Stelle (pronohnced STAY-lay), or stellette is a type of small pasta shaped like stars with a small hole in the middle.
Stelle pasta is a pastini pasta, a name used to designate any type of very small dried pasta that is typically used in soups, broths, and sometimes salads.
Stelle pasta are also known as astri, or flori di sambuco (meaning elder flowers).
Stellitine is a smaller version, and stelloniis the largest. All of them are still small enough to fall under the pastini category.
The name stelle is the Italian plural of “stella,” the word for star. The name has been used for star-shaped pasta since the 16th century, though originally for a sweet, fresh pasta.
Stelline or other stelle pasta are sometimes chosen for Italian wedding soup, which typically uses orzo or another pastini pasta such as acini de pepe. “Wedding Soup” is a mistranslation of Minestra Maritata which does not refer to weddings but to all the soup ingredients, vegetables and meatballs, being “married together.”
Star-shaped pasta is the favorite of kids world-wide, a fact that was not lost on Cambell’s when they introduced their Chicken & Stars soup.
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