Why It Works
- Homemade stock makes all the difference here; most store-bought ones just won't cut it.
- Blending the egg with grated cheese adds a ton of flavor to each spoonful of soup.
- Whisking the egg mixture into the soup breaks it up into small, cloud-like nubbins.
Stracciatella alla romana is the egg drop soup of Italian cooking. It starts with a rich meat broth (either chicken or beef), into which a beaten mixture of whole eggs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is streamed in to form tiny, light, and flavorful clouds. A bit of fresh nutmeg and lemon complete the picture. It's quick, comforting, warming, and oh so delicious.
- 1 quart (950ml) homemade chicken stock (or homemade pressure cooker chicken stock) or homemade beef broth (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3 ounces (85g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (optional)
- Freshly grated lemon zest and/or fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
- Finely minced flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat stock over medium-high heat until simmering. Lower heat to a bare simmer. Season lightly with salt.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and cheese until thoroughly mixed.
Slowly pour egg mixture into the soup while whisking. Return to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with salt once more, if needed.
You can season and garnish the soup as desired. A light grating of nutmeg is traditional, as is some finely grated lemon zest, and even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with parsley, if you like. Serve hot.
Homemade stock is very important here, since it's very exposed. Store-bought broths and stocks can be used, but we don't recommend it since they generally don't taste nearly as good. To make a simple beef broth, simmer beef stewing meat, bones, and/or ground beef and aromatic vegetables like carrot, onion, celery, and garlic until flavorful (at least 1 hour); you can also use a pressure cooker for a beef broth, which should cut the cooking time down to about 30 or 45 minutes.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The broth can be made in advance, but the egg mixture is best when added shortly before serving. Still, the finished soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat gently before serving.