Classic Tortellini Broth Recipe

Homemade tortellini pasta with meat filling is an Italian Christmas dinner tradition! And every Italian in Italy knows that homemade tortellini is best when served with a traditional tortellini broth! Keep reading to learn more about the classic tortellini broth recipe or see the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

Tortellini in Broth
Our homemade tortellini broth, after filtering!

This is the classic tortellini broth recipe traditionally served with tortellini. However, it is also nothing more than a traditional ‘bone broth’— a ‘white’ broth—called fond blanc in French cooking or fonde bianco in Italian cuisine.

Broth or Stock?

Technically, this is a stock recipe. In cooking terminology…

  • Stock is typically made from meat bones, flesh and vegetables. For this reason, it is denser.
  • Broth is typically made from only flesh and/or vegetables. For this reason, it tends to be thinner in consistency.

As this recipe contains the bones of beef and chicken, the flesh of meat and chicken and vegetables— it is more accurately a stock. However, many people unfamiliar with these differences tend to use the terms interchangeably.

In fact, the term bone broth has come to be used for this type of recipe. It is rich, flavorful and highly nutritious!

Homemade Tortellini Pasta recipe served in homemade stock.

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How to Make Homemade Tortellini Broth

Once you’ve tried homemade broth (homemade stock), you’ll wonder how you ever settled for store-bought broth. It is sooo rich and tasty, not to mention highly nutritious! Here are the basic steps to making a traditional tortellini broth:

Choose a Stock Pot

Of course, you need to choose a stock pot that can hold the amount of stock you want to make. Our recipe below makes 2 gallons (8 liters) of finished bone broth! Of course, you can make less. The rule of thumb?

  • Choose a pot that can hold 2x the amount of finished broth you plan to make.

For our 8 liters of finished broth, we used a 21 liter stock pot. A 16 liter would have been large enough.

Use Good Water

Good tasting water is the first ingredient needed for making a delicious stock or broth.

  • Use filtered water or bottled water

We want to taste the delicious ingredients we are adding to the water—not chlorine or sulfur.

Add the Tortellini Broth Ingredients

Ingredients for Tortellini Broth

Check the recipe card below for the ingredient quantities. Here are the basic ingredients for a classic tortellini broth:

The Meats and Bones:

  • beef ribs: beef flank with bones (biancostato)
  • brisket
  • beef joints (such as knees and shins)
  • a small whole chicken, cut in half (bones and all!)

The Aromatics:

  • onion
  • celery 
  • carrot
  • herb bouquet of: parsley stems, thyme and bay leaf
  • cloves: which are stuck into the onion halves!
  • fine salt

Simmer the Tortellini Broth for Many Hours!

Add the ingredients for the broth to cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Stock needs to simmer for at least 3 hours… but that is the absolutely bare minimum! To maximize the flavor and nutrition from your ingredients, it would be insane to only simmer the stock such a short time.

  • It is better to simmer the stock for 8-16 hours

We simmer our broth for about 15 hours.

Skim off the Foam that Forms

Skimming the foam and fat from the surface of the cooking stock.

During the first few hours, a massive amount of foam will begin to form on the surface of the stock.

Use a slotted spoon or strainer to skim this foam off of the cooking stock. Discard that foam. You’ll need to watch the stock and do this several times in the first few hours of cooking.

As you continue to simmer the stock, foam and fat will still rise to the surface, but less quickly.

Remove the Broth Ingredients

Removing the ingredients used to make the stock: bones, flesh and vegetables!

After you’ve finished simmering the stock, remove the flesh, bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon.

Don’t discard the meat! There are many delicious dishes that can be made with the cooked beef and chicken 🙂

Cool the Tortellini Broth

Cool the pot of stock/ broth. Once cooled, more fat will likely rise to the surface. Remove that fat with a slotted spoon and discard it.

Filter the Broth with Cheesecloth

For the best quality tortellini broth, you’ll want to pass the stock through two layers of cheesecloth. This will remove any final pieces of flesh or bone and render the stock clear and ready for use!

Be sure to boil the tortellini in the broth, as Italians do! This will give your tortellini the maximum flavor. Salt to taste at that time.

Ready to use!

Want to Make Homemade Tortellini?

Check out our recipe for making a classic Homemade Tortellini Pasta Recipe!

Of course, homemade tortellini requires the filling and homemade egg pasta dough.

If you are a beginner at making fresh pasta dough, you might have some additional questions like:

  • How much flour do I mix in?
  • How do I keep the eggs from running off the table?
  • Can I use a stand mixer to mix and knead?
  • How can I fix dough that is too dry… or too wet?

All these concerns can prevent you from getting down to the business of making pasta! Check out our fresh pasta dough recipe for a detailed guide on making fresh pasta by hand, in a bowl and with a stand mixer….

Homemade Tortellini Pasta Recipe
Homemade tortellini!

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Classic Tortellini Broth Recipe

The classic broth recipe traditionally served with tortellini in Italy! This homemade stock (or bone broth) is a white broth used in countless other recipes in Italian and French cooking.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, French, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 2 gallons


  • 1 Large Stock Pot 16 liters or bigger
  • 1 strainer or slotted spoon
  • 2 cheesecloth layers


Meat and Bones

  • 4.4 lb beef ribs
  • 2.2 lb beef brisket
  • 2.2 lb beef joints knees, shin, etc
  • 1 whole chicken cut in half (bones included)

Vegetables and Herbs

  • 3 whole onions halved
  • 4 ribs celery cut into large pieces
  • 5 large carrots cut into large pieces
  • 1 handful parsley stems wrapped with food-safe twine
  • 1 sprig thyme wrapped with food-safe twine
  • 4 whole cloves wrapped with food-safe twine
  • 1 bay leaf wrapped with food-safe twine
  • 2 leeks optional
  • 3 tbsp fine salt


  • 3 gallons water filtered or bottled (good quality)


Prepare the Ingredients

  • Cut the chicken in half. Cut the onions in half. Cut the carrots and celery (and leek if using) into large pieces.
    Wrap the herbs (parsley, bay leaf, thyme) with food-safe twine. Secure the other side of the twine to the stock pot handle.
    Stick the stems of the cloves into the onions.

Add the Ingredients

  • Add the water to the stock pot. Add all of the ingredients for the broth into the [cold] water. Add the salt.
    4.4 lb beef ribs, 2.2 lb beef brisket, 2.2 lb beef joints, 1 whole chicken, 3 whole onions, 4 ribs celery, 5 large carrots, 1 handful parsley stems, 1 sprig thyme, 4 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 2 leeks, 3 tbsp fine salt, 3 gallons water

Boil, then Simmer

  • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
    Simmer the broth uncovered for at least 3 hours. It is best to simmer the broth 8-16 hours.

Skim the Foam and Fat

  • During the first few hours, foam and fat will rise to the surface of the stock/broth. Skim this foam off with a slotted spoon or strainer. Discard it. Continue to skim as needed.

Remove the Ingredients

  • When the stock is finished, remove all ingredients (meat, bones, vegetables, herbs) with a slotted spoon or strainer.

Cool the Stock

  • Cool the stock. If more fat rises to the surface after the broth is cool, remove and discard it.

Filter the Stock

  • Pass the broth through two layers of cheesecloth to filter the broth. Now the broth is ready to use or freeze into portions!
Keyword healthy, meat lover
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