Stracciatella

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From Celia Bucci

Serves 4-8

[Another great soup from the puniest of raw materials: egg, cheese, greens, water. The flavors are delicate — especially if you come to this after chowing down on, say, cabbage and kielbasa — but I found it immensely satisfying. “Straccia in Italian is used to mean rag,” says Celia.  “More specifically, it refers to something that’s been torn up and used as a rag.”]

1 onion
2-3 Tbs olive oil (Sounds like a lot, but you won’t regret it)
Salt
Pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp Oregano
Cayenne (If you like, it’s not so traditional but I’m a hot spice junkie)
Garlic (3-6 cloves, as you wish)
4-6 cups water (Broth if you like a richer flavor.  There was no broth in Wednesday’s soup)
1 bunch chard (I use red because it’s pretty)
4 eggs
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated aged cheese — Parmesan is mild, Romano a little sharper but sweeter, Pecorino sharp and lovely


Chop an onion into pieces small enough to fit on a spoon.  Saute them in olive oil with salt.
While onions cook, pull the leaves of the washed chard off the stem.  Chop the stems into pieces that fit on a spoon and add them to onions that by now should have clarified and softened. 
While you’re there, add the pepper, oregano and coarsely chopped garlic, a dash of cayenne if you choose, and let these brown.  Caramelize just enough to leave some sticky bits at the bottom of the pot.
When you’ve got good brown bits, add all of the water.  Bring to a rolling, not raging, boil.
While this comes to a boil, rip apart the chard leaves (or cut them if you prefer).  You can make these as big or small as you like. They will shrink.
Taste one of the chard stems in the boiling water to see if it’s softened to your liking. If so, add the leaves to the soup.  
While this comes back to a rolling boil, beat the eggs and cheese together in a bowl. Use enough cheese to make it about as thick as batter. Make they’re well-blended, with no chunks or visible yolk.
When the soup is boiling again, pour the egg mixture in, all at once, right in the center of the pot. If you have let the mixture sit, beat the eggs again just before pouring so there is no separation.
Turn the heat off and let it sit for about 1 minute.
Stir gently to break up the egg a little and it’s stracciatella.

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