The International Kitchen Recipes: tortellini
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March 2015

Emilia Romagna is known for an incredible range of gastronomical treats, but it’s the tortellini that has one of the best origin stories around. As the story goes, the shape of the tortellini was inspired by none other the Venus, the goddess of love, and the shape of her navel. Today, the tortellini is an incredibly important part of family meals, and every family has their own version of the recipe, especially in regards to the filling. This particular recipe hails from Chef Sabina of our Italy cooking vacation Culinary Treasures of Emilia Romagna, and we’re partial to this recipe because it also features some of the region’s other gastronomical delights, particularly Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, and mortadella.

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Sfoglia (or sheet of dough)

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 hectograms (10 1/2 oz) flour


  • 300 grams (10 1/2 oz) pork loin browned with butter
  • 300 grams Parma ham
  • 300 grams Mortadella Bologna
  • 450 grams (15 3/4 oz) Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Nutmeg, to taste


  • 1 kilo (4 1/4 cups) beef broth
  • ½ chicken
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Salt


1. Start by cooking the pork loin in butter very slowly. Once it’s done cooking, mince the pork, as well as the ham and Mortadella.

2. Mix the meats and knead them with the eggs and cheese. Flavor this mixture with nutmeg, then place in the fridge where it should rest for about 24 hours.

3. Make the broth by boiling all the ingredients for 4 to 5 hours over a low flame, and then filter the broth.

4. Next, make the sfoglia, or sheet of dough. To do this, you’ll mix the eggs with the flour, and then kneads it with your hands until the mixture becomes an elastic ball.

5. With a wooden rolling pin, roll out the “sfoglia” on a wood cutting board as thinly as possible. Then, cut the “sfoglia” into squares of a small size.

6. Place a little bit of filling on every square.

7. Close the tortellini by folding the pocket of filling up toward the peak of the triangle. To give the tortellini it’s famous shape, use the nail of your pinky to wrap the corners around your finger. Seal tightly.

8. Leave the tortellini on your cutting board until they’re ready to be plunged into the boiling broth.

9. The tortellini should be cooked for only about 3 minutes.