Tortellini In Brodo

Tortellini In Brodo

When I asked David to describe this Tortellini in Brodo, all he could say was: It’s good!”

Gee, thanks for the wonderful description baby… (sigh)

I’ve made this soup several times now and this is his honest to goodness description of this tortellini in brodo. He’s straight to the point!

I guess I’m on my own here. Let me try and break it down for you. I’ll start with the basics…

ingredients for brodo

What’s a Brodo

If you aren’t familiar with what brodo is, neither was I. Brodo is the Italian for the word “broth”. However, a brodo tends to be less concentrated than traditional chicken beef stocks used in Italian soup recipes. A traditional first course for Italian Christmas feasts, Brodo is usually made with a mixture of meat, bones and trimmings from beef or poultry.

chopped vegetables on a cutting board

How to Make Tortellini Brodo

This classic dish starts with tender leeks, carrots and garlic in a chicken broth base. This brodo gets rich flavor from bone-in smoked ham, a delicious nuttiness from parmesan cheese rind, while lemon zest accents the ham and parmesan and helps to brighten the rich broth. After the brodo has simmered smoked ham and pillowy cheese tortellini are added to bring this soup all together. The twist in the brodo, being smoked pork, instead of chicken or beef.

This soup comes together quickly and you will not believe how much flavor is acquired in just 30 minutes. It really tastes like it has been simmering in a pot all day.

Learn more about how to prepare leeks for cooking HERE.

a bowl of tortellini in brodo

Make the Brodo Your Own

This aromatic broth is filled with rich hearty flavor is a great base that can be customized to your taste or based on the ingredients you have on hand. Instead of a traditional Italian winter soup, I lean more towards spring with this version. This recipe would be a great way to use leftover ham from Easter dinner. However, you could lighten this up a bit by using chicken as a substitute for the pork. Baby spinach, kale or escarole can be added for extra nutrition.

the finished soup ready to eat

Seasoning the Tortellini in Brodo

Use caution when adding salt! The ham and parmesan rind add salintiy to the broth. If you are watching your sodium intake you may want to consider a no-sodium chicken broth. You can always add in salt to taste, but you can never take it away.

What if I don’t have parmesan rind?

According to Cook’s Illustrated, both Pecorino Romano and Gruyère cheeses lend a savory flavor comparable Parmesan. These cheese rinds are great substitutes. However, if you don’t have cheese rind at all you can add in an ounce of any one of these cheeses. Please keep in mind that the cheese may stick to the bottom of the pot and become stringy. Stir more frequently when using cheese without the rind. When serving, leave the cheese in the bottom of the pot. Stringy cheese isn’t very appealing when eating this soup.

Learn more about cooking with parmesan rinds HERE.

The Lemon Zest

Citrus zest is part of the peel, but it is not the same thing as the peel or rind. Citrus zest is the colorful outer layer of the citrus peel, green for lime, yellow for lemons and orange for lemons. The zest contains lots of essential oils that make for a strong, pleasant flavor. The soft, white part of the peel just underneath the citrus zest is the pith. The pith has a bitter flavor to it, with very little citrus taste at all – it’s just bad!

For this recipe, you want the zest to in large pieces so you can fish it out of the broth at the end. The best way to get the zest from the lemon is to use a vegetable peeler or small paring knife. I like to use my OXO Good Grips Y Peeler. It is wide and does a really good job of getting a nice flat piece of lemon zest. You could also use a small pairing knife, just be careful to get too much pith.

Learn more about zesting citrus HERE.

a spoonful of brodo with a droplet falling out

This tortellini brodo is really easy to make and could would be a fast recipe for meal prep for the week. It’s actually even better the next day!

Give this soup a try, just don’t forget to remove the rind and lemon zest before serving!

Tortellini In Brodo

Tortellini in Brodo is made of soft pillowy cheese tortellini in a rich flavorful broth of vegetables, smoked ham, parmesan cheese rind, and lemon zest.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Brodo, Tortellini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 450kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 carrots halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small piece parmesan rind
  • 2 wide strips lemon zest removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 12 ounces bone-in smoked ham steak diced (bone reserved)
  • 9 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic; cook until the leeks are wilted, stirring occasionally; about 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water, broth, parmesan rind lemon zest, and pork bone (reserving the diced ham). Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender; about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the rind, the zest and the pork bone from the broth. Bring the broth to a boil and add in the tortellini and diced ham. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (see note)
  • Cook until the tortellini begin to float; about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Divide the soup among four bowls and serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Notes

This aromatic broth is filled with rich hearty flavor is a great base that can be customized to your taste or ingredients you have on hand.
Use caution when adding salt! The ham and parmesan rind add salinity to the broth. If you are watching your sodium intake you may want to consider a no-sodium chicken broth. You can always add in salt to taste, but you can never take it away.
Pecorino Romano and Gruyère cheeses lend a savory flavor comparable Parmesan. These cheese rinds are great substitutes. However, if you don’t have cheese rind at all you can add in an ounce of any one of these cheeses. Please keep in mind that the cheese may stick to the bottom of the pot and become stringy. Stir more frequently when using cheese without the rind. When serving, leave the cheese in the bottom of the pot. Stringy cheese isn’t very appealing when eating this soup.
Learn more about cooking with parmesan rinds HERE.
Learn more about how to prepare leeks for cooking HERE.
Learn more about zesting citrus HERE.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1473mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5975IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 4.1mg
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The Mountain Kitchen

Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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