Broth and Filling for Tortellini di Castelfranco Emilia



  • 0.75 kg of freshly butchered beef rib steak and brisket
  • 1 kg of chicken or capon (in winter)
  • salt to taste


  • 150 g of pork loin
  • 50 g of Prosciutto di Modena
  • 150 g of Mortadella di Bologna
  • 100 g of Parmigiano Reggiano aged for 24 months 1/2 a 60/70 g egg
  • 3.6 g of Salt
  • a pinch of nutmeg


Making the broth. Thoroughly wash the beef and leave it to soak in fresh water in a cool place, changing the water regularly. Carefully remove the giblets of the chicken or capon and remove any remaining feathers with a flame.

Use a deep pan capable of containing all the meat covered with cold water. Bring the meat in the water to the boil over a low heat and simmer, with the lid of the pan raised to allow the steam to escape. Skim the residue off the top of the broth regularly to obtain a clear broth, ideal for serving the tortellini. In order to impress your guests, set about half of the freshly made broth to one side. Use part of the broth to cook the tortellini (as they cook, one or two tortellini might burst open and the filling that leeks into the broth will make it cloudy), an keep the remainder for serving the tortellini in the bowl. To cook the tortellini, bring the broth to the boil and then add the tortellini. When they float to the surface a few minutes later, stir them gently with a ladle. When the broth starts to boil again, lower the flame and simmer for about 4/5 minutes until cooked (remember that they must be slightly “al dente”). Take the pan off the heat and leave it to stand, with the lid on, for two minutes. This creates an even better result, releasing all the flavour of the various ingredients, which is why it is unnecessary to add more Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Making the filling. Cut the pork loin across and then into small cubes, without adding salt. Sear the pork in a preheated non-stick frying pan so that a white surface forms on all sides. This procedure takes just a few minutes and is very helpful because seared pork is much more hygienic and safer than raw pork. It also stops the juices from running out, so the meat is tastier. The Prosciutto di Modena and mortadella must be cut into 1 cm thick slices and then into strips. When the meat has cooled, it must be minced together with the Prosciutto di Modena and mortadella in a mincing machine (6 mm thick) alternating the pieces of meat to obtain a first mixture and mincing it a second time if necessary to obtain a more even mixture.
When the mixture is thoroughly amalgamated, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the eggs. Lastly, add about half a tablespoon of salt, and about half a teaspoon of nutmeg (if you grate it fresh, about a third of a small nutmeg is enough), you should just be able to sense the aroma without the taste overpowering the other flavours. Stir thoroughly and run everything through the mincing machine to mix it well to obtain a smooth and creamy filling. Add salt to taste. The filling must be kept in the refrigerator, never in the freezer (thawing causes the liquid to separate). The best thing is to make the tortellini in the evening, leaving them on a pastry board covered with a white cotton cloth, and eat them the next day, served with good clear broth. The tortellino is made in different ways, depending on geographical areas and family habits. Tortellini made in Castelfranco are usually made larger than those made in Bologna, which are very small. You cut the pasta into squares with sides measuring about 3.8-4 cm, spooning a large amount of filling onto each square, and fold the pasta into a triangle, sealing the edges well. Then you join the tips together, wrapping them around your index finger and leaving the hole in the centre.

The quantities indicated are enough for four people.