Famous food writer, Waverley Root, writing the Time Life series, ‘The cooking of Italy’, mentions this soup as one of the Roman’s favourite dishes. He explains, ‘Stracciatella’ means little rags as the soup is made of the liquid batter of the eggs and grated Parmigiano Reggiano being poured into the boiling stock. The egg breaks up into little flakes and float in the broth. Luscious and delicious. It is essential to make a great chicken stock as that is the important base to the dish.
Egg soup with chicken gnocchi or quenelles – Stracciatella con gnocchettini di pollo
When this soup is served without the chicken quenelles, it is called Stracciatella alla Romano.
1 litre chicken stock
2 eggs plus 2 yolks
100g Parmigiano Reggiano
handful of flat-leaf parsley, about 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, or chervil
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
knob of butter
For the gnocchi, chicken quenelles
200g minced chicken
2 small egg whites beaten to stiff peaks
30g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
2tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp flour – I used a mixture of corn flour and parmesan powder for extra flavour
Extra flour and parmesan powder for rolling the quenelles
Extra litre of chicken stock for poaching.
Make your best chicken stock; recipe is on the website.
To make the quenelle gnocchi: mix the chicken mince in a bowl with the stiffly beaten egg whites, Parmigiano Regianno, flour, parmesan powder and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
Using 2 teaspoons, shape the chicken mixture into small quenelles or dumplings, weighing 20 grams each. Rest in the fridge. When ready to cook the soup, plunge chicken quenelles into the simmering chicken stock. Cook a few at a time to keep the stock at a simmer; simmer gently for 8 minutes before scooping them out; continue until you have cooked them all; set aside to add to back to the finished broth. These may be made and cooked in advance.
For the soup: bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
Whisk the eggs, cheese and parsley in a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to the simmering stock; the egg will cook almost instantly. Do not be tempted to stir, just leave the egg to set for a moment or two, then, very lightly stir with a fork so the egg separates into thick chunks or strands. If you do this too soon, the strands will be small and will make the soup look grainy.
Gently stir in the extra knob of butter to give extra richness, add the chicken quenelles and simmer for a few minutes to ensure they are hot again. Serve immediately garnished with finely chopped chervil or parsley.