Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel along the Mediterranean Sea in search of adventure and unusual cuisine. With an Italian husband, we focused most of our efforts on all the pasta, pizza, bread and wine we could find along the Western coast of the boot-shaped country.
Among our favorites was a generous “personal pan” of authentic pizza napoletana, limoncello in the heart of Sorrento, and a toasted hazelnut and chocolate gelato in Sicily that ruined regular ice cream for me forever. And don’t forget about the wine…
In Rome, we were so busy trying to see all that could be seen that we neglected to eat. If you knew us, you would know how crucial it is for us to plan our lives around food, so this was very atypical for sure!
When we got home, we started playing the Hindsight 20/20 game where we remembered all the items on our imaginary foodie bucket list that went untasted. Among the dishes we missed was this soup.
Stracciatella is, according to my research, a type of egg drop soup that begins with a good, flavorful chicken broth and ends with a cheesy, eggy mixture providing protein and texture.
There are not a lot of ingredients in this soup, so the ingredients need to be high-quality. I think it’s really important to start with a good stock. We are big fans of roasting chicken and I like to make good stocks with the leftover bones and a flavor-enhancing mirepoix. Once I have the stock cooked to perfection, I use a good parmiagiano-reggiano cheese, which is no easy find in the rural wilderness that I call home.
Since we raise free-ranging chickens and ducks, we find ourselves in an egg surplus pretty regularly. For a recipe where the eggs play more than a supporting role, I typically use duck eggs. They are bigger than chicken eggs, but I use the same number of eggs in any recipe whether they are duck or chicken. I also consider the yolks of duck eggs to be richer.
The finishing touch is a little color with fresh baby spinach that I diced using a crude variation of the chiffonade technique where I bunch all the greens together in a wad and roughly dice them into ribbons.
This soup is a composite of several traditionally “Roman” recipes I’ve found for Stracciatella and makes me feel like I’m back in Europe sailing along the Mediterranean coast again. After this, I can’t wait to make more Italian-inspired cuisine!
Duck Egg Stracciatella alla Romana
6 cups of chicken stock
3 cups baby spinach, sliced
4 ducks eggs
1/4 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
Salt & pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish
Combine chicken stock and spinach in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer.
In a separate bowl, whisk the cheese and eggs together. Pour this mixture into the chicken stock and whisk continually as the egg cooks for about one minute. Strands of cooked egg will begin to form in the broth.
Remove from heat and continue whisking for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Garnish with parsley prior to serving.