It’s funny how when you’re a kid you refuse to do certain things and even to eat certain things. But one day you grow up and suddenly the things you hated are now the things you long for. Whether it’s a bearhug from your dad in a crowded place or a taste of the Easter soup that you never could stomach until one day when it wasn’t on the menu, you realized how much you missed it. Like that, suddenly these absent things make you understand just how much a part of you they are. For that reason, I knew I had to add u spezzat’ to my Easter brunch menu.
U spezzat’ essentially resembles a stracciatella egg drop soup, but with lamb. It’s something that I never really cared for growing up, but it was always present at our Easter family lunches with Zio Filippo and the rest of the gang. The smell of stewed lamb would fill the house and while my dad often opted for a bowl of chicken noodle soup, my nonna wouldn’t let me get away with not eating the traditional dish so easily. She’d make me a little bowl with mainly greens and some egg, but because I was always finicky about bones and the unique taste of lamb, never any meat.
Over the years, my idea started to change and I began to love lamb (and sheep), which I think really took off after living in Abruzzo for a bit! Whether it was lamb arrosticini, a grilled chop or lamb ragù, suddenly I loved lamb. The meat inside the Easter soup was then no exception. In fact, the last few years, u spezzat’ is the thing that I’ve most looked forward to at Easter; that and of course sampling Zio Filippo’s spicy sopressata and peeling away at tie dyed easter eggs during our antipasto course.
Since, I’m not at home this Easter, I just knew I need u spezzat’ on my brunch table to make it truly feel like Easter. Like a cippodat’, this was my first attempt at making this traditional Rosetan’ dish but I pleasantly surprised myself. Uncovering the pot of the soup, I recognized the familiar smell and suddenly I felt like my mom and Nonna were right there in the kitchen beside me!
I want to note that although you can make this soup all in one day over the course of a few hours, I actually started letting the meat stew the night before, adding greens and then the egg and ricotta mixture to the pot about a half hour before we actually ate it.
Not only was it almost identical to the spezzat’ that my Nonna makes, but my friends seemed to love it as well, which is a major win! Fall-off-the-bone delicious, the lamb was cooked to perfection and it just made the rest of the soup all the more delicious. My friends also loved the rich and creamy egg and ricotta clouds in their bowls of soup!
Whether it’s a part of your Easter tradition or not, I invite you to give this soup a try for your next holiday celebration!
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*Makes 8 servings*
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ onion, diced
1 lamb shoulder and ribs (with bone)
10 cups water
1 bouillon cube
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
1 head of escarole
1 cup ricotta
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
In a pot over medium high heat, add olive oil and onions. Sauté until translucent. Set aside.
Brown pieces of lamb in a pan until the marrow from the bones turns brown and no pink juices run from the meat. Add to the pot.
Add water, bouillon cube, salt, and peperoncino to the pot. Bring to a boil for a half hour. Reduce heat and let stew for three hours.
Roughly chop escarole and toss into the soup.
In a bowl, beat eggs until smooth, whisking in ricotta and Parmigiano.
Bring the soup to a boil once again and drop the egg mixture. Cover the pot to let the eggs cook for about ten minutes until the mixture has set.
Serve immediately or let continue to stew and let flavours develop!