Tortellini en Brodo is simple tortellini in broth, but what makes it extra special is making it entirely from scratch – with homemade pasta dough, tortellini filling, and chicken broth.
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While my recipes normally have more than 4 ingredients and steps, I generally think they are approachable to people who regularly cook. But this recipe is definitely not going to be approachable for all – not because it is difficult, but it takes a lot of time and a few less common tools.
What you need to make Tortellini en Brodo:
- Food processor to grind the meat filling
- Pasta rollers, unless you have forearms of steel and can roll it with a rolling pin
- 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter or similar sizer empty aluminum can to cut out the tortellini (or you can cut into squares)
My husband and I don’t cook together as often as we used to, but we got busy in the kitchen making these tortellini together the night before we hosted an Italian dinner party. But as usual we were too focused on the process for me to remember to stop and take photos of each step. If you would like step-by-step visuals of forming the tortellini, The Kitchn has really great photos.
Making pasta is kind of like playing with edible playdough (although technically it is also edible for safety reasons). You slowly roll the dough sheets thinner and thinner before cutting into 2-1/2 inch circles, stuffing with homemade meat filling, sealing, and folding into the cute little tortellini shapes.
Sure, you don’t have to make your own pasta dough, tortellini filling, or broth, but it really does elevate this otherwise simple dish. And it’s a really easy recipe to break into parts if you want to attack in on separate days. Better yet, they tortellini can be frozen for future use.
Want an easier Tortellini en Brodo?
- Skip the homemade dough: Instead use square wonton wrappers. You don’t need to cut them into circles, just fold into triangles and form as directed if it were a circle.
- Simplify the filling: Use only Italian sausage in the filling. It won’t be as complex of a flavor but it will still be tasty.
- Use good quality store-bought chicken broth or stock instead of homemade.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 8 oz. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 in cubes
- 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
- 4 oz. prosciutto, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 parmesan rind
- For the filling: Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the bay leaves and cook for 1 minute to infuse the butter. Add the pork shoulder and sausage and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine, scrape up the brown bits, and stir until it is almost evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool (remove and discard the bay leaves).
- Once cooled, transfer the meat mixture to the bowl of a food processor, add the prosciutto, and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, then mix in the cheese, egg, and nutmeg. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the tortellini.
- For the pasta dough: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Create a well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into this well. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and then slowly begin to incorporate a little flour at a time into the eggs with the fork, until a soft dough begins to form.
- Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter. Folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again. Continue until it's firm and then knead until it forms a smooth elastic ball. Place the ball of dough inside a clean bowl, cover, and let rest for at least 30 minutes (or chill for up to 24 hours).
- Divide the dough into four equal portions. As you work, keep dough wrapped in plastic or a damp kitchen towel. Set your pasta roller to the widest setting (usually "1"). Flatten one piece of dough into a thick disk between your hands and feed it through the pasta roller. Fold flattened dough into thirds, like a letter, and press it between your hands again. With the pasta machine still on the widest setting, feed the pasta through the rollers. Feed it through once or twice more until smooth.
- Change the setting on your roller to one step thinner. Roll the pasta two or three times before continuing to the next setting down, repeating the process until the dough is about 1/8-inch thick (I rolled down to a 5 or 6 on the KitchenAid attachment). Cover with a damp towel until ready to proceed to filling.
- For the tortellini: On a floured wooden board, cut the dough into 2-1/2-inch circles. Keep the circles covered with plastic or a damp towel as you shape the tortellini. Put about 1/2 tsp of the filling in the center of a pasta square. Moisten the edges with a little bit of water, fold in half, and press the edges to seal. Bend the tortellino around your finger with one end slightly overlapping the other and press to seal. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet dusted with flour. Arrange the tortellini in a single layer and cover with another clean towel (or place in freezer for 1 hour then transfer to a freezer bag to use later).
- For the Tortellini en Brodo: Pour the stock and parmesan rind into a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the tortellini, and cook until they float to the surface, about 2 minutes. Ladle the tortellini and broth in individual bowls and serve immediately (top with more grated Parmesan if desired).