Besides falling in love with the fried artichokes in Roma, my favorite food memory from our recent trip to Italy was all the wonderful comfort food in Bologna – including tortellini en brodo.
Traditionally, tortellini en brodo is a fresh pasta stuffed with veal, proscuitto, mortadella and cheese floating in a capon broth. Since good mortadella and veal — not to mention capon(a castrated rooster) — are hard to find, this version uses chicken instead of veal and a chicken broth but is remarkably similar.
Unfortunately, just because it is simple, doesn’t mean it is easy to make. Recruit a few helpers as good company will make the pasta shaping go faster, plus practice makes perfect! The tortellini and broth both freeze well so make double batch and save it for a rainy day. Also, do use homemade broth for this, store bought will not give you that authentic made-with-love Italian flavour.
Tortellini en Brodo(~4 dozen tortellini (about 4-6 servings))
Heat the olive oil to medium in a small skillet. Slice the chicken breast thinly and add to the olive oil. Saute chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool combine in a food processor with proscuitto, egg yolk, ricotta and parmesan. Pulse until chopped very fine but not completely pureed. Taste and season. Refrigerate and allow to sit for at least an hour or over night.
Now make the pasta. Whisk together the eggs and slowly incorporate in the salt and flour until you have a shaggy dough, transfer to a board and knead to bring together. Place the olive oil on the board and knead it into the dough. Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to allow to relax. At least an hour. Before rolling out allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes.
Roll out using a pasta maker (quite thin). Cut int 1 1/2" squares and make each tortellini with about 1/2 teaspoon of filling. Place the filling in the centre of the square. Gently brush the edges of the square with a bit of water. Fold into a triangle, pressing together the edges and remove any ar. Bring the two bott edges of the triangle together around a finger and squeeze to join. Place formed tortellini on a parchment lined cooke sheet while you make the rest. (Check out youtube for great tutorials on this.)
Bring your broth to a simmer. Taste it and add salt and pepper to season it generously. Bring to a simmer and cook the tortellini in the broth. Check for doneness - about 5-7 minutes. Serve a generous amount of noodles and broth in each bowl with more Parmaggianno cheese and pepper on the side to garnish.
(*) "00" or "Double Zero" flour can be found at gourmet food stores and italian grocers. If you can't find it either substitute half pastry flour and half all-purpose, or all all-purpose flour. It will be good either way ;)