I’m baffled at how Italians––being such hard-liners when it comes to food––named three diametrically different foods with the same name. The noun stracciatella whose root is stracciare (‘tearing to rags’) is the name of three unique foods: a gelato flavor, the filling of burrata cheese and a type of soup.
Stracciatella, the gelato
This is a delicious cream flavor that was invented in Bergamo in 1961 at Gelateria La Marianna. It is a snow-white fior di latte (milk) base dotted with irregularly shaped dark chocolate bits that look like they’ve been torn to shreds. Hence the name.
Stracciatella, the cheese
This is the sinful filling of Burrata from Andria, a small town in the region of Puglia. Stracciatella for burrata is made with torn pieces of mozzarella mixed with heavy cream, contained in a mozzarella pouch. Cutting through a fresh burrata and witnessing the soft shredded stracciatella oozing out is a truly mystic experience.
Stracciatella, the soup
This is a dish typical of Abruzzo, Marche and Lazio. The latter is the region of which Rome is the capital. Intended as a way to reuse leftover broth, stracciatella is quintessential comfort food. The recipe is easy and quick. Above all, this delight brings the magical healing powers of chicken soup to a whole new level. I once nursed a broken heart on a strict diet of stracciatella (in all three incarnations). Worked wonders.
In conclusion, here is my stracciatella in brodo recipe, with ingredients for 4 portions
4 eggs (8 oz/220 g total)
150 g (⅔ cup) Parmigiano, grated to a fine powder (no microplane)
1 liter (4 cups) poultry, bone or vegetable stock
A pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp. lemon zest
Flatleaf parsley (optional)
Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork, add the grated cheese, a pinch of ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt, and whisk to blend.
Bring the stock to a rolling boil. Using a whisk, create a vortex in the broth by swirling in the same direction.
Carefully pour the egg mixture in one slim stream into the eye of the vortex and keep swirling to tear up the stracciatella.
Reduce the heat to maintain it at a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes, as you keep stirring and shredding the eggs as they cook in the broth.
Serve hot sprinkled with a touch of lemon zest and some parsley.
Wine? Chilled Riesling Italico.