼ teaspoon of garlic, ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Season the chicken with this mixture. Let the chicken sear on the first side for five minutes until it’s golden brown.
  • While the chicken is simmering, prepare the vegetables. Peel half an onion and chop it. Rinse the celery, scrap any dirt, and trim the ends. Cut the celery into small pieces (dice). Rinse the carrots and peel them. Trim off the ends. Cut the carrots into small pieces like the celery.
  • When the chicken has simmered for seven minutes, use tongs to remove the chicken to a large bowl to cool for a couple of minutes. You will be shredding the chicken after you get the vegetables going in the pan.
  • While the chicken is cooling off a bit, add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot over medium-high heat and give them a stir. Sauté the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the carrots and celery are soft. It could take 15 minutes. If the liquid evaporates during this time, you can add a little stock to the pan so the veggies don’t burn.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way is to use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to shred the chicken on a low setting. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use two forks to shred the chicken. The chicken should be cooked through, but if it seems slightly undercooked, it will finish cooking later in the soup.
  • Add the rest of the chicken stock and 3 cups of water to the pot when the vegetables are tender. Stir in ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper. Cover the pot, increase the heat to high, and let the soup come to a boil.
  • When it is boiling, add the pastina to the pot. Lower the heat slightly, give the pasta a stir, and boil it for 10 minutes or until al dente. Do not drain it.
  • After 10 minutes, stir in the shredded chicken and ⅓ cup grated Parmesan. Lower the heat and let the pot simmer for a couple of minutes until the chicken is heated through. Taste to see if any additional salt is needed.
  • Serve immediately by ladling some soup with pastina into each bowl. Sprinkle Parmesan (or Romano) on each serving. Any pastina left in the pot will absorb the broth quickly, so use a slotted spoon to remove the pastina from a separate container so it can be refrigerated later.

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Pasta Pastina Recipe

Pastina Recipe
Capresse Pastina

Capresse Pastina Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. casarecce, penne, or any short pasta 
  • ⅔  c. plus 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ⅓  c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼  tsp. ground black pepper 
  • 4 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 16 oz. small mozzarella balls or pearls
  • 1 c. chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Return pasta to pot and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup oil, vinegar, grated garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add tomatoes and mozzarella to the dressing and toss to coat. Let marinate while the pasta cools, about 15 minutes.
  • Add cooled pasta to tomato mixture and toss to coat. Stir in the basil. Garnish with more basil and red pepper flakes if you like.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pastina Recipe

Pastina Recipe

Ingredients Garlic Shrimp Pastina Recipe

for 4 servings

  • 8 oz linguine(225 g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 ¼ lb large shrimp(570 g)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups baby spinach(160 g)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese(25 g), grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation

  • In a large pot, boil water and add pasta. Cook (stirring frequently) until al dente.
  • Drain and set pasta aside.
  • In the same pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook until fragrant.
  • Toss in shrimp, salt and pepper to taste, and stir until shrimp start to turn pink but are not fully cooked.
  • Add oregano and spinach, and cook until wilted.
  • Return cooked pasta to the pot, and add remaining butter, parmesan, and parsley. Stir until well mixed, and the butter is melted.
  • Add lemon juice, mix once more when the shrimp are cooked, then serve while hot.

Read Also: Easy Steak Tips and Recipes

Conclusion

Pastina recipes epitomise comfort food’s essence – simple, nourishing, and heartwarming. These delightful dishes evoke feelings of cosiness and contentment from the first spoonful to the last epitomise.

Whether you’re preparing a bowl of stars and alphabets for little ones or indulging in a creamy tomato and basil delight, patsina’s versatility makes it a go-to option for any occasion.

With its rich history and cherished place in Italian cuisine, pastina recipes continue to capture the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts worldwide. Its ability to transform into a satisfying meal with just a handful of ingredients has made it a pantry staple for generations.

As you venture into the world of pastina recipes, don’t be afraid to get creative. Add your favourite vegetables, experiment with different sauces, or top it off with a sprinkle of your preferred cheese. After all, cooking is an art, and pastina recipes offer the perfect canvas for your culinary masterpieces.

FAQ

What is the cooking time for pastina?

The cooking time for pastina is relatively short compared to larger pasta shapes. It typically takes around 5 to 7 minutes to cook pastina to an al dente texture. However, cooking times may vary slightly depending on the brand and thickness of the pastina, so it’s best to check the package instructions for specific cooking times.

Can I use pastina in cold pasta salads?

Yes, you can use pastina in cold pasta salads. Pastina’s small size and quick cooking time make it a suitable addition to cold salads. After cooking the pastina, you can cool it down quickly by rinsing it with cold water, and then toss it with your preferred salad ingredients and dressing.

Is pastina suitable for infants and toddlers?

Yes, pastina is suitable for infants and toddlers, especially when cooked to a soft texture. Its tiny size and tender consistency make it easy for young children to eat. Pastina is often considered a good option for introducing pasta to infants and toddlers as they transition to solid foods.

What are some pastina soup recipes?

Here are two simple pastina soup recipes:

Pastina Chicken Soup: In a pot, bring chicken broth to a simmer, then add cooked shredded chicken, cooked pastina, and diced vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions. Season with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs like parsley or thyme.
Tomato and Pastina Soup: In a pot, sauté diced onions and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add canned crushed tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, and cooked pastina. Simmer for a few minutes, and then season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar for balance.

What are the ingredients in pastina?

The ingredients in pastina are simple and typically consist of durum wheat semolina and water. Sometimes, manufacturers may enrich pastina with vitamins and minerals to boost its nutritional content. Overall, the basic ingredients in pastina are durum wheat semolina and water.