CLASSIC pasta tortellini in brodo



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Our favorite all-time comfort luncheon (or for that matter any time) is tortellini in brodo. The beautiful, stylish tortellini are a special joy and a culinary treasure. And they are perfect served in a variety of ways (see tortellini alla panna) including in broth.

We are able to buy freshly-made egg tortellini from our local pasta shop. These little gems are now available in many specialty food shops around the country. (We don't use the supermarket variety). This makes the preparation something of a breeze.

We also make our own, for special events, and when we do we make plenty, to have some to freeze.

To make the tortellini and/or the cappelletti, see the basic recipe: tortellini. The two are similar: the cappelletti, somewhat smaller, are made from square cuts of pasta, formed to look like a pointed hat. The tortellini, which is one of the native dishes of Bologna, is made from circular cuts of pasta, and then formed.


  • eight cups chicken broth
  • eight ounces of tortellini (about 64) -- more or fewer if desired
  • two tablespoons chopped parsley
  • one-half (or more) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to one's taste)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bring four quarts of water to a grntle boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Add the tortellini and cook until done. One can test by taking out a tortellini, cutting a tiny sliver off the edge, and tasting. They should be well-enough done (not too al dente) but definitely not soft. When done, drain.

In another sauce pan, heat the chicken broth. Add the tortellini when they are ready, add a tablespoon of parsley, stir. Add a twist of freshly ground pepper, and taste for salt and pepper.

Serve in heated bowls. Add a tablespoon or so of the parmesan top each bowl, and sprinkle with the parsley.

for the deluxe version:

This is worth the little extra effort. As above, we use either our purchased fresh egg tortellini or our home-made.

for the broth:

  • two tablespoons of olive oil
  • one-half cup chopped onion
  • one-quarter cup chopped celery
  • one-quarter cup chopped carrots
  • one tablespoon garlic, peeled and minced
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • eight cups of chicken broth
  • two tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one-half cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

for the pasta:

  • eight ounces (about 64) or so freshly made tortellini (or 80 cappelletti)

Put the olive oil into a saucepan (large enough to hold all the broth and tortellini)u over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots, and saute until the onion starts to get soft, about four minutes.

Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and saute another two minutes. Add the broth and a tablespoon of parsley, and bring to a boil. Then hold in a simmer.

Heat 4-5 quarts of cold water to a raging boil, add a tablespoon or so of salt, drop in the tortellini, and stir regularly until al dente. (test by taking out a tortellini, cut off an edge, and taste for al dente that way). The tortellini should be done (not too al dente), but not soft! Drain, shaking out the moisture.

Add the tortellini to the broth. Add salt and pepper. Stir. Adjust for taste.

Ladle into heated bowls. Add parmesan on top, and sprinkle with some chopped parsley.


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