Meat Tortellini in Homemade Chicken Broth
This is my grandma Rosita’s favorite dish. She raised hens and would send my brother and me to fetch fresh eggs every morning from the henhouse. On cold and rainy days, she would invite my brother and me to come over and help make tortellini, always made from scratch, for my grandpa Romano, using the same fresh eggs that my brother and I collected that morning. Then we would all sit down together and eat it, laughing and enjoying the time we had together.
prep time: 75 min | cooking time: 5 minutes | serves: 4–6
© 2023 Damiano Carrara / Sterling · Reproduced with permission. · A Taste of Italy by Damiano Carrara, published by Sterling (£24.99, available from www.thegmcgroup.com)
You Will Need
To make the chicken broth: First, clean the chicken by running it under some cold water. Put it in a large stockpot with the vegetables. Add enough water to cover the chicken, vegetables, and bay leaves. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium-low heat for at least 50 minutes to 1 hour. Every 10 minutes, remove any foam that rises to the top of the pot. Removing the foam will give you a clear broth and improve the flavor.
Once the broth is ready, strain the broth through a chinois (a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh) or cheesecloth to remove any leftover foam, then let the broth cool. Once the broth starts to cool, the fat from the chicken will slowly rise to the top and create a clear film. Use a ladle to remove this film every 10–15 minutes. When there is no longer any fat settling at the top, the broth is ready. Taste it and add a little salt and pepper, if needed.
To make the filling: While the broth is cooking, start making the meat filling. Heat 3 tablespoons (45ml) of the olive oil in a saucepan, and then add the ground beef and pork. Season the meat with a little salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes over medium heat, moving it around to make sure it cooks thoroughly.
Once the meat is cooked, add the mortadella to the mix and use a food processor to grind the meat one more time. The meat filling for this recipe needs to be ground as finely as possible. Put the ground meat in a large bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients—the parmigiano, bread crumbs, eggs, nutmeg, and herbs—and mix until all are combined. Set the mixture aside.
To make the pasta: Place the flour and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a hook attachment, and mix until the ingredients have combined into a dough. The pasta dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the hook attachment and comes off the sides of the bowl easily. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make the tortellini, lay the pasta dough on a smooth, clean surface. Sprinkle some flour over your working station and on top of the pasta dough to prevent it from sticking to the surface. Use a rolling pin to make the dough 1⁄8-inch (3mm) thick.
Cut the dough into approximately 3-inch (8cm) squares, then fill the center of each square with a teaspoon (5ml) of the filling. Fold the square into a triangle and then pinch the corners. Fold the widest part of the triangle toward the filling and then pinch the other 2 corners together to make a tortellini shape. You can freeze any tortellini that you don’t use for up to 2 months in a freezer bag.
When the broth is ready, bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium (so that your tortellini do not break open when they hit the water). Add the tortellini and cook them for 3–4 minutes. You’ll know they’re done, when they start to float to the top.
Serve the tortellini in a bowl with some broth. Garnish with some freshly shaved parmigiano and enjoy.