Today’s blogpost will introduce you to a favorite soup of mine, STRACCIATELLA ALLA ROMANA..translated it means Little Rags in the Roman Style. Some of you may be confused because there’s a gelato flavor called STRACCIATELLA as well, a Vanilla gelato with ribbons of Chocolate throughout the mix. When the ALLA ROMANA is added be assured it means a delicious rich clear meat broth to which chopped spinach is added..and THEN, feel the excitement?, a mix of eggs beaten with black pepper and Parmigiano cheese is drizzled into the hot broth while you gently whisk till the egg and cheese forms pieces/ribbons and then you are done. The CLASSIC recipe will use a clear strong BEEF or MEAT Stock…Italian-Americans usually use a clear strong Chicken Stock. Both are delicious. The tradition of Stracciatella alla Romana was that it is a dish served in the dead of Winter at Christmas time. In my Italian American home growing up with it’s Napoletana-Basilicata-Sicilian roots this was a common soup that Mom made. No Roman in our house. I do remember seeing it on Italian Restaurant menus during the 60’s and 70’s. It’s not as popular now but when you bring it up when talking Italian foods people do perk up. I think this falls under that Italian-American Comfort food umbrella, you know, the one where PASTINA resides. Adding the Spinach might be a very Italian-American touch. The original is made without it. More often than not Mom used Grated Locatelli Pecorino for her soup not the usual Parmigiano SO I leave that up to you. Nutty and Mild is the flavor profile for the Parmigiano cheese..and Strong and Salty is the flavor profile of the Pecorino. What do I like better? Pecorino. Don’t let me sway you. Choose for yourself and make this wonderful soup. I love when I can introduce people to something that once was so popular and now is…almost gone. This soup was even served at my high school prom at the Hollywood Terrace in Brooklyn, 1979. (YES, good food has always existed in Brooklyn, long before it was discovered by hipsters in the 2000’s…lol). I considered this Italian Egg Drop Soup as opposed to Chinese – American take out EggDrop Soup. I love them both. So, ANDIAMO ALLA CUCINA..let’s go into the kitchen!
STRACCIATELLA ALLA ROMANA ———TIME: 1/2 HOUR SERVES: 6
3 QUARTS CLEAR MEAT OR CHICKEN BROTH
2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED CLEANED BABY SPINACH
3 TBS. SEMOLINA
1 TSP. FRESHLY GROuND BLACK PEPPER
4 TBS. FRESHLY GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO or LOCATELLI PECORINO ROMANO
1/4 TSP. GRATED LEMON ZEST (optional, i don’t use it, many recipes do)
PINCH OF GROUND NUTMEG
Heat the BROTH till boiling then add the SPINACH. Reduce to medium. While that is happening beat the eggs with the pepper, nutmeg, semolina, and cheese. Then drizzle it into the pot of simmering broth gently and CAREFULLY whisking the egg mixture in.
Keep whisking until all the eggs have formed the “STRACCI”, or RAGS..the colorful name given to the coagulated egg mixture that looks like torn rags. Now Stracciatella is very Roman but it’s also made in Le Marche and other Italian regions. Let the soup cook for 2 minutes longer then turn off the heat. Season with salt to taste if necessary
Ladle into the 6 bowls and sprinkle with more grated Cheese. Serve. Great memories of a soup my Mom used to make. I add a little peperoncino to mine.
So when planning your Christmas menu remember this fits right in during that week between Christmas Eve and Santo Stefano. (Dec.24-26) but why wait? Make it anytime!