Tortellini cooking in freshly made brodo (chicken broth)

Tortellini in Brodo, Christmas, 2017

Tortellini in Brodo, Christmas, 2016

Everyone loves their cherished family traditions, especially for the holidays.  For my family, no holiday would ever be complete without tortellini in broth (tortellini in brodo).  We serve this soup the authentic way from northern Italy, specifically the provence of Emilia-Romagna.  Although tortellini is delightful served in a cream sauce, this is the true northern Italian way to serve it.  My family savors this delicate homemade stuffed pasta in a very American way that differs from how it is served in Italy . . . we fill our bowls with a large quantity of tortellini, whereas in Italy only a small amount of tortelllini float in a large amount of broth.  Why keep going back for seconds when it’s already in front of you in your bowl?  Makes sense to me!

We are spending Thanksgiving in a much different way than in the past.  For the first time we are celebrating this holiday on the coast on Hilton Head Island, SC.  The weather is just gorgeous in the 70’s to low 80’s, with soft breezes and cool evenings.   It really is a wonderful change.  Each day we’ve been biking and walking the beach.  A perfect way to relax, restore, and ponder on all things that we are grateful for.

This recipe requires several days to prepare; one day to make the pasta and broth, and one day to fill and twist the tortellini.  If you have the time and desire for a true Italian homemade pasta specialty, here is my cherished family recipe for Tortellini in Brodo (Tortellini in Broth):

I found this following bit of Italian food trivia on the Barilla web-site:  “Although tortellini are undoubtedly a food from Emilia, the origin of this famous pasta dish is unclear. One thing is for sure and that is that tortellini are fairly ancient. There is a recipe for tortelli, larger tortellini, that dates back to the 12th century, while the first recipe for tortellini alla Bolognese comes from 1550. From that moment on, tortellini have held a special place in the cuisine of Bologna. 

“Although tortellini are undoubtedly a food from Emilia, the origin of this famous pasta dish is unclear. One thing is for sure and that is that tortellini are fairly ancient. There is a recipe for tortelli, larger tortellini, that dates back to the 12th century, while the first recipe for tortellini alla Bolognese comes from 1550. From that moment on, tortellini have held a special place in the cuisine of Bologna.

According to the legend, in the morning, Bacchus and Mars woke up early to visit the battle site, but when Venus awoke, she thought she had been abandoned by her companions. She immediately called the innkeeper to find out where they had gone. The innkeeper arrived to find the goddess of love naked in front of him. The beauty of her body made such a strong impression on him that he created a new shape of pasta that resembled her belly button!

“Traditionally, when cooked in broth, 50 tortellini were served per person?”

Tortellini in Brodo, Thanksgiving, 2011
Below, there are three (3) recipes to prepare Tortellini in Brodo:  one for the pasta dough, one for the tortellini filling, and one for the chicken broth (brodo).
Prepare the recipes in the following order:  
1. Prepare the broth first which can be refrigerated or frozen,
2. Next, prepare the filling for the tortellini which can also be refrigerated or frozen,
3. Lastly prepare the pasta dough that you need fresh to fill and twist the tortellini.  
Once twisted into shape, the tortellini can be refrigerated for a day or two after they have laid out to dry or they can be frozen.  Of course, you can always use them immediately after making them!
The second time since 1983 that I made tortellini all by myself without my mother who passed in 2015.  I hope that she is proud of how she taught me to make tortellini for so many years.
No, the tortellini is not being baked.  I put them in an OPEN door oven to keep them safe while they dry, up and away from hungry dogs who love tortellini!  It works!  After drying, I place them in freezer containers to freeze until the day of preparing the festive dinner on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Tortellini in Brodo


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Tortellini in Brodo: The Classic & Authentic Recipe from my family in Modena, Italy

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  • Author: Roz
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
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Units Scale

For the Tortellini Egg Pasta Dough

  • Blend together 12 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.
  • Place 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).

For the 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 the whole mixture 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. (or more to taste) nutmeg, dash of pepper, and 1 jumbo beaten egg

Continue to add

  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
  • 1/32/3 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, it’s time to get the chicken broth going on the stove before you get started rolling the pasta dough out.

For the Chicken Broth (Brodo)

  • Fill a large, TALL pot with clean water (I like to use water from my frig that purifies it). FIll the pot with about 3/4’s water, leaving enough room from the top of the pot to put the rest of the ingredients in without overflowing the water.
  • Put the following into the pot of water:
  • 1 6pound chicken (hen)
  • 1 package soup bones (if you can get them)
  • 1 4pound 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
  • salt
  • Cook for 23 hours.
  • Take all ingredients out of the broth with a hand strainer.
  • With thin tea towels covering a colander/strainer, pour the broth through the tea towels and colander/strainer 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).


  1. Please read above.


  • If you have ANY QUESTIONS AT ALL, please email me or leave a comment so that I can help you. These are not the easiest recipes to make for the first time and I’m here to help walk you through the process. It is much easier the second and additional times that you prepare authentic home-made tortellini and you need to give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for making these!
Here’s the link to “How To Roll and Twist Tortellini
,Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

Enjoy this Tortellini in Brodo (Tortellini in Broth) A Northern Italian Classic


Tortellini in Brodo, Christmas, 2012

Tortellini in Brodo, Thanksgiving, 2011

Tortellini in Brodo

A beautiful bowl of Tortellini in Brodo (Broth), one the oldest holiday food tradition in our family