Pressure Cooker Tortellini en Brodo
Sorry about the heavy rotation of pressure cooker recipes. The stomach flu flattened us. A simple broth and pasta soup is all I can handle right now.
When I make soup, more is better. Everything goes in the pot. What do I have in the refrigerator and pantry? Onions, celery, carrots, peppers, cabbage; noodles, rice, leftover chicken, beans, some sausage. Add it all to the soup pot. Throw in some herbs and spices for good measure. Simmer until the flavors mingle, taste for seasoning, then serve.
Tortellini en Brodo is minimalist soup. Clear broth and noodles stuffed with cheese, it is as simple as soup gets.
Simple doesn’t leave any place to hide. The broth has to be good for this soup to have any chance. And homemade broth is so far from canned broth that you can see the curve of the horizon.
That’s where my pressure cooker comes in. It gives me great brodo in about an hour. A mix of beef and chicken adds depth to the simple broth, and a parmesan rind gives it a hint of funk. The ground beef? It acts like the raft does in a consomme, clarifying the broth while it cooks.
For the tortellini, homemade would be best…but I’ve never learned rolling skills, and don’t have an Italian grandmother to teach me.
So, next best is from your local Italian market. They’ll have tortellini, probably homemade by someone’s Nonna, frozen and ready for you.
No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes section for stovetop and slow cooker broth instructions.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Tortellini en Brodo
Adapted From: Fine Cooking Magazine, Tortellini en brodo
Cooking time: 75 minutes
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I used my Cuisinart Electric PC).
- 1 pound chicken wings
- 1 pound oxtail (or beef shank)
- 8 ounces ground chuck (80% lean ground beef)
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 1 large carrot, peeled and halved
- 1 stalk of celery, halved
- 1 parmesan rind (optional)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (1 teaspoon table salt)
- 2 quarts of water
- 12 ounces tortellini (frozen, fresh, or dried)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Make the brodo
Put all the brodo ingredients in the pressure cooker pot. Lock the lid, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, and cook for 45 minutes at high pressure (55 minutes in an electric pressure cooker). Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Remove as much of the solids from the pot as possible using a slotted spoon, then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer.
2. Cook the tortellini
Wipe the inside of the pressure cooker pot clean. Pour the broth back into the pressure cooker pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook according to pacakge instructions. Taste the broth, and season to taste, adding more salt if needed. Serve, sprinkling the grated parmesan cheese on top at the table.
- No pressure cooker? No worries – but make sure you have some time.
- On the stovetop, do step 1 in a large pot. Bring the broth to a simmer, then move the pot to a preheated 200°F oven and bake for four to six hours, uncovered. Remove from the oven, strain the broth, then pour the broth back into the pot and move to the stovetop to cook the tortellini.
- Or, do step 1 in a slow cooker – put everything in the crock, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Strain the broth, then put it in a pot on the stove to cook the tortellini.
- Don’t forget to season to taste! The broth will taste flat without enough salt. You’d be surprised how much salt you need to season two quarts of water. Add salt until the flavor of the broth changes, from flat and boring to a little sweet and full of body. I usually add another teaspoon or two of kosher salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon of table salt) when I’m tasting. (Oh, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, while cheating, adds a nice touch of acid to the broth.)
- Make ahead: The broth will come out clearer if you make the broth the day before, refrigerate the broth overnight, and skim off the layer of fat that congeals on the surface. Bring the stock back to a boil before starting step 2.
- Extra finesse: If you want the clearest broth, combine making the stock ahead with blanching the chicken wings and oxtail. Put the wings and oxtail in a medium pot, barely cover them with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately drain the meat, rinse with cold water to remove any attached scum, and then continue with step 1. Then, use the “make ahead” option to skim the fat from the top of the broth.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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