Italian Egg Drop Soup, Stracciatella

For the last week or so I’ve been somewhat under the weather. Do you know that feeling where you don’t yet have a cold, but it feels like one is about to happen? That’s me. Tired, a little achey, a little grumpy, all I want to do is curl up on my couch under a warm blanket, sip honey and lemon tea, and take a nap.

Stracciatella, an Italian version of egg drop soup, is made for days like these. “Stracciatella” means “little shred” in Italian, which well describes the “shreds” of egg in this light, nourishing soup. At its essence, the soup is hot chicken broth into which a paste of beaten egg and Parmesan cheese has been stirred and cooked. You can also add greens or mix some bread crumbs or semolina flour in with the egg mixture for a little more body.

What I love about this soup is that it is so easy to make, with ingredients that I almost always have on hand—eggs, stock, Parmesan. Yet the simplicity of the soup belies its flavor. It’s delicious! Perfect for a chilly day or chilly body.

By the way, the word “stracciatella” is used to describe other foods in Italian as well. There’s a gelato with shaved chocolate “shreds”, and a cheese used to make burrata.

 

Italian Egg Drop Soup, Stracciatella Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 3.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken stock (lightly salted)
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated, lightly packed Parmesan cheese (if you have coarsely grated Parm, grind it up to a finer consistency in a food processor)
  • 1 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs (toasted for added flavor) or semolina flour (optional, you can skip if you want, you can also use ground puffed rice if cooking gluten-free)
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of spinach leaves, sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons (can also use chard, arugula, sorrel, or any tender green)

Method

1 Place stock in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer.

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2 In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, Parmesan cheese,  breadcrumbs (if using), and black pepper.

3 Once the stock is simmering, stir in the sliced spinach.

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4 Pour/scrape the cheese egg mixture into the simmering stock, do not stir. After a few seconds, stir the egg mixture into the soup.  Cook at a gentle simmer for another minute.  Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if you wish.

Serve immediately.

24 Comments

  1. margaret mc farland

    ooh,Thank You. I was feeling crummy tonight myself. I had a cup of tea but wanted something more… there was your recipe! It took 5 minutes from start to finish. Delicious & satisfying.I dusted the top with cayenne and am feeling better already.

    • catherine

      On the other hand, some might say stracciatella alla romana is one of the better looking soups out there … certainly more attractive than, say, vichyssoise, which bears a striking resemblance to wallpaper paste.

      As to the taste, yes, … divine. A pinch of nutmeg takes it to another level.

  2. Ralphie

    This is a very authentic soup. My grandmother, from Avellino province, used to make it. She used escarole instead of spinach, but that’s a regional thing.

  3. Mary

    Do you think that this would work using a vegetable stock to make it vegetarian? Or do you need the chicken stock to give it more “body”?

    • Elise

      It would have to be a very good homemade vegetable stock. The store-bought boxed or canned vegetable stocks are atrocious and I wouldn’t recommend them for anything, especially a thin soup that relied so much on the stock.

  4. Rose

    When I was a young, single adult living alone with little money, I often made this soup for dinner. I remember those days fondly (now closer to retirement than those days).

  5. donutty

    It reminds me of a simple egg drop soup I learned from my mom-in-law, except she uses a broth made from dried anchovies, or chicken broth in a pinch. It’s incredible how good something so simple can be–just hot broth with swirly egg and a few little pieces of green onion floating at the top.

  6. CJ McD

    This is my favorite, in-a-hurry, go-to soup! It is so soothing and restorative.

    We grew up using escarole instead of spinach or chard. The escarole holds up a little better in the broth. But as you said, any green will work.

    I usually just add a spoonful of flour to the egg and cheese mixture. Never tried it with bread crumbs before. Good idea!

  7. sue

    I think I caught the same bug. I was feeling up to making your pumpkin soup with smoked paprika yesterday. Tomorrow I’ll try this one.

  8. suz

    I’ve been making a No.Italian recipe for this for years. It always includes vermicelli or some tiny pasta which is cooked first in the broth (can use vegetable broth); then add the cream, egg & cheese. If you mix it right away, the soup is smoother. You can take it off the heat immediately, stir for 20 seconds. It will form clumps if not stirred, or left on high heat. This broth should not be boiled. Never added anything more except my version, which included some chopped parsley to finish.

  9. Pam Green

    When I lived in the North End of Boston, used to love the version L’Osteria restaurant served, which included a few threads of cappelini.

  10. Colette Abston

    This is very authentic. My grandmother, family from Bari, always made this for Easter – only time of the year we had it! She also added small meatballs to it and it was served as the starter to Easter dinner.

  11. Diane Harrison

    I loved this recipe! I first had this soup at a new restaurant here in Long Island City, NY…then searched for a recipe. FABULOUS. No need to over think it but you could certainly add to it too if you’d like, maybe some pieces of chicken. I did find the Greek version that adds lemon & chicken, going to try that next.
    Thx!

  12. FoodJunkie

    This reminds me of a soup called Grand Duca that was served in a little Italian restaurant up the road from where I first worked in Toronto. I have never seen it before or since (under that name at least) and I liked it very much. I will have to give this a try.

  13. Margaret Cornely

    A ‘polar vortex vice’! I just finished a large cup “thrown together” in five minutes in the microwave. I had on hand leftover Garlicky Spinach with Tuscan Beans, leftover gemelli pasta, open carton of low sodium chicken broth, and an egg (of course). With the presence of the garlic, the cheese was unnecessary. The gemelli added some “bite”, and the beans were just a little something extra! What a taste treat that warms the body through and through!

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