Winter is more or less here in Italy and there’s snow blanketing much of the north and centre today. It’s cold! Time for some winter food, like pasta in brodo, which also happens to be a traditional Christmas dish in areas of north and central Italy, such as Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Le Marche.
Pasta in brodo is probably one of the easiest pasta dishes to prepare ever. It is basically pasta cooked in stock. Brodo, by the way, is often translated as broth.
Tortellini in brodo is one of the many pasta in brodo dishes served in Italy, but many types of pasta can be cooked in stock.
For Italian mums when their little ones are feeling a little under the weather, pasta in brodo is something which is often cooked up.
Lurking in our pasta cupboard here in Milan, tiny bits of pasta with names like tempestine or Stelline
(little stars) can often be found. When our not so little little one falls foul of some winter bug or other, these tiny pieces of pasta are dropped into a pan of boiling stock. When someone is ill, pasta in brodo is served as a kind of Italian equivalent of chicken soup. More often than not, the stock is made with a stock cube by Star or by Knorr, although Italians can and do produce their own stock.
Virtually any small pasta varieties can be cooked in stock. If you are in the UK, you could use Oxo cubes or even Bovril, but the resulting stock would be rather too overpowering flavour-wise for Italian tastes, I sure. Stock cubes in Italy come in a variety of strengths, but even the classico versions are not as fully flavoured as Oxo cubes.
Easy to Cook
Cooking pasta in brodo is simplicity itself. You just pop a stock cube in water, wait until it boils and then drop in the pasta. In under ten minutes, the pasta in brodo will be ready. Some parmigiano cheese can then be sprinkled on the brodo to make it tastier.
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Tortellini and similar varieties, such as Cappelletti ( from the Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria areas of Italy), are folds of pasta with some kind of filling, often lamb.
A Christmas Tradition
At Christmas time, tortellini in brodo is a traditional Italian Christmas dish in the areas around Bologna and Modena. Christmas tortellini may well be handmade to traditional family recipes, many of which have neen passed down through the generations.
Meat filled mini-ravioli are often served in brodo too.
Try cooking your pasta in brodo, you might like it, I do.
Tortellini in brodo photo by Biopresto