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Tortellini In Broth, A Dish For Special Occasions

Tortellini in brodo, secondo tradizione

Tortellini in broth is more than a recipe for me.
They mean home, family, roots.

It is the dish of Sunday lunches and Festive meals.
Above all, it is the traditional first dish at the Christmas lunch.

But tortellini of Christmas are not cooked and served in meat broth as usual, but in a special broth, that of capon.

Ever since I was a child, I don’t remember a single Christmas lunch that didn’t start with the flickering steams of the hot broth.

While the seasons danced happily on the table, the women of home (“azdore”) valorized the ingredients, seasonal and local, preparing traditional foods whose knowledge had been passed on from woman to woman as well as the task of preparing the trousseaus.

In this post, you’ll find some tips for cooking and serving tortellini in broth.
And, as usual, some family memories.

Tortellini in Brodo, the Dish of the Special Occasions

Imola, where Emilia meets Romagna.

Although I was born in Romagna, or perhaps because I was born in Imola – a small town with a Romagna identity, administratively part of the metropolitan area of Bologna – tortellini were/are as classic as cappelletti. As in many other places located on a border, at Imola, food is a mix of the neighboring cultures.

But each family has its habits and recipes, sometimes with some differences.
I grew up in a family where “honor Sunday” contemplated going to Sunday mass and family lunch all together. A less spiritual but equally important appointment among the Sunday rituals.

The question of the mass, like the choice of eating tortellini or cappelletti, differentiated my family from the majority of others.

In a communist region, as Emilia-Romagna was in the seventies, most people didn’t go to mass, except for Christmas. Then everything changed, but that’s how it was then.

Buona cucina, Monica

Cook with me.

If you want to try homemade tortellini, HERE find my family’s for tortellini Bolognesi.
For those interested there are also traditional meat broth and capon broth recipes.

Keep in Touch.

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Tortellini in Brodo, the Dish of the Special Occasions

Food Tips.

Make tortellini from one to three day before and put them in a cold room under clean towels and make broth two days before (or much earlier and freeze it).

The amount of tortellini bolognesi to make in broth or dry, is different.
If I prepare and serve them in broth, I think it’s enough 120g per person. If I make them dry, I calculate 150g per person. Whether the tortellini are frozen or fresh, it doesn’t change.

If you have frozen tortellini, cook them directly in the broth to prevent them from thawing and sticking to each other.

If you serve tortellini without broth, save it for other uses.

I don’t use fresh, grated parmigiano reggiano on tortellini in broth, but you feel free to do as you like.

Tortellini in Broth Recipe

serves 4
List of Ingredients

meat or capon broth, 1 l
tortellini Bolognesi, 500g
coarse salt, to taste


Bring the broth to the boil, taste it and, if you need, salt. When the broth boils, dip tortellini in the yellow gold.

If they’re frozen, you don’t have to defrost. Cook tortellini directly in the broth with the only precaution, before pouring them, to turn the heat down at minimum. When frozen tortellini are in the broth, turn it up immediately. In fact, frozen tortellini lower the temperature of the broth and in this way, the broth starts boiling again quicker.

When they rise to the surface, cook them for some minutes and stop.
Even if when are frozen.

But back to the topical moment. The tortellini in broth are ready, and now what?

Turn off the heat and using a ladle, try to take more tortellini than broth, place in the dishes, then fix the broth.

The leftover pasta must be removed from the hot broth immediately, to prevent them from being undone at the time of the encore. You can put them in a saucepan and cover them with the lid (so they don’t get too cold) until the fateful moment (when your guests will ask for another dish).

Tortellini in brodo are traditionally served in a tureen with a lid.

Tortellini in Brodo, the Dish of the Special Occasions


  • Lauren Brookey
    Posted 20 December 2021 at 6:50 PM

    Thank you so much!!! Lauren from Tulsa, OK

    • Post Author
      Posted 22 December 2021 at 11:25 AM

      Ciao Lauren, buona cucina! XO,Monica

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