Yield: Yields about 6 quarts of broth and about 200 tortellini
This comforting dish of stuffed pasta in a hearty broth is a holiday tradition in northern Italy. It’s often served as a first course, followed by a pork or veal roast and lots of winter vegetables. Both the tortellini and the broth can be made ahead.
Extra: Watch an audio slide show of Biba making Tortellini en Brodo step-by-step.
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Remove the chicken and discard or save the meat for another use. Using a slotted spoon, discard the remaining solids from the broth. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Line the strainer with a clean thin kitchen towel or cheesecloth and strain the broth again into another large bowl. You should have about 6 quarts of broth. Transfer the broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight. Remove the fat and reserve the broth.
Transfer the pork and its juices to a food processor. Add the prosciutto and mortadella and pulse until the mixture is very finely chopped (but not puréed).
Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and add the Parmigiano, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Mix well. (The filling should be moist and just a little sticky.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
With a dough scraper, push all of the remaining flour to one side of the board. Scrape off and discard the bits and pieces of dough attached to the board. Wash and dry your hands. Begin adding some of the flour you have pushed aside into the soft dough, kneading it gently with the heels of your hands as you incorporate the additional flour and the dough becomes firmer. Keep the board clean and dust it with flour as you knead to prevent the dough from sticking. After kneading for 8 to 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth, elastic, and just a little sticky.
Press one finger into the center of the dough; if it comes out barely moist, the dough is ready to be rolled out. If the dough is still quite sticky, add a little more flour and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes longer until soft and pliable.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
Change the rollers to the next setting down and roll out the dough without folding. Repeat rolling the sheet of dough (without folding) through the pasta machine, decreasing the settings until the pasta is 1/8 inch thick. On a floured wooden board, cut the dough into 1-1/2-inch squares. Keep the squares covered with plastic as you shape the tortellini.
Repeat the filling and shaping with the remaining pasta and filling.
Make Ahead Tips
The broth may be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. The filling may be made and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. The uncooked tortellini can be refrigerated, loosely covered with a towel, for up to 1 day. Or freeze the tortellini on the baking sheets; then transfer to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
I made this as the first course for a dinner party I did for some old friends - perfect for a special occasion.I've been a disciple of Biba's for years. I learned to cook Italian from her show on the learning channel in the nineties. In fact I have all her shows on tape, including one where she makes this dish. The only thing I would change next time is to boil the tortellini separately. Cooking them in the broth clouded the broth and the beautiful color I got after I strained the broth. I would also grate the cheese directly over the plated soup. I used a moule grater to grate the cheese in advance and it lumped up a little once it hit the hot broth.
Outstanding! I have made many recipes by Biba Caggiano over the years and have not been disappointed and this one is no exception. We served this as a first course to our Thanksgiving meal and every guest absolutely loved it. Thank You!
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