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Small Pastas: 5 Alternatives to Use Instead of Pastina

Ronzoni may have discontinued Pastina, but there are still a number of small pasta.

As the “pastina crisis” rolls on, it’s time to pick another small pasta to use in its place. Fortunately, there are a number of widely available options that can stand in for – but never take the place of – the star-shaped goodness of pastina. We present to you five smallish pasta options that you can use in lieu of pastina.


Coming from the Italian word for “barley,” this small pasta is shaped like grains of rice. It can be used in any number of dishes, including soups, pasta salads, garden salads, and stuffed vegetables. Orzo can also be baked into a casserole.


This pasta is named for a word that means "small thimbles.” It’s another pasta that is a great ingredient for soup, as well as baked or boiled pasta dishes. Ditalini is best known for being typically found in a bowl of pasta e Fagioli. This small pasta pairs well with any variety of peas or beans.


Commonly known as “bow-tie” or “butterfly pasta,” these are formed from a rectangular or oval pasta shape, with two of the sides trimmed to a ruffled edge. The center of the farfalle pasta is pinched together, such as a bow tie. This is another smaller pasta that is well utilized in soups, salads and other plates.


Because of its shape, this pasta’s name roughly translates into “small ear.” While this is a versatile pasta, one common combination is orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe is a popular favorite.


This short, corkscrew-like shaped pasta – which takes its from Italian to “small wheels” –  isn’t the smallest of the bunch, but they also easily fit into any soup or pasta salad. 


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