This recipe for Stracciatella is an old family recipe that my grandmother passed down to my mother and my mother to me. Every Italian family has its own way of making Stracciatella; some families use eggs, cheese, and pasta. Some families use only eggs and cheese. Our family uses spinach, eggs, cheese, and chicken. I love this outstanding soup that is a meal with a salad and a beautiful loaf of bread. I have included my mother’s recipe for Chicken stock, or you can substitute low-fat chicken broth. (chicken stock isn’t that hard to make!) If you use chicken broth, use 4 quarts. And I love chicken in the soup so just add 3 cups of cooked chicken. If you want a vegetarian soup, substitute vegetable stock, and omit the chicken.
1 4 1/2 lb 5 lb whole chicken
2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 carrots, quartered
2 medium onions, halved
6 fresh parsley stems(without leaves)
1 Turkish bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
3-4 qt cold water, enough to cover the chicken
1 1/2 tsp salt
Wash chicken well. My mother always put a tablespoon of sea salt in the chicken cavity for a few minutes and then rinses the chicken well. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large 10-qt pot. Skim the frothy fat off until there is no more sudsy fat. Simmer for 3 hours, covered. Remove chicken to a large bowl and set aside. The chicken will be very tender and fall apart. Let cool and then remove meat from the chicken. Set aside The white meat is what I like to use in my soup. Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard the remains in the sieve. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any reminding fat. If you make the stock a day ahead and chill overnight, the fat will form on the top and easy to remove, making the stock lower in fat. The broth will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for 3 months.
1 box 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
Cooked chicken about 3 cups cut into bite-size pieces
Cook spinach according to package instructions; I like to microwave. Beat eggs well in a large bowl, adding spinach and 1 cup cheese. Bring stock to boil, add spinach mixture. Don’t touch soup for a minute or two. Then stir and reduce heat immediately to low. Continue stirring for 4 to 5 more minutes. Add cooked chicken—season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, topped with additional grated cheese.