I admitted to you last week that I was already feeling a little nostalgic for New York and the weather down here today is not helping. We are under our 2nd day of lockdown for Sneauxgate here in New Orleans. Schools, roads and government offices are closed and I can only laugh when I think about how my friends in New York would react if they knew that the city was in a state of emergency for temperatures that touched 28 but will be back at 55 by tomorrow. Ahhhh, life in the tropics.
The nostalgia does continue, though, and I am brought right back to lunchtime in New York. When I worked in Midtown (and made it in to work in blizzard conditions) we frequently ordered take-out from a little Italian deli called Angels on 63rd and 1st or something like that. It wasn’t award-winning but they were super friendly, the food showed up quickly (even in bad weather – imagine!) and generally it was the only place we could all agree on — which meant we ate there a lot.
The one exception to the rapid delivery they offered was when someone ordered their Stracciatella. It always took 20 minutes to make and when it arrived it was nuclear reaction hot. I could barely stand to wait for it to cool down and usually didn’t. It was light and silky smooth and impossibly full of flavor for such a simple broth. It was and remains one of my absolute favorite soups but one I could find nowhere else. Until now.
The key to Stracciatella is in not overcooking the kale. I prefer baby kale but I suspect a heartier, greener variety would stand up to a bit more time in the pot. Just keep an eye on it while cooking and make sure you don’t let it go slimy.
Also, this is surprisingly filling and remarkably warming. It is a great alternative when you want a winter soup but aren’t really in the mood for something super chunky or creamy. Grab a large bowl of this, put on some big warm socks and a glass of pinot noir and you are all set for a warm and cozy night in while the snow falls in chunks outside.
- 16 ounces baby kale, washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 3 quarts (3 L) low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons (16 g) kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup (100 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb (.5 k) cooked pasta - as fresh as possible
- Heat the olive oil in a very large stock or saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Don't overcook it.
- Increase the heat to high, add the broth and measured salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue simmering until the kale has softened but isn’t mushy and the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes.
- While the kale is cooking in the broth, whisk the eggs and cheese together and set aside but nearby.
- Increase the heat to medium-high again, slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, and stir to combine and to break up any large pieces of egg. Remove from the heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
- Ladle into bowls and then add a small amount of your cooked pasta to it. A small handful. The soup should not feel like a noodle soup but rather the pasta should be a nice addition to make it a bit heartier.
- If you use traditional kale instead of baby kale you'll need to cut the stalks out when washing and drying it. Also cut it into bite sized pieces and cook for 10 minutes, not 5, in step two, when you introduce the kale to the chicken broth.
- This recipe serves about 8 adults as a main course and can be easily cut in half.