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bowl of pastina soup with tiny meatballs with cheese in background

Pastina Soup with Tiny Meatballs

There's nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of Pastina Soup with Tiny Meatballs! Whether you're under the weather, for family gatherings, and even weddings, pastina served with lots of Parmigiano cheese is perfect for all occasions and any time of year!
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pastina soup with meatballs, Italian pastina soup,
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 627kcal


For the meatballs

  • 250 grams ground meat trio (beef, pork and veal) about 1/2 lb
  • 6 tbsp. grated combined Parmigiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses or only 1 variety if you prefer
  • 3 tbsp. dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste

For the soup

  • 2 liters chicken broth preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup small pasta shape of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for serving


  • Add chicken broth to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Prepare the meatballs

  • Place ground meat; breadcrumbs; grated Parmigiano cheese; egg; freshly chopped parsley; olive oil; salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Use your hands to combine all ingredients well. Roll into small meatballs of approximately 1 cm. Place on a plate or tray.

Prepare the soup

  • When the meatballs are ready, there are 2 options as to how to cook them. They can be added directly to the simmering chicken broth. However, if like my mother, you are not crazy about the small particles released into the broth by the raw meatballs you can also boil them in water in a separate sauce pan for 5 minutes. Then drain and add to the chicken broth to continue cooking.
  • Once added to the chicken broth, simmer the meatballs on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Add pastina to the broth and meatballs and cook until al dente. Correct the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve hot with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese at the table.


This soup is delicious enjoyed as is but can be varied by adding any of the following ingredients:
  • Sauté a finely diced carrot and celery stalk before adding the broth to your pot.
  • Stir in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves in the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Turn it into stracciatella soup (egg drop soup): beat 2 eggs with a couple of spoonful's of Parmigiano cheese. In the last minute of cooking stir in the egg mixture until it forms thin strands of eggs in the broth.

More tips:

  • I like to use a ground meat trio in all my meatball recipes, however you may choose only 1 type of ground meat if you prefer.
  • Tiny meatballs can be frozen when raw: place in a single row on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen transfer to freezer bags and store up to 3 months. Do not defrost before adding to the broth.


Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1653mg | Potassium: 857mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 878IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 332mg | Iron: 4mg