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Even when this Italian soup doesn't go as planned, it's still good

By: Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post
April 19, 2017
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Stracciatella With Spinach (Egg Drop Soup). MUST CREDIT: Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post.

It takes only five or six ingredients to make this Italian egg drop soup called stracciatella, but technique is key.

You must blend - not whisk - the peppery egg and Parm mixture so the yolks and whites marry well without becoming frothy. Then, you must stir the heated, spinachy broth as you pour in the mixture; the whirl of liquid should lengthen the eggy additions into tender strands that cook almost on contact.If the broth is too hot or the eggs are overbeaten, you could wind up with a milky-looking brew and more chunky bits of egg white.

It might be easier to execute those silky strands if they were only beaten egg, but then the cheese would clump on its own or largely melt from view.

Serve with warm, crusty bread.

Stracciatella With Spinach (Egg Drop Soup)

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Yield: 4 servings

About 8 ounces (4 cups packed) fresh spinach 2 large eggs 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish Freshly cracked black pepper 4 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth) Kosher salt (optional)

Procedure:

Stack and roll the spinach, then cut crosswise into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, then use a fork to gently break up the yolks; do not whisk so vigorously that they become frothy. Gently stir in the cheese, then season lightly with pepper.

Bring the broth to barely a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Add the spinach and cook for about a minute, or until it has wilted. Remove from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes.

Gradually pour in the egg mixture in a thin stream from about 8 inches above the saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon in one direction, until eggs turn into ribbons. If you introduce the mixture too quickly or stir too vigorously, the eggs will turn into rubbery clumps. Also, if broth is too hot, the egg mixture will diffuse into the liquid. (And if this doesn't work, it's OK; the soup will taste just as good.)

Taste and add salt and/or more pepper, as needed. Ladle into individual warmed bowls. Garnish with a bit more cheese and serve right away.

Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 9 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar.

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