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Tortellini in Brodo

(Serves 4-6)
Tortellini in Brodo:  A traditional Italian Soup from Bologna
Tortellini hails from the city of Bologna, Italy.  This delicate, fresh pasta, shaped and filled with flavorful ingredients such as cheese, meat, fish, or vegetables, is one of the essentials of Italian cuisine, found in nearly every region of the country in countless varieties.  Traditionally, tortellini are cooked in a simple chicken broth to make the classic dish Tortellini in Brodo or are paired with a light tomato sauce. The larger tortelloni can take on heartier, more substantial sauces, including butter, cream, or vegetable-based sauces.

Tortellini in Brodo is real Italian comfort food.  It is a dish that requires a lot of time.  It is best to make the
brodo (broth) and the tortellini filling the day before you plan to serve it.  The next day you can make the dough and fill the tortellini before simmering them in the skimmed brodo. It is more work than your average recipe but it is certainly worth it.  We serve Tortellini in Brodo as a main course during the cool weather months.
This recipe produces a lot of tortellini.  If you are going to make the effort of making tortellini from scratch, go ahead and make the whole batch.  Freeze the extra tortellini and take out as many as you need for other meals.  To freeze fresh pasta with a meat filling (such as this one), line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread out the pasta on the sheet so that the pieces do not touch. Freeze several hours or overnight then gently drop the pieces into heavy freezer bags.  Freeze up to 3 months.

Brodo di Carne:
1 rib celery, including leaves, cut into 3 pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, peeled
3 chicken drumsticks
2 pieces beef shank with bones
6 beef bones with marrow
1 small piece Parmesan cheese rind
About 2 tablespoons salt

Egg Pasta Dough:
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water

Tortellini Filling:
5 ounces veal rib steak (or pork loin)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 ounces sliced prosciutto, diced
4 ounces sliced mortadella, diced
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg


To make the brodo:
Put all ingredients, except salt, in stockpot.  Cover with 3-1/2 quarts of cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Skim foam and fat that rises to the  surface.  Add salt, cover, and simmer for 2-1/2 hours.  Skim occasionally.
Taste and adjust salt.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large container.
Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, skim off any excess fat that has accumulated on the surface.

To make the pasta dough:
Follow the directions for making Basic Egg Pasta Dough

To make the tortellini filling:
In a small skillet, sauté veal in olive oil until cooked through.  Set aside to cool.  Cut into pieces.  Add veal, prosciutto, and mortadella to food processor.  Process until finely chopped but not pureed.  Add Parmesan, egg, and nutmeg.
Refrigerate overnight.

To make the tortellini:
Roll out the pasta dough with rolling pin.  Cut into 1-1/2 inch squares.
Add a tiny ball of filling.  (Figure 1)

To seal the tortellini:
Brush around each square of dough with a little water.  Fold the dough in half, encasing the filling, to form a triangle.  Press edges together firmly to seal. (Figure 2)

Using your thumb, press the middle bottom edge of the triangle up toward the point. (Figure 3)

Take the two bottom ends and join them together, forming a circle.  (Figure 4)
Place completed tortellini on a lightly floured surface as you continue to make the remainder.  (Figure 5)

The tortellini can remain at room temperature for up to an hour before cooking them in the broth.  Otherwise, cover and refrigerate them until serving time.

To cook the tortellini in brodo:
Bring the brodo to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the required number of tortellini and simmer about 8 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Each diner should get between 12 and 18 tortellini depending upon how big you made them.
Step by Step Making Tortellini
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
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