Feb 02 2012

Garlic Stracciatella with Homemade Croutons

Published by at 7:45 am under Food,Local food,Recipes

Or, alternatively titled, “Oh shit, I let the expensive artisan bread get kinda hard and stale.  Now what?”

Because that’s exactly how this meal came to be.  I bought a nice loaf of rosemary-olive oil bread to be cubed for a fun cheese fondue dinner.  That night, I worked until 8 pm and just really, REALLY didn’t feel like going through the trouble of preparing all the components of fondue.  I think we ended up having Chick-fil-a.  The next night, we had plans with friends and by the next night, that nice loaf of bread was pretty hard–fondue night would have resembled eating cheese-covered rocks.

So, do I throw it out and chalk it up as a loss?

No, I saw through the thing and make croutons!

These are dense, hard croutons, not the light crispy kind you want for a caesar salad.  Instead, they would go perfectly in a brothy soup.  I thought about a tomato bisque but I could bring myself to make tomato soup with pathetic January tomatoes–blech.  So, I went cruisin’ through William-Sonoma’s Soup cookbook and found just the thing–Garlic Stracciatella, broth-based with the addition of winter-friendly spinach and carrots and full of rich garlic flavor that would be an awesome complement to the rosemary flavors already baked into the bread.

The croutons take just a few minutes to make.  I experimented with dipping the cubes in melted butter, brushing them with melted butter and drizzling them with olive oil and they came out pretty much the same so do whatever is easiest for you.  They come out hard and crunchy (depending on how stale your bread is) but they sop up all that delicious garlicky broth and get soft but not mushy.

The soup is spectacular.  Rich in flavor, but not too heavy, with hearty doses of veggies that complement the bread nicely.  I used CSA spinach I had frozen last summer but you can use fresh or frozen chopped.  Make sure your carrots are thinly shredded to give the best texture–you don’t want hard matchsticks of carrot floating around.

Garlic Stracciatella with Homemade Croutons

Yield: Makes 6-7 cups of soup, crouton servings will depend on the size of bread loaf you use

Garlic Stracciatella with Homemade Croutons

Soup recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup.


    For the Croutons
  • 1 loaf 2 day old artisan bread
  • Melted butter or olive oil
  • For the Stracciatella
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 30 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10-12 ounces spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper


For the Croutons

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (I used a toaster oven for cubes from 1 loaf). Brush, drizzle or otherwise coat each side of each bread cube with melted butter or olive oil. Spread cubes on baking sheet and bake until tops are golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Turn cubes once and bake until new tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Store at room temperature in airtight container.

For the Stracciatella

In a large saucepot over medium heat, combine the stock, garlic and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes or until garlic is soft.

Using an immersion blender (or a standard blender, working in batches), process the soup until smooth and no large pieces of garlic remain.

Return to medium heat and add the spinach, carrot, parsley and cheese. Simmer 2 more minutes (if using fresh spinach, it should wilt completely in this step). Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Slowly pour into the soup, stirring with a fork to form threads of cooked egg.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with hard croutons.


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One response so far

One Response to “Garlic Stracciatella with Homemade Croutons”

  1. The Home Cookon 02 Feb 2012 at 10:08 am

    This looks amazing. I’m finally getting into soup and I can practically taste this just reading the ingredients. :)

    And good for you re-purposing the bread!

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