Tortellini in Broth
Tortellini floating in broth are the perfect meal when you are feeling under the weather! I often think of them as little life preservers bobbing around in the broth just waiting to come to my aid! Filled with a mixture of flavorful meat, including ham and mortadella, the pudgy little parcels are packed with flavor and include a healthy dose of ground nutmeg to warm you from the inside out. Lean over the bowl, close your eyes and allow the steaming hot broth to take you under its spell! While I tend to think of tortellini as comfort food, legend tells us something entirely different. A long, long time ago, in a little tavern, somewhere between Bologna and Modena, Zeus and Venus indulged in a feast. After drinking a bit too much wine, they decided to share a bedroom, so the innkeeper showed them to their room. Captivated by Venus' beauty, the innkeeper spied on his guests through the keyhole in their bedroom door, but all he could see was Venus' navel. He rushed to the kitchen rolled out a sheet of fresh egg pasta and invented a shape inspired by her navel. And so we have tortellini! Tip: Fresh tortellini will keep in the refrigerator for about a day in an air tight container. If you prefer to freeze them, lay them on a baking sheet dusted with flour and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, gather them up and store them in a freezer bag or similar container. Note: This recipe makes about 60 tortellini, which serves approximately 4-6 people.
For the Pasta Dough
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 pinch salt
For the Filling
- 2 tbspns butter
- 1/3 cup ground veal
- 1/3 cup ground pork
- 1/2 cup ham
- 1/2 cup mortadella
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt (1/8 tspn)
- pinch of pepper (1/8 tspn)
For the dough
- Add the flour to the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs.
- Add salt.
- Using a fork, break the egg yolks and mix.
- Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and knead on medium-low speed. Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need to adjust the consistency by adding either a small amount of flour or water. As you knead the dough, it should become homogenous and only slightly tacky. You don't want it to be sticky, or you will have trouble passing it through the pasta machine. Knead for five to six minutes.
- Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for thirty minutes.
For the filling
- In the meantime, prepare the filling. Cut the mortadella and ham into coarse pieces and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the ground veal and ground pork. Saute for about seven minutes or until the meat is browned and cooked through. Then, set aside to cool.
- Once the meat has cooled, transfer it to a food processor, along with the ham and mortadella and blitz until the mixture is well combined.
- Add the Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Then, add the egg and blitz again until the mixture is homogeneous.
To assemble the tortellini
- After the dough has rested, set the rollers of the pasta machine to its widest setting.
- Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut the dough into quarters. Remove one quarter of the dough and cover the remaining dough so it doesn't dry out. Dust the dough with flour so it doesn't stick to the pasta machine, flatten it with your hands and run it through the roller.
- Change the setting to the next widest setting and repeat. Continue the process until the dough is about 1/16" thick. On my Kitchen Aid attachment, it's number 4.
- Using a cutting wheel, trim the edges so they are square and then cut the dough into two inch squares. Gather the scrap pieces, knead and place the dough back under the plastic wrap to reuse.
- Place a small ball of filling onto the center of each square.
- Fold the square into the shape of a triangle and press the tips together until they stick and make a tight seal. If the corners don't stick, the pasta may be too dry. In that case, lightly brush the dough with water and try again.
- Hold the triangle and fold the tip upwards.
- Form a ring around your index finger with the tip of the triangle facing upwards and with the other hand, join the two ends of the base and squeeze so the tips adhere well.
- Gently remove the tortellino from your finger and lay it on a lightly floured surface. Continue until you run out of ingredients.
- While there are countless way to enjoy tortellini, I like to boil them in chicken broth, add a spoonful of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a scattering of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley. Enjoy!