Brodo di Pollo con Pastina (Chicken Soup With Pastina) Recipe (2024)

By Naz Deravian

Brodo di Pollo con Pastina (Chicken Soup With Pastina) Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 10 minutes
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Pastina means “tiny pasta,” and it’s often the first pasta shape Italian children are introduced to, typically cooked in broth. Pastina comes in a variety of shapes, like little stars and rounds. For this recipe, you can use any tiny shape you like, or use noodles broken into small pieces. Typically, the pastina is precooked in a separate pot and added to each soup bowl alongside shredded chicken, but this version cooks everything together for an easy one-pot meal. And this comforting chicken soup does not require premade or even store-bought broth: Instead, boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook in water with aromatics like onion, carrots, celery and garlic — and a good drizzle of olive oil — for a rich, flavorful broth that comes together fairly quickly.

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Yield:6 servings

  • 2large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2tablespoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), or to taste
  • ½teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼teaspoon black pepper
  • 3large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch half moons
  • 3large celery ribs, sliced into ¼-inch half moons
  • 3garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2teaspoons tomato paste
  • ½cup pastina, such as Acini di Pepe, or orzo (about 4 ounces)
  • ½cup finely chopped parsley
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

259 calories; 9 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 21 grams protein; 458 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Brodo di Pollo con Pastina (Chicken Soup With Pastina) Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Place the chicken and 10 cups of water in a large pot. Partly cover and bring to a boil over high heat, keeping a close eye so that it doesn’t overflow and skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

  2. Step


    Add the onion, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper; stir and allow to come back up to a gentle boil. Cover completely, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste, stirring to incorporate the tomato paste. I ncrease the heat to high and allow to come back up to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.

  3. Step


    Remove the cooked chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the pastina to the soup, stir and increase the heat to high and allow to come back up to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente, stirring occasionally.

  4. Step


    While the pasta cooks, shred the chicken with a fork. Add the shredded chicken and parsley to the soup, stir, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.



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Cooking Notes


Please don't boil chicken breasts; it makes them tough. I've been cooking for 55 years and I never 'boil' a soup. Simmer and skim until scum stops rising; add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer, with lid ajar; simmer until vegetables are tender. Garlic powder? Sacre bleu. Smash 3 garlic cloves to add instead of chopping.I used low sodium chicken stock instead of water. Chicken breasts in water delivers very little chicken flavor, bone-in is better; also it could use a sprig of thyme.


I will make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken. The extra 30 seconds of pulling the meat off the bone as you shred it is easily outweighed by the superior flavor and texture of the broth.

Anne La Rocco Forcinito

I grew up eating this chicken soup. Our mom used Acini di Pepe instead of the finer pasta, Pastina. Also she used the whole chicken for richer flavor and no garlic. She made the soup most Monday nights and I remember looking forward to it each week. It was delicious!


Over the past few years, I've made this soup at least 100 times. Here's what works for me. Use bone- in thighs for the most flavor...add breast if you want white meat, but boiling breasts alone results doesn't cut it. Simmer the thighs with the veggies for at least 90 minutes or until the meat falls off when you pick one up. Debone the meat and cut up the breasts if you used them. Toss the veggies and add fresh diced carrots and celery to you liking and add the pastina. Simmer for 10min. Enjoy.

James S

Cooking the pasta in the broth lets it absorb the soup's flavors. The problem is that if there are leftovers, the pasta continues to cook and blows up. I cook the pasta on the side in strained broth and if there's left overs we chill and store it separately. Also use whole chicken and use the extra meat for something else.


This is at least the third recipe featured in the NYT in the last few months where chicken parts are essentially boiled along with other ingredients and then shredded and placed back in the soup or similar. I applaud this trend which leads to an easy to prepare and delicious main course in a short time, and with plenty left over for another meal. Well done NYT!


So really, you haven't done this soup 100 times or even once. You just made another version of chicken soup.


I put my whole chicken in a cheese cloth & cook. The cheese cloth prevents little bones & unidentifiable pieces of chicken from getting into the broth, but allows every bit of flavour in!

Chris Anderson

This is my wife's Italian grandmother's recipe almost exactly! We just got her recipe a few months back. The major difference is that she used a full bird, which does make for some more work shredding the meat, but also creates a deeper broth with a great amount of gelatin. She also would keep all the cooked ingredients separate and make a bowl at a time. This soup helped me get over a certain illness that shall not be named recently!


It’s rare to see a recipe with pastina, a little off topic, but FYI to those who are unfamiliar with pastina. One of my favorite childhood dishes was pastina and cottage cheese. If you ever have swallowing issues or need a light, healthy and fast dish, just cook and strain the pastina, add salt and pep, place in your bowl with the cottage cheese. Delizioso!


I am not sure if 2 TBSPs of salt is a typo, but I used 1/2 of that and it was still very salty. I would add a lot less and then season to taste at the end next time.


I agree with using chicken with bone in.Flavor is lot more


Boneless, skinless chicken breasts ARE flavorless. I avoid them unless they are pounded and dredged in a breadcrumb coating and baked, or in a soup where the breasts absorb lots of flavors. But to make chicken broth? Mine must always have some bones and/or mixed meats.


This is an Italian classic during the winter and it did bring back many fond memories! Italian children will often want a fresh egg gently whisked or stirred in their hot chicken soup or their absolute favourite: a formaggino, a soft cheese slice or wedge that melts into the soup.


We hit that “ we need chicken soup” part of the season today, and having marked this just yesterday it felt like fate. I didn’t have any kind of chicken w/bones, so I used the chicken breasts I had on hand. Now, I recognize what I’m about to say next is sacrilege to any Italian, of which I am!—I added a big spoonful of miso paste to the broth for umami. Chefs kiss! We all enjoyed the soup, I cooked the pasta separately with the hope to freeze the rest for the next time we need it!


I just made this as written with orzo. Delicious! Altho very salty. I actually measured the 2 tablespoons of salt. I would adjust this to 1 1/2 tablespoons. I like it salty, but this was a little too much.

M/R Cooper

This is very close to Jaime Oliver’s “Chicken Stew” which we make often. Jaime adds a butter tarragon lemon juice mix at the end for a bit more richness and French flavor. I cut veg in larger slices on extreme diagonal for more interest and add 8 c chicken stock and chicken thighs (recipe calls for a whole chicken) to start instead of water for more intense flavor.


I used a whole chicken instead of just chicken breast to add more flavor. I also added 3-4 teaspoons of chicken base ‘better than boullion” cuz I needed more flavor and depth in the broth. Also, increased the tomato paste to 5 teaspoons. It was yummy with these changes.


Tasty but quite a lot of work [can anyone except a super chef do all that chopping and simmering in an hour and ten minutes?], and not very filling. I used 7 cups of canned chicken broth an three cups of water. If I make it again I would just us 7 or 8 cups of broth, and maybe more pasta.


This is a banger. Perfect every time!

Nicole Ann

This recipe is delicious. Following other notes, I took the chicken breasts out after about 20 min so it didn’t overcook, then shredded and added back in along with some frozen peas during the last couple of minutes of the pastina cooking. I also added dried tarragon and parsley, about 7 smashed garlic cloves, and a little chicken bouillon to boost flavor. When I took the soup off the heat, I squeezed in half a lemon, which took the flavor to the next level.


This was possibly the best chicken pastina soup I’ve ever made! I used two breasts and 2 legs and covered with water to make a broth, adding celery, onion, carrots and a bayleaf for a richer broth. After brining it to a low boil, I lowered the heat and simmered for about 1 1/2 hours….pulled the chicken out and put the stock thru a sieve.( A basic chicken stock)I continued with the recipe as written and perfection! With freshly grated Italian parm. It’s a wonderful winter lunch/ dinner.


Used bone in, skin on chicken thighs because I had them. Added some fresh rosemary and thyme. Skimmed off a lot of scum at the beginning and a bit more later on.Rave reviews. Served with lemon wedges.


This is a hit at my house and even for larger family gatherings. I add a t of crushed fennel seed and use passata instead of the tomato paste. (I feel like I can always taste the can.) Very good recipe.


Finally got around to trying this today. After looking at the notes from others I was a little apprehensive that it wouldn’t have a depth of much chicken flavor. I added 4 teaspoons of chicken powder to alleviate this concern. It was just right. This will become a new house favorite.


The chicken ends up tough and leathery, and the flavor is lacking. As other readers mentioned, this is due to the boiled chicken. I had to add too much salt to make it taste like anything but slightly chickeny tomato water. Will not make again.


This is such a comforting soup, made many times. I now make it with 4c chicken broth and 6c water resulting in a richer broth, but either way it’s delicious


I used a $3.50 package of (5) chicken drumsticks and they were perfect, not to mention easy to shred with a fork. This recipe delivers every time and also freezes well for when you need the comfort of a flavorful bowl of soup but lack the ingredients or time.


Had to make some substitutions due to time and ingredients. Shredded a rotisserie chicken and added it at the end. After sautéing the veggies, added chicken broth and an additional tsp of tomato paste then gently boiled orzo (bc my local did not have pastina, will have to pick that up next time I’m at the Italian grocer) in the soup. As many noted, it’s a lot of salt as written so I just seasoned to taste at the end with a little salt and lot of fresh black pepper. My Sicilian husband was happy


I find the ongoing commentary regarding which parts of the animal make a better soup quite irritating. The great thing about this recipe is that it WORKS with breast (also to my surprise). It also makes the soup more delicate. I do like a real chicken broth just as much but this version delivers a very good result with limited time and effort.

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Brodo di Pollo con Pastina (Chicken Soup With Pastina) Recipe (2024)


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