Egg drop soup is something I’ve always associated with Chinese cuisine and, until a few days ago, I had no idea that egg drop soup exists in many other culinary cultures. The Indian egg drop soup has tomatoes, the Greek version, called avgolemono, has fresh lemon juice, there is a Spanish egg drop soup called puchero (in the Philippines and many South American countries, puchero is a stew) and there is the Italian stracciatella alla romana or stracciatella for short.
Stracciatella means small shreds and is descriptive of the appearance of the beaten eggs in the soup. The term stracciatella, however, also applies to other Italian food items with the characteristic shredded texture. There’s the cheese stracciatella di bufala and the stracciatella gelato which has bits of chocolate mixed in. To differentiate the soup from the other stracciatella in Italian cuisine, it is stracciatella alla romana.
Cooking stracciatella alla romana is very similar to making Chinese egg drop soup. The only marked difference is the addition of grated Parmesan cheese to the beaten eggs. The egg-cheese mixture is poured into hot broth and is left untouched for a few seconds to partially set then stirred to create the shreds which may be wispy or on the thick side, depending on one’s preference (see two ways to make egg drop soup).
The texture of the egg in stracciatella alla romana is quite different though from the egg in Chinese egg drop soup. Because of the addition of Parmesan, the shreds of egg are softer. Cloudy is the word that comes to mind. Or, perhaps, cottony. Fluffier and rather airy. Delicious. And the mouth feel is really terrific.
Stracciatella alla Romana: Italian Egg Drop Soup
- Stir the grated Parmesan into the beaten eggs (you may optionally add a pinch of nutmeg and some lemon zest).
- Heat the broth until simmering. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the egg-cheese mixture into the broth. After a few seconds, stir lightly.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Take it easy on the salt because Parmesan is salty and some of that saltiness will find its way into the broth.
- Optionally garnish with snipped parsley and serve.