Riccardo Bertolino

TORTELLINI IN
BRODO
(TORTELLINI IN CAPON BROTH
WITH TRUFFLES)

By Riccardo Bertolino

In my old home town, Bologna, this dish is something special—and almost mandatory—for Christmas.

It can also be served for a Baptism or Communion. We would have it on Dec. 25 at lunch, which is when we eat our big Christmas meal. We begin around 12 and finish at 5 p.m. In my house, my father usually did all the cooking. But he is from Sicily and doesn’t do tortellini. So my mother would make the dish, and everyone would help. The family would wake up early to work on the pasta while the stock cooked. The dish takes a long time to make because the broth requires many hours for the capon to release all its flavour.

The stock has to breathe and it must be skimmed constantly. It made the house smell heavenly. It’s a luxurious dish as it is, but now I like to add black truffle, which isn’t traditional. But truffles improve almost everything, and I never get tired of them. This is the perfect marriage of chicken, pasta, truffle and, of course, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Traditionally with this dish we drink Lambrusco, the wine from Emilia-Romagna, and mix the wine with the broth when all the pasta is gone. You drink from the bowl and make a lot of noise and make your mother upset! —R.B.

From Canada’s 100 Best Cooking Issue 2016

INGREDIENTS

Serves
8

Brodo

  • 1 top-quality capon (if unavailable, use a stewing hen)
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved crosswise, with cut side charred black
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 50 g (2 oz) dried mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ bunch parsley
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • ½ tbsp white peppercorns
  • 6 cloves

Dough

  • 500 g (1 lb, 2 oz) “00” flour
  • 11 eggs yolks
  •  1 egg
  • 4 g (about 1 tsp) sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Extra flour for dusting

Filling

  • 250 g (9 oz) lean veal, cubed
  • 150 g (5 oz) pork loin, cubed
  • Salt, white pepper
  • 100 g (½ cup) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only, minced
  • 150 g (5 oz) mortadella, diced
  • 50 g (2 oz) sliced prosciutto di Parma, diced
  • 100 gr grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Grated nutmeg
  • White pepper

Garnish

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Black winter truffle to taste (optional)
METHOD

Rinse the capon well, and transfer to a stock pot. Cover generously with cold water, add the salt, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a bare simmer. Skim the impurities that rise to the surface, and discard. Once the foam subsides and the liquid is clear, add the onion, celery, leek, carrot, tomatoes, cheese rind, mushrooms, garlic, parsley and thyme. Continue to simmer gently for six hours, uncovered, skimming the surface regularly to remove impurities and rendered fat as they rise. Then set broth aside. Let settle undisturbed for two hours. Carefully ladle it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a large saucepan, excluding the cloudy broth at the bottom of the stock pot (discard, along with the solids). Taste, add salt if necessary, cover, and reserve. Transfer flour to a large wooden work surface, make a deep well at

Transfer flour to a large wooden work surface, make a deep well at centre, and fill with the egg yoks, whole egg and salt. With a fork, beat the eggs together, slowly incorporating the surrounding flour, building up the flour barrier as you take away its foundation. When half the flour has been incorporated into the eggs, a wet dough will start to form. Now you can work it with your hands, kneading in the balance of the flour and adding the oil. Scrape the work surface and sprinkle with flour, as necessary. Knead dough until soft, smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 2 hours. Season the pork and veal generously. Heat a skillet on medium-high, add the butter and, as soon as the pan is lubricated, add the pork, veal, garlic and thyme. Sear meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a bowl and combine with the mortadella and ham. Reserve the cooking fat. Pass the meat mixture through a meat grinder fitted with a fine (4-5 mm) plate. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add cheese and egg, and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Work together with your hands until mixture is smooth and homogenous. Taste, and adjust seasonings.

Season the pork and veal generously. Heat a skillet on medium-high, add the butter and, as soon as the pan is lubricated, add the pork, veal, garlic and thyme. Sear meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a bowl and combine with the mortadella and ham. Reserve the cooking fat. Pass the meat mixture through a meat grinder fitted with a fine (4-5 mm) plate. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add cheese and egg, and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Work together with your hands until mixture is smooth and homogenous. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Mixture should be moist; if it’s dry, work in some of the reserved cooking fat. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator. Roll out your pasta by hand or machine to a thickness of 1.5-1.75 mm. Cut into 4 cm (1½”) squares. Place 1 tsp of filling at the centre of each square. Fold each square into a triangle. Press out all air pockets before sealing the edges. Then wrap the two base points of the triangle around a finger until overlapped, and press them together with your thumb until they stick. Set aside each tortellini on a floured baking sheet, and repeat—until pasta or filling are all used up. To finish, bring broth to the boil over high heat. For each main-course portion to be served, add 150-180 g (about 1 cup) tortellini. Boil until tortellini float to the surface—about 2 minutes. Then remove

To finish, bring broth to the boil over high heat. For each main-course portion to be served, add 150-180 g (about 1 cup) tortellini. Boil until tortellini float to the surface—about 2 minutes. Then remove pot from heat and let tortellini steep in the broth for 5 minutes. Distribute soup among warmed bowls. Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and—if possible—freshly shaved black truffle.

Search