Tortellini in Broth


Tortellini in brodo


Go to Bologna to eat, and eat, and eat

So….we were hanging out in Bologna for a few days just after Christmas, as you do, and there we ate and ate and ate, as you do.  I have no idea how the people who live there aren’t as big as houses.  The food is AMAZING!  Just look at this photo below of a gastronomia we bought some bags and bags of food from. And this is just the small part of it that had the salumi!


Bolgona salumi!!


When in Italy, go to a deli

Beside it was a whole section on cheeses, and behind me was an entire counter dedicated to ready-made fresh takeout meals.  To top it all off, there were legs and legs of prosciutto hanging from the ceiling.  And that was just ONE of the gastronomie!  For goodness sake, there was a whole street of these places!!!  At that point I decided that I must’ve actually unknowingly died and gone to food heaven.  Much to my disappointment, I found out that I couldn’t actually stay there forever……so to compensate, I bought as much food as me and my mule (aka my husband) could carry before reluctantly leaving….dragging my feet and clawing at random buildings to try to stop my exit like a kid who doesn’t want to go to school. Just in case you haven’t destroyed your keyboard yet from getting it wet with drool, here’s a photo of the cheese section:




The taste is all about the quality of the few ingredients

I mean, honestly!  How are you even meant to choose?  Anyway, we also frequented MANY restaurants while we were there, and one of Bologna’s most famous dishes could be found on nearly every menu, which is the one I actually want to write about today: Tortellini in Brodo.  The good thing about this pasta dish is that it’s super-easy to make at home, though of course, the type of tortellini and type of broth is very important to make it an outstanding dish rather than a “meuh…..” one.  We bought both fresh tortellini and bouillon from one of the delicatessens to lug home on the train, as eating this dish for 3 days straight just wasn’t enough!


The real bouillon!


Bologna actually has beautiful things to see too; not just to eat

 Now, so far I’ve only talked about some of the food here, and not even the city itself, which is extremely beautiful.  If you are able to go to visit it, the great thing is that you can walk for hours to admire the city, which works up your appetite for the fabulous restaurants which abound there. OK, so I’m back to the food, but honestly Bologna is worth visiting for its sights too.  The great food is an added bonus.


A few tortellini??!


Why are tortellini shaped like they are?

The origins of the shape of the pasta are lost in the mists of time, though all the legends have a common theme of someone looking through a keyhole at a naked woman and being so captivated by her navel, that they rushed away and created the tortellini as a homage.  I can’t quite imagine anyone rushing away to make pasta after being a voyeur, but maybe ideals in ancient times were far loftier than they are nowadays.

The traditional, officially accepted, filling of the tortellini made in Bologna and Modena contain pork, prosciutto crudo, parmesan cheese, and mortadella.  All stand-alone good things to eat already, which makes it a fabulous combination! Of course, as for all recipes in Italy, the quantities and ingredients vary from family to family. The broth is used in Bologna is a beef broth, but you can change this according to your taste.

I will be putting up a post one of these days about making the actual tortellini. But, in the meantime, if you make this dish with high quality store-bought ingredients, I can guarantee that the taste will be good! This is less of a recipe and more of an idea for an original way to serve pasta.

By Lisa Watson

Tortellini in broth

How to make a delicious and nourishing Italian pasta soup: Tortellini in Broth
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: entree, first course, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people


  • 600 g Small tortellini or Cappelletti 1lb 12oz
  • 2.5 – 3 litres Broth (stock) 10 -12 cups
  • Parmesan cheese to taste


  • If you would like to make the stock from scratch, go to my post on making broth.  If not, try to find the best ready-made broth possible.
  • Boil the broth.  The addition of salt depends on the saltiness of the broth used, so taste it before adding any salt.
  • Cook the tortellini as per packet instructions in the broth.
  • When cooked, ladle into bowls and grate Parmesan cheese over the top.