Magazine article Sunset

Torn-Apart Soup? It's Italian, and More Subtle Than the Chinese Version

Magazine article Sunset

Torn-Apart Soup? It's Italian, and More Subtle Than the Chinese Version

Article excerpt

Torn-apart soup seems, on the fact of it, to be an oxymoron--a contradictory statement akin to compulsory volunteer service or simplified tax form. Yet such a soup exists. It's called stracciatella, from the Italian verb stracciare, which means to tear apart.

The name was derived from the appearance of the egg, which forms strands or shreds when immersed in the hot broth. If you have eaten Chinese egg-drop soup, you've seen this torn-apart look. Stracciatella is bolder in appearance, however, than the wispy Chinese version.

Of the many Italian egg soups, stracciatella is the simplest to prepare, and there are many ways of making it. Some recipes mix the cheese with the egg before serving; other insist that the broth not be stirred after adding the eggs. Roberto Lancellotti's version is straightforward and delicious.

Stracciatella

4 to 5 cups regular-strength beef broth 3 tablespoons dry sherry 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 4 large eggs Freshly ground pepper Freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a 2-to 3-quart pan, bring broth to a boil; add sherry, nutmeg, and parsley. In a small bowl, beat eggs to blend. Reduce heat so soup barely simmers, then slowly pour egg in a spiral into broth.

Ladle steaming soup into bowls; add pepper and cheese to taste. Makes 5 or 6 cups, 4 or 5 first-course servings.

Per serving: 83 cal.; 5.9 g protein; 4 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 3 g carbo; 56 mg sodium; 170 mg chol.

If a bed-and-breakfast inn is worthy of its name, it should give you a quiet night's rest and a breakfast designed to spoil your appetite for lunch. …

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