Holiday Traditions

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We used to celebrate the Holiday’s at my Grandparents house. All 20 of us would take lanes, trains and automobiles from across the country to pile in one house for a weekend of love and laughter. Nothing can top all the home cooked plates, cheeses and exceptional sweets we’d indulge in for the days during and afterwards - woops. One meal that is a staple every year through and through is my Grandmother’s Homemade Tortellini (and her Mother’s and her Mother’s and her Grandmother’s), its been passed down from part of my Italian blood network. And there is no doubt this yummy tradition will be extended to my children and theirs and so on. There is a brothy base with perfectly, hand-shaped pasta, filled with a delectable seasoned cheese and chicken mixture. It’s a warming, bellies-filled-meal that makes everyone swoon with love. It is something that we look forward to every year – in fact our mouths start watering three months in advance. Fact. Now, I’m the one madly making the tortellini for my family and all our friends around the Holidays. This is surprisingly an relatively easy dish for your dinner party. The tortellini can be made days in advance and frozen until you’re ready to cook. And as always it is important to use high quality ingredients when going through all that trouble to make homemade meals. A dish that is relatively a cinch to make but with bold, delicious flavor.

This recipe from The Kitchn is right in line with my Grandmother’s, so give it a whirl this Holiday season.

Three-Cheese Tortellini in Parmesan Broth

Makes about 1 pound tortellini, serves 8

For the tortellini (or substitute 1 pound prepared tortellini):
10 ounces (1 cup) ricotta cheese
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) grated asiago cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 batch Homemade Pasta (See Recipe Notes)

For the broth:
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 Parmesan cheese rinds (1"x3"x1/4" each or equivalent size and thickness)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley, to garnish

For the tortellini, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, asiago, parsley, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Fill a small bowl with water and set it near your work space.

Divide the pasta dough into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, run the dough through a pasta roller on progressively thinner settings until you have a sheet of paper-thin pasta. (Setting #6 on a KitchenAide pasta roller attachment.) Cut the sheet into rounds using a 3" round cutter, spacing the rounds as close together as possible. Gather the scraps into a ball and put them with the remaining pieces of dough to re-roll later.

Place 1 teaspoon of ricotta filling in the middle of each round of pasta. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it along the edge of the round to moisten. Fold the dough over to form a half moon, then draw the two corners together to form a rounded bonnet-shape. Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on well-floured baking sheet, and cover. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, re-rolling the scraps. Makes about 50-55 tortellinis.

For a more detailed descriptions and pictures of shaping the tortellini, see How to Make Homemade Tortellini.

To make the broth, bring the stock to a rapid boil in a 4-quart pot or larger. Add the cheese rinds, garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour the broth through a strainer into a large bowl to remove the solids and then return the strained broth to the pot. Taste the broth and add a teaspoon of salt if desired.

Set the broth over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Lower the tortellini into the broth a few at a time. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the tortellini are floating on top of the broth. Scoop them out of the broth with a slotted spoon and divide between serving bowls. Pour a few ladles of broth into each bowl and top with a sprinkle of parsley. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

This recipe only uses a half batch of our usual 3-egg pasta recipe. You can either make a full batch of dough and freeze the unused portion, or you can double the amount of filling and make a double batch of tortellini to eat now or freeze for later, as described below. (Frozen balls of pasta dough should be thawed overnight in the fridge before rolling.)

The tortellini can be made up to three months ahead. Freeze them on a sheet pan and transfer to a freezer-safe container once solid. Cook directly from the freezer, but increase the cooking time by a minute or two.

Substitute 1 pound of prepared pasta for the homemade tortellini in this recipe.

What are some of your Family's Holiday Traditions?

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