Stracciatella Soup with Spinach and Tortellini

DSC_4099When I was growing up, there were only a few things that my dad would cook (and only when the absence of mom necessitated it.) He would scramble an egg and pour it into bubbling Lipton instant soup, under the pretense of making it heartier. It wasn’t until I was an adult and reading cookbooks that I realized that this habit was probably just a (very loose) adaptation of an Italian-American meal from his childhood,  Stracciatella. Dad had the scrambled egg right and, while I loved Lipton soup as a kid, I’m much happier with the store of homemade chicken stock in my freezer.

This is a good, quick soup for a lunch at home on a cold day. It would also make a gentle appetizer before a hearty meal.

I keep the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture in the freezer to make it even quicker. The toddler and I like to eat this out of our mugs and say, “Mmm.”

For 2 – scale up as needed

2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 egg
2 tbls. Parmesan
2 tbls. bread crumbs
a handful of fresh spinach
1/4 c. dried tortellini (optional)
salt, pepper

  1. Warm stock in a small saucepan. Wash spinach and chop into thin strips.
  2. Bring stock to a simmer, add tortellini, and cook until almost done (about 10 minutes.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk cheese, bread crumbs, and egg. Ladle 1/2 c. of the warm stock into the bowl and whisk.
  4. Check that stock is simmering and add egg mixture, stirring vigorously with a fork. (One cookbook I read even advised to “whisk it feelingly, even emotionally.”) Continue to beat for about 3 minutes, then stop and let the curds come together.
  5. Add spinach and let simmer very briefly (until it looks limp.)
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
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