Stracciatella alla romana

FrankLazio, primi piatti, Soups44 Comments

Stracciatella alla romana

One usually associates Roman cookery 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 and delicately flavored ‘egg drop soup’.

Stracciatella is utterly simple and—if you have the broth at hand—very quick to make. Beaten egg is whisked together with grated parmigiano-reggiano and various flavorings, then swirled into simmering broth to form little curds or ‘rags’ (stracce in Italian) giving the soup its name.

It’s a great choice for those occasions when you may not be very hungry—perhaps you’ve had a big lunch and prefer something light but warming for dinner. Stracciatella is also gentle on the stomach, so it’s ideal when you’re feeling under the weather. And provided you have broth on hand, it can whipped up on the spur of the moment, so it’s also a great choice for serving unexpected company or when you don’t feel much like cooking.

Stracciatella perhaps most often figures, however, as a primo piatto or first course, and a favorite choice for Easter dinner. No doubt it’s the egg, practically synonymous with Easter as a symbol of life and rebirth. Stracciatella will sit more gently on the stomach than other Italian Easter favorites like say asparagus lasagne, so you’ll still have plenty of room for that lamb roast. Not to mention dessert…

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 1.5 liters (6 cups) broth, preferably homemade

Plus:

  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 heaping Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Optional:

  • 4 Tbs semolina
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Finely chopped parsley

Directions

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 whisk the egg together with the grated cheese, salt and pepper and, if you like, one or more of the optional flavorings, until perfectly smooth and homogenous.

When the broth is at the simmer, pour the egg mixture into the broth in one go, whisking (or stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon) in a single direction. After a minute or two, the egg mixture will separate into little curds or stracce.

Allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes more and serve hot, with additional grated cheese on the side for those who care for it.

Stracciatella alla romana

Notes

The choice of broth is yours—chicken, beef or a brodo classico all go well. The important thing is that the broth be full of flavor and preferably homemade. This is a dish that stands or falls on the quality of the broth.

While the core ingredients for stracciatella—broth, egg and cheese—are a constant, as is the basic technique, as usual in Italian cookery variations abound. Hence all the optional flavorings. Nutmeg is perhaps the most common. The semolina is original to the dish, featured in all of the most traditional recipes, including the one in the authoritative Talismano della Felicità. Modern recipes mostly omit it, which makes for an even lighter dish. And many modern versions of this dish, including the recipe proposed by the Accademia della Cucina Italiana and most online recipe you’ll come across, call for the grated lemon zest, which of course brightens the dish. It can be a nice touch if you have a light hand. If you overdo it, you’ll overwhelm the other delicate flavors. Some recipes call for a bit of chopped parsley for color, which I rather like. Or for an elegant touch, top with chopped chive just before serving.

One ingredient that doesn’t figure in Italian recipes is spinach. That’s an Italian-American variation.

Stracciatella soup is not to be confused, of course, with the gelato of the same name, or another Roman beef dish called straccetti.

And for a more elaborate soup in a similar vein, you might try sciusceddu alla messinese from Sicily.

Stracciatella alla romana

Roman Style Egg Drop Soup
Course: Primo
Cuisine: Lazio
Keyword: Easter, quick, soup
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 liters 6 cups broth preferably homemade

Plus

  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 heaping Tbs Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper

Optional

  • 4 Tbs semolina
  • nutmeg grated
  • lemon zest grated
  • fresh parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • 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 the grated cheese, salt and pepper and, if you like, one or more of the optional flavorings. Whisk well until perfectly smooth and homogenous.
  • When the broth is at the simmer, pour the egg mixture into the broth in one go, all the time whisking (or stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon) in a single direction. After a minute or two, the egg mixture will separate into little curds. 
  • Allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes more and serve hot, with additional grated cheese on the side for those who care for it.

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44 Comments on “Stracciatella alla romana”

  1. Quite wonderful in its simplicity. I added semolina also; had never done that before but now am a convert.

  2. This a very hearty and comforting soup dear Frank! And easy which makes it a winner for a weeknight meal. Definitely trying out with some chicken broth. Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

  3. One of my favourite soups, but I can’t remember the last time I had it! It’s gotten a bit chilly here in the south of Spain so a soup sounds perfect.

  4. Simple, delicate, but so tasty! I just tried it and it’s divine. Thank you for sharing this Frank. I love the brightness the lemon zest gives it. I liked it so much I gave it an extra spritz of fresh lemon juice. This is a perfect soup for spring and summer.

  5. Very delicious soup. Never had stracciatella, but looks very healthy, not too complicated to prepare, and very handy for a day we prefer a lighter meal. Probably with chicken. Thanks for sharing.

    1. And thanks for stopping by, Vicky. It indeed is delicious and healthy food. And easy to make too. Definitely a keeper!

    1. I can imagine, Karen! My mom would do the same. Stracciatella is great invalid food. But it’s also great any time food. Just nice all round..

  6. Interesting! I have not come across stracciatella before…well except in gelato form. 🙂 The egg with the grated cheese almost reminds me of carbonara, but of course this one is very different. I want to give this a try especially coming off the holiday weekend when I’m ready for a bit lighter fare for the week ahead. Thanks, Frank!

    1. Hope you like it, David! Actually I’m pretty sure you will. It’s great comfort food, only with a lighter touch than most. Hope you had a great Easter.

  7. Have a big smile on my face this Easter Saturday morning as this was probably the first Italian dish I tasted when just knee-high back In Estonia ! Yep, eggs in soup is a ‘thing’ there also. I even learnt to manage and say the name and felt very ‘grown-up ! Have not made for ages – so simple if a good stock is there !!! Hope you are enjoying a happy, healthy Easter . . .

    1. I live in the Bergamo area, and the local restaurant and bakery La Marianna claims to be the birthplace of stracciatella ice cream :). The owner is said to have named the ice cream after one of the most popular menu items, i.e. this soup, because the chocolate drops in the ice cream resemble the distribution of egg pieces in the soup. Italian speakers can find the story on La Marianna’s website: https://lamarianna.it/la-stracciatella/

      Maybe my favourite stracciatella so far has been the cheese of the same name that I had in Puglia :). Very flavourful, a little tart/bitter, wet and kind of stringy.

  8. My parents absolutely loved Stracciatella soup it was their favourite. Mum would often make it and sometimes do variations to it for variety even breaking up and adding some a little angel hair pasta and parsley.

  9. I bet this is fabulous! When I’d been served stracciatella at an Eataly restaurant years ago, and afterwards tried to google it, I was quite confused. I was looking into the creamy center of burrata, and discovered it is a name of three different kinds of foods! And so, this is one!

    1. Italian food terms can be really confusing sometimes! Multiple names for the same dish, and the same name for totally different dishes!

  10. I haven’t had this dish in forever! And it’s been a restaurant dish for me. And mainly the spinach version. Definitely want to your recipe — looks excellent. Thanks!

    1. Thanks John! It has been a while since I’d made it, too. One of those old timey dishes that’s easy to forget but really shouldn’t be!

  11. That looks delicous and fantastically simple. It reminds me a bit of the French Tourin à l’Ail, where egg white is beaten into a garlic soup to make filaments.

  12. My mom used to make this for breakfast easter morning except she added veal chunks to it. Very tastey she also added the cinnamon, nutmeg, cheese and parsley.

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