Leave it to the Italians to have beautiful words for even the most unglamorous of concepts. “Stracciatella” (strah-chi-ah-tay-lah) literally means “rags” in Italian. I first came across the word as a gelato flavor on my first trip to Italy (“I’ll take the stra…stra…that one!”). When it comes to gelato, the “rags” are bits of chocolate mixed throughout a creamy vanilla base. However, we were excited to learn that the concept of “stracciatella” also applies to soup. In this case, the rags are eggs – a kind of Italian egg drop soup.
Contrary to its fancy name, this soup was one of the easiest we’ve ever made! It only takes about 15 minutes to put together, and it is a delicious way to enjoy your dark, leafy greens. (You could also substitute chard for the spinach.) The cheese and egg add a wonderful savory flavor – if you happen to have some Pecorino on hand, it’s a great option, though Parmesan works just as well.
One note if you try it out – make sure to follow the instructions on adding the egg carefully. It’s important to heat the broth enough to get the “rags” to form (we know from experience!). Let us know if you give it a try – and enjoy the start of soup season!
Thanks to Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table for the inspiration!
Italian Spinach and Egg “Stracciatella” Soup
Serves 4 to 6
Inspired by The Splendid Table
What You Need
8 cups of vegetable broth
2 bunches of spinach
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
One 15 ounce can cannellini beans
Fresh ground pepper
What To Do
1 In a large stock pot, bring 8 cups of vegetable broth to a boil.
2 Clean, de-stem, and chop two bunches of spinach. Peel two cloves of garlic. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
3 Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet, place the whole garlic cloves in the pan, and heat for several minutes to infuse the oil. When the garlic has browned, remove and discard the garlic. Add the spinach to the skillet, stir to combine it with the oil, and heat, covered, for 3 minutes.
4 When the broth has come to a boil, add the wilted spinach and cook for two minutes at a steady simmer.
5 In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, beat 3 eggs with a fork. Grate 1/2 cup of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and add to the beaten eggs. Temper the eggs by drizzling a small amount of the hot broth into the eggs while beating the eggs.
6 With a spoon, rapidly mix the soup broth to create a “whirlpool” and slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup (don’t stop stirring). The eggs should immediately form into “rags”.
Tip Make sure that that broth is at a steady simmer before you add the eggs; if the broth is not hot enough, the eggs may incorporate into the broth instead of forming rags.
7 Add the cannellini beans. Season with about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (to taste) and lots of fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.