Tortellini in Brodo (Italian Recipe from Scratch)

Tortellini in Brodo is a warm and delicious soup, a great classic of Italian cuisine, especially from Emilia Romagna.

It consists of fresh egg pasta tortellini stuffed with a savory blend of meats and cheese, cooked in a rich meat broth and served piping hot with a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano!

A super-comforting winter dish that, in keeping with Italian tradition, is made for Christmas dinner, just like Passatelli in broth.

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As with many other traditional Italian recipes, there are many small variations that can make all the difference. This, however, is the traditional tortellini in brodo recipe from Bologna.

It’s a medium difficulty preparation that requires patience and a little time on your hands because it’s the complete recipe, made from scratch. I will show you how to make homemade tortellini in your own kitchen with your own hands! Then the broth. It will be a rich and flavorful meat broth that I will show you how to make step by step.

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If you follow the tips and steps one by one, you will see that it will be easy! Long, but easy. And fun, too. In Italy, making tortellini is an art passed down from family to family. Whole afternoons spent making handmade tortellini with grandparents, children and friends!

Tortellini in brodo is an Italian tradition on December 25th, but it is also a delicious Italian soup for special occasions, family Sundays and winter evenings!

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Ingredients

Tortellini:

  • Prep Time: 3-4 H + 24 H resting time in the refrigerator for the filling
  • Servings: 4

Broth:

  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • Cook Time: 3 H

100-120 g (3.5-4.2 oz) of tortellini per person

THE DOUGH:

  • 150 g (1 cup) of “00” soft wheat flour
  • 150 g (1 cup) of durum wheat flour (semolina flour) + more for dusting
  • 3 eggs of at least 70 g (2,5 oz) each. Fresh homemade pasta usually wants 1 egg x 100 g (3/4 cup) of flour

THE FILLING:

  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of pork loin
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of Mortadella, single slice
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of Parma Ham, single slice
  • 100 g (1 cup) of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • fine salt to taste

THE BROTH

  • 4 liters (17 cups) of cold water
  • 350 g (12 oz) of meaty beef stock bones with marrow such as knuckle bones
  • 500 g (1,1 lb) of stew beef such as chuck or flank steak
  • 1/2 hen or chicken
  • 1 white onions medium size
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalks of celery
  • 1 big tomato or 3 little tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 cloves (optional)
  • salt to taste

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Kitchen Tools and Equipment

How to Make Homemade Tortellini: Instructions 

BEFORE YOU START: Making homemade tortellini is a fairly lengthy process. The filling must rest in the refrigerator for several hours, preferably a whole day. Making the dough and then shaping the tortellini one by one takes 3 to 4 hours. So my advice is to do like me: make the tortellini well in advance and FREEZE them! That way, when you want to cook them, you’ll have them ready! For instructions on how to freeze and cook tortellini, read the paragraphs at the end of the recipe.

The Filling

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Step 1) – Roughly chop the mortadella, Parma ham and pork loin. Cook the pork in a pan with a knob of butter for a few minutes, covered with a lid.

Then blend the cooked pork loin, ham and mortadella all together, until smooth and finely chopped. Finally transfer to a bowl and add the nutmeg, egg, a pinch of salt to taste and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Mix until you have a thick mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

The Dough

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Step 2) – Work the flours with the eggs on a work surfice. Pull the dough back and forth with the palm of your hand for a few minutes. Using a spatula, remove the dough from the board, scrape off any dough that has stuck to the surface, and start kneading again. Knead vigorously for at least 10 MINUTES.

Finally, form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap to protect it from drying out, and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

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Step 3) – Dust your work surface with some semolina. Take a lump of pasta dough the size of a tennis ball and press it out flat with the palms of your hands. Set the knob of the sheeter to level 1 and speed 2 on your pasta machine. Put the dough in the rollers and pass it the first time.

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Step 4) – Now you need to make the folds. So, fold the dough in half, and then in half again.

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Step 4) – Flour with semolina and pass it through the rollers again. Repeat 2 or 3 times (fold/pass – fold/pass), until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Remember to flour the pasta sheet with semolina flour whenever you feel it’s sticky. If the sheet of dough becomes too long, cut it in half.

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Step 5) – Now turn the knob of the sheeter to position 2, again at speed 2, and repeat the steps, to further roll out the dough. DO NOT make any more folds and start thinning the dough by running it through the smooth roller at least a couple of times.

From position 2 move to position 3 and repeat. Roll the dough again between the rollers, gradually reducing the thickness until it’s about 1-2 mm; if the dough is too wet, you can lightly dust it with semolina.

The pasta to make tortellini should be about 1-2 millimeters thick. So stop at position 4 if you like thick pasta. If you prefer thinner pasta, roll it out to #5. NOT THINNER, OTHERWISE THE TORTELLINI WILL BREAK!

If you want to know all the tips and tricks to make pasta at home read How to Make Homemade Pasta

Make the Tortellini

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Step 6) – Once you have the sheets of pasta, cut strips of pasta 3 or 4 cm wide, then overlap them with each other. Then cut squares 3 or 4 cm on each side.

PLEASE NOTE: Italian tradition calls for small tortellini, made with 3 cm (1.20 inch) squares of dough on each side. I make them 4 cm (1.60 inch) because they are easier to make and easier to handle. Your choice.

At this point, with your hands make balls with the filling the size of a chickpea and place them in the center of the squares. Continue adding the filling about 10 squares at a time.

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Step 7)BEFORE YOU START! First, moisten the squares with a little water. This way they will close tightly, but more importantly they will STAY CLOSED even while cooking!

  1. Fold the square back on itself, tip to tip, to form a triangle.
  2. Press the edges well to seal them.
  3. Once you are sure that you have sealed it well, press the corner of the resulting triangle downward.
  4. Make small folds on the sides of the triangle.
  5. Join the two edges, leaving a hole in the center and sealing them with a pinch.

Place the tortellini on a lightly floured dishcloth in a cool place.

Make yourself comfortable, because making all the tortellini will take 2-3 hours, but the satisfaction will be great!

Your homemade tortellini are ready! Read below how to store them until you need them!

If you want more information, tips and tricks read Traditional Italian Tortellini Recipe

How to Store Tortellini

REFRIGERATOR: Homemade tortellini can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Sprinkle the tortellini with a little semolina to prevent them from sticking together. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can also make several layers, always separated by parchment paper.

FREEZER: Because of the time it takes to prepare the tortellini, I prefer to freeze them. Of course, you must have used only fresh ingredients. Spread the tortellini out on a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper. As with refrigeration, you can make several layers, always separated by parchment paper. Seal with aluminum foil and place in the freezer. The next day you can put the frozen tortellini in the freezer bags. They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

How to Make the Meat Broth

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Step 1) – Peel the carrot and cut it into chunks. Then cut the celery too. Peel the onion and cut it in half. If you want a more aromatic meat broth, add a bay leaf and two cloves, sticking them in the onion to easily remove. Then put all the vegetables in a large pot with high sides.

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Step 2) – Now prepare the meat. Wash the meat with the bones under running water to remove any splinters or impurities. Wash the hen or chicken as well and remove excess pieces of fat. Now add the meat over the vegetables: the beef, the meat with bone and the hen or chicken. Cover the meat with the cold water.

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Step 3) – Cook over medium-high heat for the first 10 minutes, then cook for 3 hours over low heat with the lid slightly open. The broth should simmer slowly.

During this time, the broth may need to be skimmed. That is, remove the dark foam, consisting of fat and impurities, which settles on the surface of the broth.

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Step 4) – About half an hour before the end of cooking, add the parsley sprigs. Parsley, if cooked too much, becomes bitter and loses its scent. After about 3 hours of cooking, the broth is reduced by half.

The meat broth is ready. Now all you have to do is strain it. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables from the pot. Finally, strain the broth once or twice with a colander.

SALT: Add salt to taste only after cooking: the amount of salt depends on your personal taste and how concentrated the broth is.

STORAGE: Once strained, you can store the broth in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

If you want more information, tips and tricks read the full recipe: Homemade Meat Broth Recipe

How to Cook Tortellini in Broth

BEFORE YOU START:

  • After 3 hours of cooking, the meat broth will probably be reduced by half. Taste it to see if it is savory enough or if you need to add more salt.
  • If you think the broth is too concentrated (perhaps because you kept the heat too high), add water and adjust the salt.
  • The correct amount of broth for 4 people is 1 1/2 to 2 liters, sometimes as much as 2 1/2 liters, depending on whether you like your tortellini in brodo soup more brothy or not.
  • Remember to use about 100 – 120 g (3.5 – 4.2 oz) of tortellini per person.

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Step 1) – Pour the broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Add the tortellini to the broth. Increase the heat to medium and bring again to a boil. To speed up, cover with a lid for 30 seconds to 1 minute maximum. Remove the lid and let the tortellini cook.

Depending on the thickness of the pasta, it will take 2 to 5 minutes to cook. Don’t worry if you overcook, the tender and flavorful tortellini in the broth are always delicious!

PLEASE NOTE: When the tortellini float to the surface, they are NOT ALWAYS COOKED! You have to taste. Then taste. AND TASTE! Just to find out if they are cooked to your liking.

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Step 2) – Serve Tortellini in Brodo in bowls with a little grated Parmigiano on top. Some people like a sprinkling of black pepper and nutmeg.

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How to Store Tortellini in Brodo

When making tortellini in broth, it happens that sometimes they are left over. How best to store tortellini in brodo so you can enjoy them again?

Obviously you have to put them in the refrigerator. But you cannot store them in broth. You have to separate them from the broth.

Indeed, since the cooking in the hot broth continues even after you turn off the heat, I recommend you drain them with a slotted spoon as soon as possible.

Keep the cooked tortellini in an airtight container with a drizzle of oil so they don’t stick together. Same for the broth. Store both containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

When you want to enjoy tortellini in broth again, first heat the broth until it is boiling, then drop in the tortellini. Turn off the heat, wait a few minutes for the tortellini to warm, then serve.

Or put the tortellini in a casserole dish with cream, tomato and mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes. You will find that baked tortellini are delicious!

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