This Italian sausage pastina soup is delicious and simple to make. Using canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables cuts down on prep time so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. Pair it with a salad or a piece of crusty bread for a meal the whole family will enjoy.
In this recipe, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, pastina and Italian sausage are combined to make a hearty, satisfying soup. Italian sausage is a great ingredient because it cooks quickly and adds a ton of flavor. Try it in this Italian sausage lentil soup and in baked ziti.
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Pastina means “little pasta”, there are several shapes that qualify as pastina like stelline (little stars), orzo (rice shape) and alphabet pasta. Find pastina in the pasta aisle of larger supermarkets or online. It will be packaged in a small box or bag.
- Olive Oil – we used extra virgin because it’s what we had on hand but regular and extra light will work too.
- Aromatics – onions and garlic add extra flavor to the base of this soup.
- Spices – The sausage has plenty of flavor so we can keep things simple with dried oregano and a little black pepper.
- Italian Sausage – we use mild Italian sausage links with the casings removed and torn into pieces, you can also use bulk sausage. If you like it spicy use hot Italian sausage.
- Tomatoes – use canned diced tomatoes, regular or fire roasted. If all you have is canned whole tomatoes, place them in a bowl (without draining) and cut them with kitchen shears.
- Pasta – Any tiny pasta shape will work well with this soup.
- Broth – Use your favorite chicken broth.
- Go easy on the salt when making the pastina soup because the Italian sausage, diced tomatoes and chicken broth contain a good amount already. You can always add more at the end if needed.
- If you are sensitive to salt use reduced sodium chicken broth and diced tomatoes, then adjust at the end.
- Things move quickly in the beginning. It’s best to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. Keep prepped ingredients in nesting bowls so everything will be at your fingertips when you need it.
- Tear the sausage into pieces if using links instead of bulk. It will be much easier to break apart when it hits the hot pot.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the sausage for 5 minutes to brown, stir frequently and break up large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
There will probably be excess oil after browning the sausage. Follow these steps to remove it easily:
- Take the pot off the heat.
- Pile the browned sausage to one side of the pot and tip it slightly so the oil pools opposite the meat.
- Use a ladle or large spoon to scoop most (or all) of it out.
- Level the pot, place it back over the heat and continue with the recipe.
Place the pot back over medium heat. Add the diced onions to the sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic, oregano and black pepper, cook 1-2 minutes, stir frequently.
Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth, stir well while gently scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot.
Raise the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. Next, lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook the soup, for 15-20 minutes. Simmering the broth will get you that “homemade” taste. The extra cooking time is worth it!
In the meantime, cook the frozen vegetables just enough to defrost them. About half of the recommended cooking time on the package should do it. Drain well.
Add the vegetables and pastina to the pot. Stir occasionally to make sure the pasta is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Taste the soup and add salt if need. As a reference we did not add extra to ours.
Storing and reheating
The tiny pasta will continue to soak up broth and swell when stored so it may be necessary to add additional broth when reheating. Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Reheat the soup in a small saucepan with a few tablespoons of chicken broth until simmering. Add enough broth to reach the desired consistency.
You may also like these soup recipes:
- Cream of Spinach Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Sausage Potato Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 pound Mild Italian Sausage casing removed and torn into pieces (or use bulk sausage)
- 1 Medium Onion diced
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes
- 6 cups Chicken Broth
- 10 ounce Frozen Mixed Vegetables cooked just enough to defrost
- ½ cup Pastina we used a star shape pastina
- Salt if needed at the end
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes to brown, stir frequently and break up large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Take the pot off the heat and remove most (or all) of the excess oil rendered by the sausage before continuing with the next steps. (See notes below)
- Place the pot back over medium heat.
- Add the diced onions to the sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic, oregano and black pepper, cook 1-2 minutes, stir frequently.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth, stir while gently scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil (it will take about 4-5 minutes to boil). Next, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook the soup, for 15-20 minutes. Keep it at a simmer, adjust the heat as necessary and stir occasionally.
- In the meantime, cook the frozen vegetables just enough to defrost them. About half of the recommended cooking time on the package should do it. Drain well.
- Add the pastina and the mixed vegetables to the pot and stir well. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil (will take about 1-2 minutes).
- Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Stir the soup occasionally to make sure the pastina is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Taste the soup and add salt if need. As a reference we did not add extra to ours.