Stracciatella is an Italian egg drop soup that is common to San Marino and Le Marche, as well as Rome and Emilia-Romagna. The name is derived from the Italian word that means “torn apart” or “rags” and that’s an apt description for the dish. The eggs look like tiny torn rags in the broth. A tasty soup, this easy-to-prepare dish makes a perfect lunch or first course.
The foundation of any good bowl of soup is the broth. Sunday mornings, from late Fall through early Spring, it was fairly common to find a large stock pot, simmering atop Mom’s stove, filled with vegetables, chicken, and a piece of beef. The resultant broth, brodo, formed the basis of that week’s soup and the occasional batch of risotto. Stracciatella, being so relatively plain, needs that kind of rich, full-bodied broth. I highly recommend making your own stock — be it vegetable or meat-based — for this soup but I, also, realize that not everyone has the time to do so. As a result, if you do use store-bought stock, be sure it’s low-sodium. Once you’ve added the egg and cheese mixture to the broth, you can taste the soup and add salt, if need be.
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Stracciatella Soup Recipe
total time: approx. 15 minutes
- 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken stock (vegetable stock may be substituted for a vegetarian diet)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- salt & pepper, to taste
- grated parmesan cheese for serving
- Combine eggs, cheese, parsley, and nutmeg in a bowl or container with a pouring spout and mix well.
- Place stock into a sauce pan and heat over a med-high heat.
- When it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, use one hand to gently stir the stock in a circular motion and, with the other hand, slowly pour the egg mixture into the pan.
- When all the egg mixture has been added, stop stirring and continue simmering for another minute or so.
- Taste the soup and season with salt & pepper, if needed.
- Serve immediately with additional grated parmesan cheese.
I’ve seen stracciatella prepared with spinach several times by television cooks and, in fact, I’ve prepared it this way, too. Strictly speaking, it is not a “true” stracciatella but it is a tasty alternative and just about as easy to make as the original. Take either frozen chopped spinach or fresh spinach that’s been chopped and add it to the simmering stock. Let the stock cook the spinach for a few minutes before stirring and adding the egg mixture. Whether or not you include spinach, with so few ingredients, a delicious bowl of stracciatella is only minutes away.
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