Tortellini en brodo (Tortellini in Broth) is a simple dish from the North of Italy which is traditionally served at Christmas
As is often the case with Italian food simplicity means more. Again and again I have witnessed the Italian way of using quality ingredients, simply cooked. Tortellini en brodo – or tortellini in broth, popular in the North of Italy is no exception. This simple dish is often served as a first course at Christmas, although it remains popular and on menus throughout the year.
I first ate tortellini en brodo in Bologna (the home of the Mortadella sausage) last year, in a charming, but unassuming osteria where it was their prided speciality and was ordered by most guests. Unlike in many British towns, towns in Italy such as Bologna are fortunate to have many small, family run food shops in the narrow shaded streets, many selling their homemade tortellini. My Italian friend Nicky told me that her mother will buy Tortellini from a very similar shop and bring it back to London and freeze it for their Christmas bowl of tortellini en brodo.
When I travel I always bring back edible souvenirs, so I can try and replicate the meals I ate at home to bring back happy memories, and to inspire planning for the next trip. For ease of transportation, I tend to stick to non perishable souvenirs. Giovanni Rana is one of Italy’s favourite fresh pastas, this artisan, authentically Italian pasta has been made in Verona for over 50 years and can be bought in the UK.
I used the Giovanni Rana cappelletti (meaning little hats, and a cousin of the tortellini) to make my version of the comforting tortellini en brodo, served with a ladle from a large bowl, just like in that little osteria back in Bologna.
Pasta needs room to cook, and a common mistake is to use too small a pan. I always cook pasta in my largest saucepan, even when cooking for one. Salt the water and allow it to come to a rolling boil, add the pasta and then turn it down to a simmer. Read the cooking instructions these little cappelletti only need a minute to cook. Once they are cooked they will puff up slightly and rise to the surface. Fresh pasta is delicate once cooked so rather than tipping into a sieve remove your pasta with a slotted spoon, and gently shake to drain. Serve with a little butter, Parmesan, or Grana Padano – less is more, so do not overwhelm and drench your pasta with sauce and cheese.
Tortellini en Brodo (Tortellini in Broth)
For the broth
- 2 free range chicken thighs
- 1 small onion - peeled and halved
- 1 stick celery - roughly chopped
- 2 small carrots - peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 sprig parsley
- 5 cm square piece hard cheese rind (Parmesan or Grana Padano are ideal)
- few pepper corns
- 750 ml | 3 cups water
- 1 packet Giovanni Rana Cappelletti - cooked for one minute or as per packet instructions
- Place all the ingredients for the broth into a large, heavy saucepan with a tightly fitting lid, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Put the lid on the pan, turn the heat right down (use a diffuser ring if needed) and allow to cook for 2 and a half hours until the chicken is falling part and you have a fragrant, but delicate broth.
- Strain through a cheese cloth lined sieve into a clean pan.
- Reheat to broth to a gentle simmer whilst you cook the pasta.
- To serve pour the broth into a bowl and add the Giovanna Rana pasta
Appreciate the essence of real Italy with Giovanni Rana. #LiveItalian. www.liveitalian.co.uk
Tortellini en brodo recipe commissioned by Giovanni Rana. All opinions our own.
Lovely post Helen! I totally agree with you in that Italian cooking is all about the quality of the ingredients. This Giovanni Rana pasta looks fabulous! We are slowly getting more access to quality Italian ingredients in the southwestern United States… I will have to keep my eye out for this pasta (or similar). Perhaps some day I’ll get to visit Italy and experience it first hand :-)
We are so used to great Italian ingredients here, but even 30 years ago things were very different and there was not really any filled fresh pasta for sale at all.
When my family first moved to the UK in the 1970s the ONLY pasta available was spaghetti, hence the birth of the thoroughly un-Italian spaghetti bolognese. How times have changed!
In this part of Italy the family all gets together on Christmas eve to make tortellini in preparation for the next day’s meal. And it’s so cold here that it’s an amazing winter warmer dish. Pop over and I’ll show you how to make them ;)
I saw a blog the other say with a recipe for Spag bol – “just like Mama used to make”. I cringed inwardly.
I remember spaghetti in the 1970’s – long long packets – and you had to get olive oil from the chemist!
This looks so great, I usually make my tortellini by hand, but that brand (and the flavors) look quite amazing. Thank you for the post, definitely saving this one :D
I really like the Rana pasta, it is great as it is, or jazzed up like this.
Ilona @ Ilona's Passion
I love tortellini and I make them often at my home. My children can eat them all the time. Definitely Italian cooking is all about quality.
I love Tortellini, so much choice on the filling.
This soup looks wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Quality over quantity – couldn’t agree more! Giovanni Rana sounds like a wonderful product to try. xo, Catherine
Quality is the most important thing. Love good Italian food.
Oriana @Mommyhood's Diary
I love this recipe because it looks delicious and simple to make! I haven’t tried Rana pasta yet but I will look for that brand next time. Pinning.
It is so easy to make, as well as delicious!
I love the freshness and vibrancy of Italian cooking. Lovely post and I would love to try this pasta x
I love the Giovanni Rana pasta – lots of different ones to choose from.
Oh this looks delicious and I think even I could give this a go! I LOVE Italian food, they put so much love into their food somehow, and as you say the ingredients are so important. Italian is definitely our favourite cuisine as a family, I’m always on the look out for new ideas so thank you!
I absolutely agree about the putting the love into the food. I love good simple Italian food made with good ingredients.
Fashion and Style Police
When it comes to food, it is always about quality. I love this recipe. It looks yummy.
Always about the quality.
I like the idea of having the tortellini in a broth, it looks just lovely.
Thank you, it is such a comforting dish.
Yum, I will need to try this. It looks delicious. Your lovely photos make me want to go on holiday xxx
Ha! I make myself want to go on holiday too!
Lovely post and pictures Helen. I love tortellini and your broth looks so tasty :)
Thank you, it is one of my favourite ways to serve it now.
I have to admit that we are not pasta fans (apart from Eliza) but it the photo’s make it look so delicious
I could not live without pasta! Such an easy staple.
I LOVE these Tortellini – i always have a bag in the fridge for a quick lunch for myself.
Utterly delicious and not had it in broth before so I’m going to give it a go this week.
Looks really yummy!!
My mother always keep a bag or two of Giovanni Rana too. Once opened I freeze the reminder and cook from frozen.
Hannah Budding Smiles
I adore tortellini but have never had it in broth. Good tip about pasta needing space to cook.
It is lovely in broth, so warming!
This dish sounds amazing, I am going to give it a go I think. There is so much more to Italian food than tomato sauce and pizza isn’t there
Absolutely – and so much “fake” Italian food around too.