21 In Soups

Italian Spinach and Egg “Stracciatella” Soup

Italian Spinach and Egg Stracciatella Soup

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
What You Need
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black 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 2 cloves garlic. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons 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 it. 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 ½ 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". 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.
Inspired by The Splendid Table


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  • Reply
    raquel @ Erecipe
    October 17, 2011 at 8:52 am

    The soup looks easy to prepare, I love spinach but is it okay if I also include other vegetable such as pechay or Chinese cabbage? I hope it will not affect the taste.

    • Reply
      October 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      There are lots of greens or vegetables that you could use as a substitute in this soup. You can definitely use Chinese cabbage — while it would make the soup less “traditional Italian”, it would still be tasty! It just depends on how “traditional” you want to be. But feel free to make up your own variation – that’s the fun of cooking :)

  • Reply
    October 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    This looks delicious! I’m definitely going to give it a try as soon as I get home to my own kitchen. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Reply
    October 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    This sounds awesome. Like the Italian version of egg drop soup, and much heartier due to the spinach and beans! I like that that cheese is mixed with the eggs, I really can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2011 at 4:10 am

    I always loved stracciatella!! I have never tried to make it with spinach –which would make it far more complete in nutrients! I printed your recipe for tonight’s dinner! :)

    • Reply
      October 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Great – how did it turn out? Does your normal stracciatella only have eggs (with no spinach), or other ingredients too?

  • Reply
    Jill @ A Cook's Nook
    October 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I grew up on this stuff, although we made it with arugula instead of spinach, but I’ll have to swap them out and try this version. It’s such a warming, healthy meal that you can feel good about eating. Thanks for bringing me down memory lane!

    • Reply
      October 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Oh, fun! I had never heard of it until recently! Does your family have Italian heritage?

      • Reply
        Jill @ A Cook's Nook
        October 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        we do- thanks for asking!

        Your post absolutely made my day. I haven’t thought of this soup in years and now I’m craving a bowl. Thanks again :)

  • Reply
    October 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

    As an Italian-American I was secretly ashamed that I didn’t know why straciatella the soup and stracciatella the ice cream shared the same name. Thank you for clearing that up. :)

    This recipe looks delicious. I always order this at one of my favorite restaurants in LA (Little Dom’s) so it will be fun to give it a try at home. Glad to have stumbled across your blog through Tastespotting.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Haha, I also was a bit fuzzy on the meaning of straciatella, so I was glad to have an excuse to brush up :) Let us know if you try it out, and how it compares to the restaurant version!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Hi there, I discovered your website only yesterday while doing a web search for ‘stuffed poblano peppers’ and was extremely pleased with the recipes I found here. I made this soup yesterday to eat for lunch with purple kale and kidney beans (it’s what I had in the house) and was so in love with my soup that I ate the whole pot for lunch and dinner and only gave my husband a taste! I did chop up the garlic and leave it in the sauté pan and put in in the soup, but because I love garlic, it added a really nice dimension to the flavour. I will continue to let you know how we enjoy your recipes, and thank you for your wonderful website!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    How wonderful – I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    Kale sounds like a great substitute — as does leaving the garlic in the soup…we are major garlic lovers too, so removing it here was a new technique to us :)

  • Reply
    December 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Your brother, Andrew, recommended your blog. This is the first recipe I tried. it was fabulous! It is sometimes hard to find recipes that satisfy my vegetarian son and my omnivore son at the same time. So, I thank you! I can’t wait to try more.

    • Reply
      January 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and your son did as well! Let us know if you try anything else! We just posted some Greek quesadillas that might go over well with vegetarians and omnivores alike :) Hope all is well and say hi to Andrew for us!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I tried this recipe tonight, I just made half the recipe using 2 eggs; it was soo good!
    Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Reply
    Ken Grenier
    July 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    My Grandmother from near Venice had a recipe that I make all winter long for my family. No Spinach and no Beans.
    Italian Spinach and Egg “Stracciatella” Soup
    Makes 1 Quart.

    4 eggs
    32 Oz No Fat Chicken broth
    Zest of one Lemon
    8 Heaping Tablespoons of Italian Bread Crumbs
    4 Heaping Tablespoons of grated Asiago or Parmesan Cheese. ( Not packaged Kraft etc)
    ½ Heaping Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg

    1. In a mixing bowl, put Breadcrumbs, Lemon Zest, eggs and Cheese.
    2. Mix this into a “Batter”.
    3. Start the broth boiling
    4. When it comes to a boils add the Nutmeg
    5. Carefully, remove 2 cups of boiling broth and pour it into the Batter in the bowl.
    6. Use a fork to break the batter into small pieces.
    7. Carefully pour the bowl into the remaining broth
    8. Reduce heat to simmer
    9. Continue to break up the batter
    10. Cook for a minimum of 15 minutes.
    11. Serve with additional cheese on top and Corn Break (Optional)

  • Reply
    February 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    My favorite soup! Add, subtract, you can’t go wrong. Important instruction is whirlpool to achieve the rags!!! Try any bean, veggie, even chicken to add a little fun.
    My next is going to be with beef stock and cabbage, I’ll let you know if it sucks!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I’m glad Relay Foods show cased your recipes this week. Everything sounds so delicious and I can’t wait to try them. In regards to this soup; is it possible to freeze any left overs? I’m single and probably won’t want to eat it 4 meals in a row.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I already love your blog, so I headed straight to your soups section when I knew I wanted to make something with white beans, spinach and garlic. This was the perfect find! The brothiness is wonderful right now for cold-ridden husband and I. Next time I’m determined to get the rags right (the pot wasn’t tall enough to create the whirlpool effect)!
    Thanks so much for a delicious dinner!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      This is great – so glad it hit the spot! It is a little tricky sometimes to get the rags — hope it works next time :) Thanks for making it!

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