Stracciatelli

Chicken soup is often referred to as "Jewish penicillin," but at my house the cure-all usually comes with an Italian accent. Stracciatelli (also known as rag soup) is a family favorite, and it’s a snap to prepare with store-bought reduced-sodium chicken broth.

The broth is brought to a strong simmer, and then a mixture of eggs, freshly grated Parmesan and fresh breadcrumbs are whisked in. Using good freshly grated Parmesan (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano) and fresh breadcrumbs is critical, and the soup is even better when homemade chicken stock is used. Fresh breadcrumbs can be made in the food processor, but for the small amount needed for the recipe I usually grate a day-old baguette on a box grater.

The soup is pure comfort, and is especially enjoyed by my children and their friends, who all learned to make the soup during one of my summer cooking camps. While the children like the soup as is, a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley, basil or chives makes a nice finishing touch.

  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Bring broth to a simmer in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and beat well. Add cheese and breadcrumbs and beat again. Ladle 1/2 cup of the hot stock into the eggs. Bring stock up to a boil and whisk in the egg mixture. Reduce heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and top each serving with more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 6 1-cup servings.