Tortellini Chicken Soup is an Italian Christmas tradition— even in Italy today!
Tortellini Chicken Soup combines this homemade tortellini pasta recipe with a traditional ‘white’ bone broth. This classic tortellini broth is made with chicken—but also beef, vegetables and some special spices.
Alternative, use this traditional tortellini recipe from Bologna Italy as the pasta for your tortellini soup!
Every Italian in Italy knows that homemade broth tastes better! This is especially critical if you are making a tortellini chicken soup.
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Learn how to make a basic egg pasta dough in our video recipe:
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How to Make Homemade Tortellini Pasta
This tortellini filling recipe has ingredients traditional in Italian tortellini, including: pork, beef, prosciutto, mortadella, butter, Parmigiano Reggiano and eggs. This recipe makes 350-400 tortellini.
There are three steps to making homemade tortellini pasta:
- Make the pasta dough
- Make the filling
- Shape the tortellini!
Making Tortellini Pasta Dough
Almost all egg pasta dough is made basically the same way: Add a pile of flour to a work surface. Then, make a well in the center of the pile of flour and add whole eggs to the well. Beat the eggs into the flour, pulling flour in from the sides a little at a time —until the dough is able to form a ball. Knead the ball until it is smooth and elastic. Let the dough rest (covered) in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Tortellini pasta dough is made exactly the same way since the base is egg pasta dough. The difference is in the stretching of the pasta dough and creating that special tortellini shape!
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….
Check out our other article for a detailed guide to making fresh pasta dough!
Start with 3/4 the flour. Add more if needed.
The biggest mistake you can make with fresh pasta is adding too much flour. It’s best to start with 3/4 of the flour recommended and add more as needed to achieve a smooth, elastic dough ball.
Making Meat Filling for Tortellini
Making meat filling for tortellini is very simple: blend all of the ingredients to a smooth paste!
Raw Meat and Food Safety
However, due to food safety concerns, it’s best not to use raw meat filling in your tortellini. If you do use raw meat filling, you’ll need to be sure both the pasta and the filling inside is cooked before serving. Why? Undercooked meat is often the cause of nasty foodborne illness.
We Recommend: Pre-Cook the Filling
We believe in food safety first, so in this homemade tortellini pasta recipe, we recommend that you pre-cook your meat filling over a double-boiler. Once you do this, the meat will be ‘meaty’ rather than the smooth and delicious filling expected in Italian tortellini.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix: After the meat is pre-cooked, blend it smooth before using it to fill your tortellini! By following our method, you’ll have both the peace of mind that your tortellini filling is cooked and the delicious, smooth taste that many love in meat tortellini.
Making Tortellini Shapes
Once you’ve prepared the pasta and the tortellini meat filling, it’s time to fill and shape the tortellini pasta! The steps are:
- Stretch the pasta: Roll out fresh egg pasta dough into sheets less than 1mm thick
- Cut the pasta sheets into 3 cm (1 inch) or 4 cm (1.5 inch) squares
- Add a bit of filling in the center of each square, leaving plenty of border to ensure a good seal
- Wet the edges of the pasta dough: Dip your finger in water and wet the edges of the dough around the filling.
- Fold the square into a triangle and seal the edges well by pressing with your fingertips
- Make a ring: Bring the left and right corners around your finger and pinch to seal!
Here are some images to explain how to shape the tortellini. Here we used butternut squash filling and are making tortelli (bigger tortellini) but the process is the same:
Where’s the Tortellini Broth?
To make tortellini soup, boil the tortellini for about 4 minutes in a quality white bone broth, also known as a beef and chicken stock. Salt the broth to taste. Season at the end with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese!
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Homemade Tortellini Pasta Recipe
- Rolling Pin or Pasta Machine
Fresh Tortellini Pasta Dough
- 400 g all-purpose flour or '00'
- 4 egg whole
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 2 tsp olive oil extra-virgin
Tortellini Meat Filling
- ½ lb ground pork
- ½ lb ground beef or veal
- ½ lb prosciutto
- ¼ lb ground turkey
- 2 oz mortadella or bologna
- ¼ lb butter
- ¼ lb Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 tbsp lemon zest use organic lemons
- 1 tsp fresh ginger optional
Make the Pasta
- Add the flour in a pile to a work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add two whole eggs to the center of the flour. Add the salt and olive oil. Begin to beat the flour into the eggs with a fork, pulling the flour in from the sides a little at a time.
- Using a stand mixer? Start with 3/4 of the flour recommended and add more flour as needed. It’s better to start with too little flour than too much.
- When the dough begins to look shaggy, compress the dough into a loose ball and begin to knead. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. When you push in on the dough, it should spring back.
- When the fresh pasta dough is ready, cover and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
Make the Tortellini Filling
- Blend all meats to a smooth paste: pork, beef or veal, prosciutto, mortadella, turkey. A food processor works best to do this. Alternatively, use an immersion or high-powered blender.
Stretch the Pasta
- Work with ¼ of the dough at a time. Keep those pieces you aren't working on covered or wrapped in plastic. This will prevent the pasta from drying out.
- Place ¼ of the dough on a well-floured surface. Flour both sides of the dough. Roll or press the dough into a ¼ inch (½ cm) thick rectangle.
- Pass the floured rectangle through a pasta roller, starting at the widest setting. Feed dough into machine short-side first. Then, place the dough lengthwise on the floured work surface. Fold the dough as you would a letter, starting with one side. Roll out the dough again till it is ¼ in (½ cm) thick.
- The short side of folded dough rectangle should be a little smaller than the width of your pasta roller. Then, pass the pasta through the roller again.
- Reduce the width of the pasta roller one setting. Pass the pasta through the roller again. Always feed the pasta in short-side first
- Pass the pasta through the roller, each time reducing the roller width one setting until the resulting pasta is translucent—thin enough to see your hand through it! This is usually the smallest width the pasta roller allows.
Fill and Shape the Tortellini Pasta
- Cut the long strip of translucent pasta into squares (4 cm x 4 cm). Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
- Add a pinch of filling to the center of each pasta square. Leave plenty of pasta showing around the edges.
- Pick up one square w/ filling in center. Fold upwards into a triangle. Fold point of the triangle up. Wrap the left and right sides of the triangle around your finger, pinching to seal.
- Transfer finished tortellini to a well-floured surface. Arrange in rows so that the tortellini don't stick together. Store in refrigerator overnight, covered with parchment paper. Or, freeze.
- Repeat these steps until you have filled and formed all tortellini. We want to form the dough right after we stretch it to avoid the thin pasta drying out.
Cook the Tortellini
- Boil the tortellini for about 5 minutes. When cooked, the tortellini will float to the top of the water. Drain. Serve with the sauce or broth of your choice.
Best Bone Broth Recipe: Beef and Chicken Stock
- 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!