Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:31 pm EST

A plate of warm 'Stracciatella'
'Stracciatella alla romana' (not to be confused, of course, with the gelato of the same name) is a light 'egg drop soup', perfect for a light first course or dinner in those cold evenings. It's a great choice for those occasions when you may not be very hungry—perhaps you've had a big lunch or midday dinner—but don't feel like actually skipping a meal.

If you have broth on hand (you can make some quickly with a chicken or beef bouillon in two cups of water), it is also very quick and can be made literally in just minutes. To make stracciatella, bring broth to a fairly brisk simmer, but not a rolling boil.

While the broth is heating up, for each serving whisk together one egg, a spoonful of grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper and a dash of nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Mix well to make a perfectly homogenous mixture.

When the broth is simmering, slowly pour the egg mixture into the broth, whisking continuously in a single direction and turn off the heat. The egg mixture will form little curds that are said to look like 'little rags' (hence the name... Stracciatella is derived from straccetti, which means little rags).

Allow to sit for a few of minutes and serve, if you like, with an addition of little croutons (you can easily make some with old bread cut in little cubes and broiled in a cooking sheet in the oven for a few minutes or until crunchy enough).

As usual, even with a soup this simple, variations abound, but this is the one I suggest and grew up with so, enjoy this yummy comfort food and stay warm!