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    Chicken Pastina Soup (Chicken and Stars)

    My easy Chicken Pastina Soup recipe is just what you need on a chilly fall day. Light, yet satisfying, it’s a fun twist on your classic chicken noodle soup .

    I make a simple clear broth seasoned with herbs and aromatic veggies. It’s like a comforting bowl of chicken and stars that takes me right back to my childhood.

    Chicken Pastina Soup, or Chicken and Stars, is a light yet satisfying dish perfect for when you want something warm to cozy up to.

    Are you ready for soup season? We sure are!

    From hearty dishes like Hungarian Goulash and Birria Ramen, to light delights such as Caldo de Pollo and Finnish Lohikeitto, I am keeping those soup pots full.

    So What Exactly is Pastina?

    Pastina is a type of tiny, star-shaped pasta that is a staple in many Italian kitchens, particularly for dishes aimed at children. Its name literally means “little pasta” in Italian, and it’s the smallest pasta shape available. It is especially popular for soups and as a first food for toddlers.

    Ladle full of chicken and stars soup being scooped out of a dutch oven.

    The popular pasta brand Ronzoni created quite a stir in early 2023 when it was announced that they would discontinue the popular pasta shape. Fans were absolutely devastated.

    Fortunately, Barilla and other brands still produce the beloved star pasta.

    Ingredient Notes

    • Olive Oil – I am using a light variety of olive oil to allow the other flavors to shine.
    • Chicken Thighs -I think chicken thighs are tastier and juicier than breast meat. The bones and skin give the broth more flavor. But if you like, you can use boneless, skinless thighs instead, they also work well in the recipe.
    • Soffritto – Onion, carrots and celery. These aromatic veggies form the backbone of flavor for many soups and stews.
    • Garlic – Fresh is always best.
    • Chicken Broth – The base of your soup.
    • Herbs – These add a lot of flavor to your soup. If you have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to use those. Remember, dried herbs are more potent, so use three times as much fresh herbs as you would dried.
    • Pastina Pasta – The literal star of the dish. It cooks quickly and is easy to eat. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, suitable alternatives are orzo, ditalini or acini de pepe.

    Chicken Pastina Soup Recipe

    For more detailed instructions, as well as specific measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Here is a quick overview:

    1. Brown the chicken: First, I quickly sear the thighs for about 5 minutes on each side. Then, I remove them from the pan and transfer them to a plate.

    Browned chicken thighs on a blue plate.

    2. Sauté the soffritto: I add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pan and sauté them until they start to soften. Then, I add the garlic and cook it for another minute.

    Diced onion, carrots and celery cooking in a dutch oven.

    3. Simmer: Time to add in broth, chicken and herbs. I let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.

    The soup after simmering for some time.

    4. Shred the chicken: Next I take the chicken out of the soup and discard the skin and bones. Then, I shred the meat and add it back to the soup.

    Shredded chicken meat on a white plate.

    5. Cook the pastina: I add the star pasta to the soup and let it cook for about 5 minutes until it’s tender. Once it’s done, I take the soup off the heat, and it’s ready to enjoy!

    Finished product in a dutch oven.

    Jason’s Tips

    • Browning the Chicken: When I’m browning the chicken, I make sure to give it a good sear. That caramelization really adds depth to the soup’s flavor.
    • Perfect the Soffritto: As for the soffritto, I take my time. I don’t rush it by turning up the heat. The goal is to soften the vegetables without browning them.
    • Simmering the Soup: Once the soup is simmering, I let it do its thing gently. If I have the time, I like to let it simmer even longer to really let those flavors develop.
    • Skim the Fat: When cooking chicken with the skin on, I always skim off the layer of fat that floats to the top of the broth. It’s an easy way to keep the soup light and flavorful.
    • Lazy Day Hack: And if I’m in a hurry, I have a lazy day hack: I use shredded rotisserie chicken. It’s a quick and easy shortcut that still makes for a delicious soup.
    Bowl of this pastina soup garnished with lemon slices.

    Take a nostalgic trip back in time with my easy Pastina Soup recipe. Sometimes even the simplest things in life can bring so much comfort and joy.

    Pin or bookmark this delicious recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you.

    Chicken Pastina Soup, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of chicken pastina soup atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great soups!
    Portuguese Bean Soup
    Italian Sausage Soup
    Caldo de Res
    Miso Ramen
    Sopa de Fideo
    Tuscan Bean Soup

    Featured image for chicken pastina soup recipe.

    Chicken Pastina Soup Recipe (Chicken and Stars)

    Yield: 4 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Total Time: 50 minutes

    Chicken Pastina Soup, or Chicken and Stars, is a light yet satisfying dish perfect for when you want something warm to cozy up to.


    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 3 medium carrots, diced
    • 3 stalks celery, diced
    • ½ medium white onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 2 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ cup dried pastina pasta


    1. Heat olive oil in a medium dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then add them to the pot skin side down and sear until they begin to brown up, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear other side 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
    2. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of oil (the chicken will have released some additional), and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
    3. Add in chicken broth and stir, making sure to scrap up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to pan, along with thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Cooking with the skin on may result in a lot of grease floating to the top of the broth. In this case, skim it off into a bowl.
    4. Take chicken out of broth and put on a plate. Remove and discard skin and bones. Shred the meat, then add back into the soup.
    5. Bring soup to a boil. Add in pasta, and cook until it is done, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and serve.


      1. You can use boneless skinless chicken for this recipe. It does make the shredding step a bit quicker. But the skin and bones do add a lot of flavor to the broth, so that’s why we use them.
      2. Allow the soup to simmer gently. Boiling it vigorously can make the chicken tough and break down the vegetables too much. If time allows, simmer for longer to allow the flavors to develop even more.
      3. Serve the soup hot, but be cautious of the temperature, especially if serving to children. The pastina can retain heat.
      4. For lazy days, use pre-shredded rotisserie chicken.
      5. Leftovers: Chicken and stars refrigerates well for 4-5 days. Reheat the soup in a pan on stovetop over medium heat until heated through.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 463Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 174mgSodium 1658mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 36g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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