It is Monday morning. The fridge and I are both feeling depleted by the ravages of the weekend.
I need something cleansing, something comforting. What I really need is a bowl of chicken noodle soup. But the fridge yields no chicken. The pantry no noodles. The freezer, however, gives me soup. At least, the base for it. One litre of the finest liquid gold on which it is possible to get your hot little hands: our homemade free-range chicken broth, an essential standby that touches everything from risottos to soups to braises with its comforting magic.
My other meagre assets? One lemon, a few eggs, a chunk of Parmesan and a handful of parsley. And then, by chance, what should float into my inbox from the NY Times but a recipe for stracciatella, that simple, lovely soup of chicken broth enriched by ribbons of egg. Their twist was to put a dash of fish sauce in with the eggs – and you’re welcome to try it. But there is something very pleasing about using only 5 ingredients in a dish. Some recipes call for the addition of baby spinach and if I had some, I would have added it, and most include grated nutmeg with the beaten eggs. I happen to be nutmeg-averse – a hangover from childhood junket trauma – but again, it’s your call.
Here, then, is the simplest possible stacciatella. It takes about 30 seconds to prepare and is everything you’d look for in a chicken noodle soup. Except maybe chicken. Or noodles.
1 litre homemade chicken broth
2 free-range eggs, beaten
Zest of half a lemon
2 heaped tablespoons parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer over a medium heat. Season to taste with salt.
In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the beaten eggs, lemon zest, and parmesan.
Swirl the eggs into the simmering soup, creating ribbony strands.
Taste for seasoning, sprinkle on chopped parsley and serve.