Pastina

published Apr 27, 2022
Pastina Recipe

This classic Italian comfort food is super simple to put together.

Serves6 to 8

Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
a bowl of Pastina (a variety of pasta consisting of tiny pieces of pasta)
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Pastina is classic Italian comfort food. It’s the kind of dish that a mom might serve her kids when they are feeling under the weather, and is often one of the first solid foods a baby might eat. It’s a nostalgic childhood treat in Italy and something your kids are sure to enjoy as well.

The preparation of this dish is simple. Small-shaped pasta is cooked with broth until most of the liquid is absorbed. While the mixture is still warm, an egg is immediately stirred into the mixture. I like to add some grated Parmesan cheese along with the egg for added flavor and creaminess. The seasoning is simple: Just a bit of black pepper and maybe a pinch of salt, depending on the saltiness of your broth and cheese.

What Kind of Pasta Is Pastina?

Pastina is Italian for “tiny pasta.” Depending on the brand, you will sometimes find this diminutive pasta labeled pastina on the box. If you have trouble finding pasta specifically labeled pastina, there are many small pasta varieties that will work with this recipe. Try acini de pepe (Italian for “peppercorns”), anellini (“little rings”), stelline (“little stars”), funghetti (“little mushrooms”), or alfabeti (“alphabets”).

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

What’s the Difference Between Orzo and Pastina?

Pastina is a very small pasta shape that is different from orzo. While orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta, it is a bit larger than pastina.

Does Pastina Have Raw Egg?

No. In this recipe, one egg is added to the cooked pastina and the dish is stirred together quickly; the residual heat from the boiled pasta cooks the egg immediately. This adds rich flavor and creamy texture to the dish.

Pastina Recipe

This classic Italian comfort food is super simple to put together.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated), plus more for garnish

  • 4 cups

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided

  • 1 (12-ounce) box

    dried pastina pasta

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 firmly packed cup), or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated.

  2. Measure 3 cups of the broth into a large saucepan. Add 1 (12-ounce) box pastina and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to cooking, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente and there is a small amount of liquid left in the pan, about 6 minutes. (Add the remaining 1 cup broth a little at a time as needed if you need more liquid.)

  3. Turn off the heat. Immediately add the Parmesan, 1 large egg, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Quickly stir to incorporate the egg into the warm pasta and melt the cheese. Serve topped with more grated Parmesan or freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover pastina can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Add more broth to loosen when reheating.