Friday, March 12, 2010

Italian Egg Soup


We’re almost into spring up here, but the weather has been fickle and vacillating back and forth between blue skies and warm weather to cold, gray, rainy days. I wanted something warm a few days ago and Italian Egg Soup totally fit the bill. This soup is a take on a classic Italian dish called “stracciatella” which is taken from the Italian word stracciato meaning “torn apart.” This is a direct reference to the way the eggs are cooked in the dish. At the very end of the cooking process you whisk in some lightly beaten eggs which transform the soup from brothy to creamy, flecked with little feathery egg bits that melt in your mouth and give the soup a curiously thick and luscious taste. The original recipe is really light, usually only comprised of chicken broth, herbs, and eggs. This recipe is much heartier and really flavorful while still being extremely healthy. I thought it was a really filling dinner (with a side of french bread), but Tony caved about half an hour after inhaling his soup and ate a couple of turkey dogs. I think his body wanted more calories- there are like 200 in one bowl of soup. This is basically delicious diet food. :)


Begin by heating 6 cups of chicken (or veggie) broth and 2 cups of water in a covered medium sized soup pot. In the meantime,  chop one bunch of green onions (chives, scallions, whatever) separating your white ends from your greens. Add the white ends to the broth as well as a washed 15 ou can of cannellini (white kidney) beans and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Let this mix come to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Add 2 cups of whole wheat Rotini pasta and simmer uncovered for about half as long as the box says to cook the pasta, or about 4 minutes. I really love whole wheat for this because it’s super healthy, has a great nutty flavor, and it’s sturdy enough to retain some bite after sitting in warm soup for a long time.


While the soup is simmering, grab about 4 leaves of mustard greens (or as much of some other light tasting, leafy green lettuce-style veggie to produce about 3 cups of chopped greens). Remove the tough middle stem and stack the leaves on top of each other to prepare for a chiffonade cut. Roll them like you’re trying to make a long tube (it kind of looks like a cigar) and then, starting on one end of the tube, slice down to make a ring about as thick as your finger is wide and move all the way down your tube making this cut. It’s easy if you keep your knife tip on the board and your most distal knuckles acting as a guiding cut point for the broad side of your knife. Set the greens aside and lightly beat 6 eggs in a cup.


After about 4 minutes of boiling toss in your mustard greens and allow them to wilt for about a minute.


Stream the beaten eggs into the soup while whisking vigorously. The liquid changes from a clear, brown broth to a lighter, cloudier soup. The egg bits should settle into small, feathery pieces when they cook. Allow the soup to simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add about 1/4 tsp black pepper, 4 tbsp lemon juice, and all of the green tops from the onions. Adjust for taste.


Ladle the soup into some bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. This soup would go really well with some crusty french bread or garlic bread and maybe a Cesar salad. I hope you try it!

Italian Egg Soup

  • 6 cups chicken or veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15 ounce can Cannellini beans, washed
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced, whites and greens separated
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups whole wheat Rotini pasta
  • 3 cups chopped mustard greens
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

In a covered medium pot bring the broth, water, beans, onion whites, and nutmeg to a boil. Uncover and reduce to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook for half as long as the box instructions direct you to, or about 4 minutes. As the pasta boils, chop your greens chiffonade-style and lightly beat your eggs in a cup.

Add your mustard greens to the pot and let them wilt in the soup for about a minute. While whisking constantly, stream in the beaten eggs (they should look like little feathery strands as they set). Allow the soup to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the pepper and lemon juice. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with french bread or garlic bread. Enjoy and remember you can easily mix up these ingredients!

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