Ditalini Soup is one of our favourite creamy and cheesy soups to enjoy during the cold Fall and Winter months.
Our homemade Italian Parmesan Soup recipe is quick and easy to make, ready to serve in under 1 hour!
Spoon through a bowl of our Parmesan Ditalini Soup recipe featuring flavourful nutmeg, pepper, garlic, onions, sherry and cheese.
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What Is Soup?
Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but can also be served cold like gazpacho), that is prepared by combining meat or vegetables with stock or water.
Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, creating a rich broth.
Soups are similar to stews, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Soups generally have more liquid (broth) than chunkier and heartier stews.
In traditional French cuisine, soups are classified into two groups: clear soups (bouillon and consomme) and thick soups (purees, bisques, veloutes).
Purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream.
History of Soup
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers, such as clay pots. To boil the water hot rocks were used.
The word soup comes from French soupe (broth), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as a cure to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Massachusetts called The Restorator, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
Travel to Italy by Cooking Parmesan Ditalini Soup at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey and Italy.
What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sorano, Montalcino, Siena) are unique from what you’d find in Venice, Modena, Milan, Rome, and Amalfi Coast.
If you’re visiting Tuscany on a romantic honeymoon you’ll likely find creamy pasta parmesan soup at restaurants, from large cities to small towns.
Once back home from an Italian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Tuscany and can impress friends and family by making creamy pasta parmesan cheese soup.
Where To Eat Ditalini Soup
If you live in a large city in North America you’ll likely have access to plenty of soup-specific restaurants. We also love to visit local, family-run diners and cafes that offer menus specializing in “soups, sandwiches and salads.”
In Toronto, popular restaurants that serve soup include RaviSoups, Soup Nutsy, United Bakers Dairy, Cafe Polonez, Saffron Spice Kitchen, Santouka Ramen, Sansotei Ramen, Kenzo Ramen, Kinton Ramen, Ajisen Ramen, Maison Selby, Pho Vistro, Pho Hung, The Golden Turtle, Maha’s, Pai, Sabai Sabai, Khao San Road, One Love Vegetarian and Fabarnak.
In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve Ditalini Soup include Bar Vendetta, Buca, Superpoint, Amano, Fabbrica, Oretta, FIGO, Nodo, Locale Mercatto, The Good Son, Taverna Mercatto, Ascari Enoteca, Il Fornello or Gusto 101.
My Family Loves Ditalini Soup
My dad would often make cream of tomato soup and serve a bowl with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles. Our family also loved slurping through bowls of Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup.
During October in Ontario we’d often visit popular Fall Fairs in Norfolk County, Niagara and Prince Edward County to go on fun rides, run through corn mazes and purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables at the peak of harvest season.
Ditalini is a type of pasta that is shaped like small tubes. It has been described as “thimble-sized” and as “very short macaroni”. During the industrial age in Apulia, Italy, increased development of ditali and other short-cut pastas occurred. Today, it is a mass-produced pasta commonly used throughout Sicily and in Italian soups.
Is Parmesan Pasta Soup Vegetarian?
Our Parmesan Soup recipe is prepared with with butter, garlic, onion, chicken stock, sherry, milk, pasta, cream and cheese.
You can transform our authentic Parmesan Soup recipe into a vegetarian friendly dish by substituting chicken stock with vegetable broth. If you save and store your leftover parmigiano rinds in the freezer you can also prepare a homemade parmesan broth instead of using stock.
We do not suggest making a vegan version of this soup as the butter, cream, milk and of course parmesan cheese are essential ingredients.
Ditalini Soup Health Benefits
Our Parmesan Ditalini Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.
An excellent source of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C, folate, and iron, parsley helps keep your bones and blood healthy, and protects your skin from damage by free radicals.
Parmesan Ditalini Soup Tips
This healthy homemade soup recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time soup makers!
- Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking.
- We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon when making soup so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if it needs to be seasoned further with more salt before spooning into bowls.
- We’ve used chicken stock in this recipe but you could substitue with vegetable broth or parmesan rind broth if you’re vegetarian.
- We’ve included cream to our recipe to add a richness to the soup. If you’re looking to reduce calories in your diet you could substitute the cream for more chicken stock or milk. Some Ditalini Soup recipes do not include milk or cream, the pasta simply floats in flavoured chicken broth.
- Once you’ve perfected our parmesan soup recipe feel free to get creative by testing other aged cheeses like gruyere, aged cheddar, piave stravecchio, ossau-iraty brebis, manchego or Beemster XO.
What To Serve with Ditalini Soup
If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve our Ditalini Soup as an appetizer before serving heartier mains. We love serving this soup with Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu, Cheesy Polenta, Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Old School Cheese and Onion Pie, Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, Tartiflette Reblochon or Ricotta Gnocchi.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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If you have leftover soup you can store the soup base in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or simmer in a small saucepan on the stove.
We love doubling our soup recipes so we can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover soup in Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s not spilling. My mother often uses old glass pasta sauce jars to store soup in the freezer.
Be sure to let your soup reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot jar of soup to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.
How To Make Creamy Ditalini Soup
Creamy Parmesan Ditalini Soup
- French knife
- Dutch Oven or Large Pot
- Wooden spoon
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- cheese grater
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 Small onion finely minced
- 3.5 oz Parmesan cheese grated
- 3 cups Chicken stock
- 1/4 cup Dry sherry
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 cup Table cream
- 1.5 cups Ditalini pasta
- 1/8 tsp Nutmeg ground
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- Melt butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.
- Add minced onion and garlic and cook stirring occasionally until translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add grated parmesan cheese, chicken stock, milk, nutmeg, cream and sherry. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 10 minutes add Ditalini pasta.
- Serve soup once pasta is al dente. Garnish with cracked pepper, sliced parsley or chives and slices of parmesan cheese.
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