Tortellini en Brodo

(Tortellini en Brodo coming to top of the pot, a sign of ‘al dentedoneness)
I have a little bit of time left on my semester break before classes begin next week to show you my family’s semi-annual tradition of making home-made Tortellini en Brodo (in Broth). It is semi-annual because we make them only for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But when we make them, we make around 1000 each time and freeze them.
In Northern Italy, in the Emilia-Romagna region, the most culinary region of Italy, where my ancestors are from and my relatives still live, there is no doubt as to how to serve ‘tortellini’. It is classic Bolognese tradition, to always serve tortellini in a rich home-made chicken broth. Most people today in the U.S. associate a cream sauce with tortellini, but the traditional method is always with a broth. This is the only way that my family prepares this pasta and soup.Let’s start with the making the pasta, OK? I don’t have any photos to show you of the pasta or the filling being made, because my mother prepared both of them ahead of time before arriving for Christmas
Egg Pasta Dough:
Blend together:
1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 JUMBO eggs
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. whole milk (this helps the pasta seal together when twisting the tortellini)
1 cup of SEMOLINA flour

Blend these six ingredients together very, very well.
Then add:
3/4 cup regular flour (not semolina)

You can mix this the old-fashioned way by making a “bowl” of flour on a wooden block, placing the wet ingredients in the center of the ‘flour bowl’ and gently add the flour in with a fork until completely mixed, OR you can mix the dough in a food processor until it has the consistency of corn meal. This finished dough should be well blended, but NOT sticky. If it is sticky, cut the dough into 3 sections and add 1 Tbsp. flour to each. If, on the other hand, it is too dry and crumbly, add 1 – 2 tsp. water.

Knead the pasta dough for 2 – 3 minutes. Put into plastic bag and let rest for 30 minutes.

For every egg that you use, it will make about 100 tortellini, therefore this recipe makes 100 tortellini (at the correct size that is).


Tortellini Filling:

1 lb. ground cooked veal, drain the fat and cool slightly

1/4 lb. prosciutto
1/4 lb. mortadella
While the veal is cooking, grind the prosciutto and mortadella in a food processor, only until it is in little pieces — don’t process to much or it will turn into a mushy mess.
Then add the cooked veal; let it cool a little or the egg that you are about to add will cook and you don’t want the eggs to cook.

Add to thewhole mixture:

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. (or more to taste) nutmeg
dash of pepper
1 jumbo beaten egg

Continue to add:

1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1/3 – 2/3 cups plain bread crumbs

If needed: add 1 – 2 Tbsp. butter

YOU HAVE TO TASTE THROUGHOUT THE BLENDING to determine the ‘crumbly texture and biting taste’.

Now, let’s get the chicken broth going on the stove before you get started rolling the pasta dough out.


Fill a large, TALL pot with clean water (I like to use water from my frig that purifies it) with enough room from the top of the pot to put the rest of the ingredients in without overflowing the water.
Put the following in the pot:
One 6-pound chicken (hen)
1 package soup bones (if you can get them)
1 4-pound round bone beef roast
3 carrots, cut in thirds
1 onion, cut in 1/4’s
3 celery stalks, cut in thirds
1/4 bunch of Italian parsley
Cook 2 – 3 hours.

Take all ingredients out of the broth with a hand strainer.
With thin tea towels covering a colander/strainer, pour the broth through them into another pot……this is a lot of work and usually needs two people to do this. Be careful, the broth is very hot while you do this. Continue to strain the broth into clean tea towels about two more times until the broth is completely clear and free of any ingredient remains.

Taste, add more salt to taste.

If you make this the night before, refrigerate it, and then the next day, skim off any fat/grease from the top (it will solidify in the frig and be very easy to remove).

And now, after enough time has passed for the above to be prepared, POUR YOURSELF A NICE GLASS OF WINE, because you are now going to engage in something that is not only a food preparation, but also a SOCIAL RITUAL among Italians — the rolling of the pasta dough and forming the individual little tortellini and talking, talking, talking! Plan an entire half day to do this.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Oh my goodness, I just went and fell in love with your Bella food blog. How fantastic to see your
    Italian hesitage displayed with your mama and papa. I am a “senior citizen” who happens to be German heritage married to an Italian. Unfortunately his mother died shortly after we got married, and you might say I never became an “Italian” cook. I am so looking forward to trying some of the fabulous recipes you have posted. Might I also add that you look like a fantastic cook. Have you or your parents ever made or heard of (this is not the right way to spell it I’m sure) sfoglatella ? It’s a clam shaped pastry with almond filling. Not having the ability to get to New York (where hubby is from) I can’t find any bakeriens around here that make them so I wonder if they can be “homemade”.

    You are one busy lady and I just felt inclined to share my joy with you having found you.

  2. Anonymous says

    I love your blogs! Especially the foodie one. I have to ask, do you have another recipe for gnocchi? My husband will eat nothing green, and we have the potato gnocchi from the store but I love to cook from scratch and would love to make these. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

  3. says

    Roz, thanks for sharing this recipe. I have yet to make homemade tortellini. Right now I have a frozen tortellini from Costco. It’s no where nears homemade so I think your brodo recipe will certainly help them out.

  4. says

    Very wonderful recipe! Soups are one of those foods I love year round.. I love tortellini en brodo.. it’s been a while since I made it, thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. says

    Ciao y’all,

    Thanks for so many wonderful comments. There is simply nothing like homemade tortellini and just wish that everyone could have the pleasure of enjoying it, because it is truly different from what is bought already made and sold in stores. It seems like a lot of work, but it is very worth the time and effort (AND LOVE!) that goes into the process.

    Love and blessings to you! Bella

  6. says

    Dear Joie and Laurie,

    I had not responded to your comments yet (I tend to get behind due to my profession of teaching) and so I just wanted to take a brief little moment to say thank you for stopping by and for leaving such kind remarks. I am glad that you’re enjoying the recipes and will continue to do my best to share those recipes that ‘really do work’. Let me know if there is anything that you’d like me to post as well. One last thing, feel free to make recommendations since I am certainly not an expert!

    Much Love,

  7. says

    Hi Anonymous, Thanks so much (a little late) for such kind comments. It just makes my day so much better when I find that someone is happier as a result of some of my simple recipe posts. Have a blessed day/evening. Roz

  8. says

    Excellent recipe! I’ve been cooking the same Pasta, but I couldn’t find the original flavor. Culinary art is the art of preparing and cooking foods so I think I’m not good on it.

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