Chicken Soup with Pastina

Monday 21 February 2022

Chicken Soup with Pastina


We are having a very wintery/cold day as I am writing this. (Sunday)  To my way of thinking, this is a perfect soup day.  Also, one of my friends was feeling a bit under the weather, so I wanted to make some soup to take over to her.

I had seen this recipe for Brodo di Pollo con Pastina (Chicken Soup with Pastina) on the New York Times site the other day, attributed to Naz Deravian.  I was intrigues and immediately printed it out.  

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

It was quite a bit different than your typical chicken noodle soup.  Using very simple ingredients and a very simple method of preparation.

There was no need to make a stock or even to use chicken stock.   Everything was prepared simply and in one pan.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked simply in water with aromatics (onion, celery, carrots, garlic) and some olive oil.

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

I was intrigued.  A soup which doesn't start off with a stock???   Would this be as delicious as it sounded??????  Would it be as delicious as my normal chicken noodle soup??????

I had to try it and today was the day!   I did cut the quantities in half and I will say even cut in half it was very generous!

Chicken Soup with Pastina



The list could not be simpler. 

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound) 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 1/2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 TBS kosher salt, or to taste 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 1/2  large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch half moons 
  • 1 1/2  large celery ribs, sliced into ¼-inch half moons 
  • 1 fat garlic clove,  peeled and finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoons tomato paste/puree 
  • 1/4 cup pastina, such as Acini di Pepe, or orzo (about 2 ounces) 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley 
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

Pastina is Italian for "tiny pasta." It is something which Italian children grow up with and is generally cooked in broth.  You can get it in star shapes, rounds, etc.  

You can use any tiny pasta for this, or even noodles broken into tiny pieces.  I used Acini de Pepi because I actually had some in my cupboard. You could use orzo, or even Ditalini.  Just so long as it is small.

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

I loved that it used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I always have those in my freezer.  They come in handy for all sorts. I also always have the aromatics on hand.

Aromatics are vegetables which add flavor and aroma to a dish.  Vegetables such as celery, onions, carrots, etc.  When cooked together these ingredients help to create delicious layers of flavor in your food. 

Chicken Soup with Pastina 


You begin by cooking your chicken.  Place the chicken into a large saucepan with a quantity of cold water.  (5 cups) Partially cover the saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat.

Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't boil over.  A scum or foam will rise to the top. Just skim that off and discard it. (A metal spoon works wonders here.)

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

Add the sliced onion,  the olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper to the soup. Give it a good stir and bring back to a low boil.   Cover completely and then reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for a good 10 minutes.

At the end of that time add the carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste. Give everything another good stir to help to dissolve the tomato paste into the broth.

Bring the soup back to a gentle boil, then reduce to medium low, cover and cook for a full half an hour.  Stir occasionally.

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

Taste and adjust seasoning as required with salt and pepper.  Remove the chicken breast to a bowl.

Add the pastini to the soup, stir and bring back to a gentle boil, then cover and reduce to medium low again and cook to al dente according to the package directions.  Give it a stir every now and then to make sure it isn't sticking.

Chicken Soup with Pastina 

While the pasta is cooking, shred the chicken with two forks.  At the end of the pasta cooking time, return the chicken to the saucepan along with the parsley.

Cover and simmer for a further 2 minutes to heat through.

Chicken Soup with Pastina
And that's it!  Your soup is done.  Ladle it into heated bowls and pass the parmesan.  Freshly grated please! 

I know that's not always possible, but if you can get it and grate your own please do!

I would think this is one of those soups that you could add a cheese rind to when the soup is cooking and that would also add some fabulous flavors!!!  

Do you save your cheese rinds?  I do.  I have them in a baggie in the freezer! Just waiting to be added to sauces and soups. I break them into smaller pieces before freezing. That way they go further.

Chicken Soup with Pastina

This was quite simply a beautiful soup. It went together quickly and had beautiful flavors!  I really enjoyed it.  I had some crusty rolls in the freezer so I thawed a couple of them out to have along side, sending  one over to my friend along with a small plastic container of the soup.

I dare say we both enjoyed it very much.   Especially on a day that was cold and blustery. It went down a real treat!

Chicken Soup with Pastina

Chicken Soup with Pastina

Yield: 3
Author: Marie Rayner
Cook time: 1 H & 10 MTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
The Italian name for this soup is Brodo di Pollo con Pastina, or chicken soup with tiny pasta. Its simple to make, delicious and cooks all in one pot for a simple and easy to clean up meal.


  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast portion
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced and cut into 1/4 inch thick half moons
  • 1 1/2 large celery sticks trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick half moons
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp tomato puree/paste
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) pastini such as Acini di Pepe or Orzo
  • 2 TBS chopped minced fresh parsley
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve


  1. Place the chicken into a saucepan along with 5 cups of water (1.1 litre/1182.9 ml) Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce. Skim off any foam and discard. Add the onion, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir, bring back to a slight boil, reduce to medium low, cover. and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste, giving it all a good stir to blend in the tomato paste. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to low, cover, and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
  4. Remove chicken to a bowl. Add the pasta and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook on medium low for the time required as per the package of pasta.
  5. Shred the chicken. Return to the soup along with the parsley. Stir, cover, and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Serve ladled into heated bowls, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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Chicken Soup with Pastina

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  1. Replies
    1. No, no chicken broth in the recipe and its delicious. I was surprised as well! xo

  2. Thanks for sharing such an amazing Content.

  3. This looks really interesting. But, around 40 mins for cooking the chicken breast. Is that not too much? We want to start eating more soups for a lighter diet.

    1. That is the time required. I adapted the recipe from the New York Times and to be honest it is a really delicious soup. xo


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