Easy Pastina Pasta

Pastina pasta in pan and three bowls.

Cozy, fast, and satisfying, this Pastina is a favorite Italian-American staple. It’s perfect for feeding a cold or illness or as a fast comfort food—for babies, toddlers, and adults. Serve it plain or add in some peas, up to you.

Pastina pasta in pan and three bowls.

Pastina Pasta

This recipe, along with buttered pasta, is what I think of when I think “toddler pasta” because it’s cozy, easy, and easy for the kids to eat. And the simple ingredients (and cheese) are often a hit with little kids. This is classic comfort food that I grew up eating and I often share it with my kids now as an easy dinner.

The ingredients are easy to keep on hand (it’s basically just pasta, broth, and Parmesan) and it’s SO fast to make. I actually love it just as much for myself as the kids do.

(You may also like my Extra-Veggie Baby Pasta and Pastina Soup as another easy option.)

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Where to Find Pastina

With Ronzoni discontinuing this type of little star pasta, it’s become much harder to find. Barilla makes it and it is usually available in stores, so look for that in your stores (though it, too, has been sold out). Or look for:

Or, swap in orzo or acini di pepe, which have a similar small shape. You may have more luck finding small shaped pasta in Mexican grocery stores or aisle of larger stores as La Moderna is a common brand that makes it.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to make this simple pasta recipe. It’s fairly versatile and fast, so you can adjust for allergies as needed, too.

Ingredients for pastina pasta on countertop.
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth): This adds all of the flavor to this pasta, but you can use whichever you prefer. You can also just use water as a lower sodium option too, or as an option if you don’t have broth on hand.
  • Pastina pasta: Little star pasta is available in the pasta section of the supermarket, in Target, or online. If you can’t find it, you can also use acini di pepe, stelline, or orzo pasta.
  • Parmesan cheese: I prefer grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor and since it melts right into the recipe.
  • Egg: Egg adds richness and some protein and it cooks quickly as it’s stirred into the hot pasta. You can omit it as needed to make this egg-free.
  • Frozen peas (optional): Feel free to stir in frozen peas at the end of cooking to add a veggie.
  • Black pepper (optional to taste): If you share this with the kids, you may enjoy your serving with some black pepper.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is a look at the steps involved in making this recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full information and timing.

how to make pastina pasta in grid of 4 images.
  1. Add the broth to a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add the pastina.
  2. Stir occasionally, until the pasta is soft and the liquid is almost absorbed.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add the Parmesan, egg, and black pepper if using. Stir quickly to melt the cheese and cook the egg into the pasta. Stir in the peas, if using.
  4. Serve topped with more grated Parmesan or freshly ground black pepper.
Pastina pasta in pan with spoon stirring.

How to Store

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Sprinkle with water or broth when reheating to help it return to the desired consistency. It thickens as it cools so a little water can help loosen it up a bit.

Pastina pasta in three kid bowls.

Best Tips for Success

  • Add peas at the end of cooking or serve it plain as you like.
  • Skip the egg if you prefer or if needed to make this egg-free.
  • I prefer to use reduced-sodium broth as it can otherwise wind up very salty since the pasta absorbs all of the broth. You can also use vegetable broth or start with water.
  • Add cracked black pepper for yourself or even a little fresh lemon zest.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please rate and comment below!

Pastina pasta in pan and three bowls.
  • Add the broth to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and add the pastina. Stir occasionally, until the pasta is soft and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 5-6 minutes.

  • Turn off the heat. Add the Parmesan, egg, and black pepper if using. Stir quickly and continuously to melt the cheese and cook the egg into the pasta. (Stirring to break up the egg will help it blend right into the pasta so it shouldn’t be noticeable, but it adds creaminess.)

  • Stir in the peas, if using. (They will thaw in the warmth of the pasta.)

  • Serve topped with more grated Parmesan or freshly ground black pepper.

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Sprinkle with water or broth when reheating to help it return to the desired consistency.
  • Add peas or serve it plain as you like.
  • Skip the egg if you prefer.
  • I prefer to use reduced-sodium broth as it can otherwise wind up very salty since the pasta absorbs all of the broth.
  • Add cracked black pepper for yourself or even a little fresh lemon zest.

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 270kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.003g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 757mg, Potassium: 253mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 273IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 1mg


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