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Is Acini De Pepe The Same As Pastina?

Pasta could be so diverse. It comes in a wide variety of shapes, textures, and sometimes, it can be made from other ingredients apart from wheat such as legumes. 

There is also a broad group of tiny pastas known as pastina which are versatile in their applications. 

Their small sizes make them perfect for soups and salads.

Like the larger pasta varieties, pastina could come in various shapes as well. 

One of the popular shapes that you may find pastina is as tiny spheres. 

Another name that this particular shape and size of pasta may be labelled as in grocery stores is Acini de pepe. 

So, what’s the difference between these two names? 

To put it simply, Acini de pepe is a type of pastina, but you must understand that pastina refers to a broader group of tiny pastas of which acini de pepe is one of them. 

In this post, we’d further describe acini de pepe and highlight what distinguishes it from the other forms of pastina. 

What is pastina?

Pastina, also known as” little pasta,” in English, refers to small pasta shapes commonly used in Italian cuisine.  

These small sized pasta varieties are used in soups, broths, and salads.  

They are made from semolina but can also be made from any type of flour.  

This variety of pasta cooks very quickly due to its small size, and it is great for adding texture to dishes, especially for children. 

Pastina comes in different shapes including stars, alphabets, shells, as well as tiny spherical shapes, and each of these shapes are known by a particular name. 

Some common names of the different shapes of pastina include ditalini, orzo, and acini di pepe. 

To prepare pastina, it is boiled al dente and then in is incorporated into soup or broth.  

Pastina is a versatile ingredient that can be paired with various sauces, vegetables, or meats. 

What is acini de pepe?

Acini de pepe translates to “peppercorns” in Italian.  

This variety of pasta is made up of tiny, spherical pasta pieces that resemble very small pearls.  

It is also made from semolina flour.  

Due to their small size, they cook quickly and are versatile, acini de pepe can be easily incorporated into various dishes.  

Acini de pepe is often used in soups like minestrone, Italian wedding soup and also salad  

It absorbs flavors well and adds texture to the dishes where it is used in.  


While acini de pepe and pastina may have the same shape, you should keep in mind that pastina is a much broader term and could include other shapes as well.  

However, the different shapes have similar qualities and could be used interchangeably in recipes.