Stracciatella alla romana (Roman-Style “Egg Drop” Soup)

In Lazio, primi piatti, Soups by Frank10 Comments

One usually associates Roman cooking with hearty and robustly flavored dishes and, by and large, the image holds true. But there are some exceptions like today’s offering: stracciatella, a light ‘egg drop soup’, perfect for a light first course or supper. It’s a great choice for those occasions when you may not be very hungry—perhaps you’ve had a big lunch or midday dinner—but don’t feel like actually skipping a meal. If you have broth on hand, it is also very quick and can be made quite literally on the spur of the moment.

Ingredients

  • Chicken or meat broth, preferably homemade

Plus, for each serving:

  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 Tb semolina flour
  • 1 Tb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Directions

To make stracciatella, bring the broth to a fairly brisk simmer (but not a rolling boil). While the broth is coming up to heat, in a mixing bowl scramble the egg together with a spoonful each of semolina and grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper and, if you like, a bit of nutmeg. Mix well to make a perfectly homogenous mixture.

When the broth is at the simmer, slowly pour the egg mixture into the broth, all the time whisking (or stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon) in a single direction. The egg mixture will form little curds that are said to look like ‘little rags’ (hence the name stracciatella is derived from stracetti, which means little rags). Allow to simmer for just a couple of minutes more and serve, with additional grated cheese on the side for those who care for it.

Notes

As usual, even with a soup this simple, variations abound. The semolina is original and is featured in all the most traditional recipes, including the one in the authoritative Talismano della Felicità. But modern recipes often omit it, which makes for an even lighter dish, or substitute bread crumbs, which make the ‘lilttle rags’ taste rather like passatelli from Emilia-Romagna. The recipe proposed by the Accademia della Cucina Italiana in La cucina del Bel Paese calls for a bit of grated lemon zest. Some recipes call for a bit of chopped parsley for color and add a bit of finely chopped carrot and celery.

The choice of broth is yours—chicken, beef or a brodo classico all go well. Chicken is my personal favorite. The important thing is that the broth be homemade and flavorful.

Stracciatella soup is not to be confused, of course, with the gelato of the same name, or another Roman dish called straccetti, made with thinly sliced and shredded beef sautéed with arugula.

Stracciatella alla romana (Roman-Style “Egg Drop” Soup)

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Chicken or meat broth, preferably homemade
  • Plus, for each serving:
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 Tb semolina flour
  • 1 Tb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Directions

  1. To make stracciatella, bring the broth to a fairly brisk simmer (but not a rolling boil). While the broth is coming up to heat, in a mixing bowl scramble the egg together with a spoonful each of semolina and grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper and, if you like, a bit of nutmeg. Mix well to make a perfectly homogenous mixture.
  2. When the broth is at the simmer, slowly pour the egg mixture into the broth, all the time whisking (or stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon) in a single direction. The egg mixture will form little curds that are said to look like 'little rags' (hence the name stracciatella is derived from stracetti, which means little rags). Allow to simmer for just a couple of minutes more and serve, with additional grated cheese on the side for those who care for it.
http://memoriediangelina.com/2009/12/18/stracciatella-alla-romana/

Comments

  1. Pingback: A World of Eggs | Disgraces On The Menu

  2. Pingback: A World of Eggs | DisgracesOnTheMenu

  3. this sounds fantastic and so simple! much like the “egg drop” I made tonight really…

    are you familiar with a dish similar but with spinach? I want to give that was a try next.

  4. Claudia, CaptnRachel: Thanks, again!

    @CaptnRachel: Pastina–called “pastina in brodo” in Italian–is also an Italian-Italian dish made with a variety of tiny pasta shapes. (See my recipe for “Quadrucci in brodo” as an example.) But surely the two recipes are very similar in their basic approach. In fact, some versions of stracciatella call for adding a bit of pastina to the broth.

    Stracciatella is even more similar to a dish from Emilia-Romagna called passatelli–its made with a breadcrumb, cheese and egg mixture that is passed through a mill with very large holes (it's basically identical to a spaetzle maker). As the mixture passes through the large holes they form little strands that drop into and cook in the broth. It is also very good–will blog on that one one of these days.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  5. Hi Frank! Do you think this is where the Italian-American dish pastina comes from? We called it that anyway and its exactly the soup you described with pastina pasta added. We looked forward to going to our Great Grandmother's house for pastina every Sunday before dinner! She came from a mountainous region of Italy but I am not sure if it was close to Rome or not…

    Thanks for the recipe! Ciao!

  6. This is a delicious soup, my mother used to make it with chicken broth as well, minus the nutmeg. Served with some home made bread, heaven!

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