Stracciatella

Last week when I was sidelined by a bad head cold (low-grade fever, sore throat, massive headaches ~ you know what I mean) this soup saw me through. Composed of just four ingredients ~ broth, egg, spinach, cheese ~ stracciatella is one of the most comforting and nourishing dishes in all of Italian cooking.

It’s a well-known soup, the Italian equivalent of Chinese egg drop or egg flower soup, named for the ragged stands (“stracce”) that form when egg is added to simmering broth. Why bother post a recipe of an already popular soup? A couple of reasons:

  1. It’s spring (give or take a few days), and both eggs and tender greens are culinary harbingers (and symbols) of the season. Another harbinger? Head colds.
  2. This version is a little different, and it’s better. The eggs are less like rags and more like soft clouds.

Start with good ingredients (fresh eggs, homemade broth) and follow the technique and you’ll soon be enjoying a lovely bowl of hot soup with soft clouds of egg and spinach. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t skimp on the egg. I’ve seen recipes that call for just one egg for four cups of broth. This makes for a wan soup with shreds of egg that float forlornly around the bowl.
  • Beat the cheese into the eggs before adding to the soup. The cheese helps bind the egg and spinach into soft clumps.
  • To further enrich or thicken the soup, stir a tablespoon of semolina into the eggs along with the cheese. (This is optional, and I don’t always do it.)
  • Avoid over-stirring the eggs as you add them to the broth. Vigorous stirring will make the broth cloudy and create stringy strands. Leave it be and the eggs and spinach will form fluffy clouds as the soup simmers.

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Makes 1 to 2 servings

StracciatellaProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

One of the simplest and most nourishing soups, stracciatella is classic Italian comfort food. The word "stracciatella" refers to the rag-like strands of egg cooked in hot broth. To keep the egg fluffy, avoid overstirring while they cook. Use homemade broth if you have it, farm-fresh eggs, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves or 1 cup frozen spinach (no need to defrost; see NOTE)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions

Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the spinach. Cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring once or twice.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the cheese. Whisk with a fork until well combined. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup, stirring slowly once or twice with the fork. Simmer, uncovered, for a couple of minutes without stirring, until the eggs are fluffy and set. Gently break up the eggs into soft clumps.

Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle a little Parmigiano on top.

NOTE
If using frozen spinach, look for "quick-frozen" spinach in bags, rather than blocks of spinach in boxes. This makes it easy to measure out as much as you need and return the rest to the freezer.

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25 Responses to Stracciatella

  1. Frank Fariello March 10, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Hmmm… first time I’ve come across stracciatella with spinach. Is this the abruzzese version perhaps? Anyway, I do like the idea. It adds color and a touch of healthiness! 🙂

    • Domenica Marchetti March 11, 2016 at 8:54 am #

      Now that I stop to think about it I’m not sure when I started adding spinach. I don’t think it’s a regional thing. Maybe I was just mixing stracciatella and italian-style chicken soup? My paternal grandmother always added greens (escarole or spinach) to her chicken soup (and tiny meatballs).

  2. Chiara March 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    la stracciatella mi riporta alla mia infanzia e questa aggiunta degli spinaci, nuova per me,mi attira molto ! Buon weekend Domenica, un abbraccio

    • Domenica Marchetti March 11, 2016 at 8:57 am #

      Non mi ricordo nemmeno quando ho iniziato ad aggiungere gli spinaci. Communque e’ buonissima e anche buona per la salute. Buon weekend cara!

  3. Francesca March 10, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    The Stracciatella that I usually eat has far more broth and the eggs are like thin whispy strands, barely set in a circular motion in the soup. This looks like a very different version.

  4. bettyannquirino March 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    Indeed this is similar to the Chinese egg drop soup I’m familiar with, but your Stracciatella looks so comforting I want to plunge my spoon into the photo. What a great recipe you shared, so simple yet so hearty and filling. Hope you’re feeling better, Domenica!

  5. Adri Barr Crocetti March 10, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear that you were ill, and I hope you are completely recovered. I’d have to say that you have chosen the perfect restorative food. Surely, if there were an Italian version of Mrs. Beeton’s, this one would be included in the chapter on “invalid cookery.”

    • Domenica Marchetti March 11, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      I wonder if such a book exists, or did at one point. What a find that would be! xo

  6. Denise March 10, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    Yum. This looks like my kind of dish.

  7. Mariangela March 11, 2016 at 12:53 am #

    It was perfect on a rainy San Francisco evening!

    • Domenica Marchetti March 11, 2016 at 9:01 am #

      Definitely a great rainy night soup. I’m glad you enjoyed it Mariangela.

  8. Rosa Jeanne Mayland March 11, 2016 at 5:02 am #

    That is such a wonderful dish! Really satisfying.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    http://www.reveriesbramblesscribbles.com/blog/

  9. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way March 11, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    My papà had ulcers and mamma was always careful about what she fed him — eggs in homemade chicken brodo was a constant in our house. She didn’t add the greens, though, but it sounds delicious and you can’t deny that good food is the best medicine. Another remedy mamma made was pappa with the brodo. Those were the days before they knew that ulcers were caused by a virus. I certainly hope your delicious food helped you recuperate 🙂 Buon fine settimana.

    • Domenica Marchetti March 11, 2016 at 9:04 am #

      It’s funny; I still tend to associate ulcers with stress (luckily I’ve never had one). Feeling much better, thank you. Buon weekend xx

  10. elisa March 11, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    I love this stracciatella recipe, I make stracciatella often in the winter adding couple pieces of ginger, gives it a little zing to the soup and helps with colds. I think I make it today, although I don’t have a cold, but this recipe looks so good and today is another cloudy dismal day.
    I hope you are feeling better Domenica!

  11. ciaochowlinda March 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    Domenica – I hope by now that you’re feeling better. This takes me back to my childhood too, when I wasn’t feeling well. If it wasn’t brodo with pasting, it was stracciatella. And my mom (who was from Emilia-Romagna, not Abruzzo, added spinach too. Delizioso

  12. rozpaige March 14, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    What a delicious recipe for a classic Italian comfort food. I do hope that you are feeling better and know that the ‘magic’ of this lovely soup helped you in your recovery! More recipe posts please!

  13. sippitysup March 22, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I’m back in Los Angeles from Nicaragua and heading to Florida tomorrow. I’m spending my one morning home to catch up on my favorite blogs. Homemade broth is magical so I bet in my absence this soup worked its wonders and you are now feeling better. GREG

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