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 breadcrumbs 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
- 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)
Place stock in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer.
In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs (if using), and black pepper.
Once the stock is simmering, stir in the sliced spinach.
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.