Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stracciatella | Egg Drop Soup, Italian-Style

Don't you just love the way Italians name things? Especially pasta? There's orecchiete, for "little ears." Or campanelle, for "little bells" and farffale for "butterflies" -- or what we call bowties.

Or is it just that everything sounds so pretty in Italian? My bucket list includes "Learn Italian" -- but I better get a move on!

Stracciatella is a beautiful Italian word. It comes from the Italian stracciato or "torn apart." I always though that stracciatella was the name for this classic egg drop soup.  But I learned that it's not a noun but an adjective that describes the "little shreds" in not just this soup, but ice cream and cheese!

I love Italian food and Italian culture and have learned a lot from sites like Proud Italian Cook, Ciao Chow Linda, and La Bella Vita Cucina.  A site I recently found, Guido Garrubbo, is dedicated to "the art and science of Italian cooking" -- chockful of helpful information.

This is a very simple soup, but made from scratch, with fresh ingredients, it's more than satisfying. It's nourishing and filling, without overdoing. Just the ticket when you're feeling under the weather -- or the weather is keeping you in.

I made this stracciatella soup with duck eggs, which made it especially rich.  If you've never tried duck eggs, you must.  They're like farm fresh chicken eggs on steroids.  The egg itself is larger than chicken eggs and the yolk is larger, too.    Each duck egg also has about twice the calories of a chicken egg -- 130 versus 70. Their shells are thicker, making them a bit harder to crack, but that also seems to extend their refrigerator life.

                                Eggs, Green, Shells, Duck Eggs, Easter

Some other ducky facts:

  • Duck eggs stay fresher longer, due to their thicker shell.
  • Duck eggs are richer, with more albumen, which makes cakes and other pastries fluffier.
  • Duck eggs have more Omega-3 fatty acids.
And they're just darn tasty! 

I've been lucky enough to have a steady supply of fresh eggs, both chicken and duck.  My neighbor, Dude, raises chickens and daughter Renae raises ducks.  With fresh eggs in the fridge, a simple meal easy to put together anytime, whether it's an egg sandwich (one of Mr. Rosemary's favorites) or a frittata (one of mine) or this soup -- could be a new fave!

guided by Simply Recipes
4 cups chicken stock
1 large egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons

Place stock in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer.
In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and black pepper.
Once the stock is simmering, stir in the sliced spinach.
Pour/scrape the cheese egg mixture into the simmering stock but do not stir right away. After a few seconds, stir the egg mixture into the soup and watch them shred!   Cook at a gentle simmer for another minute.

P.S.  I know I had a couple cultures colliding when I took this picture of my lunch.  Off to the side of the soup bowl are tortilla chips topped with my "from scratch" roasted red pepper hummus.  I'm half-Italian American/half Irish American, too!