Brodo Style - Red Broth & Tortellini

No longer a Brodo in the true sense, this recipe has evolved to become a delicious red clear soup in which to float tortellini and mushrooms or perhaps some gnocchi.

The real character of this broth arises from the use of the colour red. Starting with good meaty beef bones and tomato paste - the red theme carries through with the use of red wine, carrots, red capsicum and red onion. People are often suprised when the entire contents are discarded at the end and only the 'brown/red coloured broth' is used but the long cooking process ensures a deep rich flavour and a feeling that the ingredients haven't been wasted. Served with a shaving of quality Romano or Pecorino cheese and a crusty Italian bread it becomes a complete meal.

We always try and get two meals from a single pot . The first we eat with sauteed mushrooms and simmered tortellini (the veal stuffed pasta pillows) and the remaining 'stock' is used as the base in a casserole style dish like Beef Bourguignon or thickened with flour and meat for a fantastic pie filling.

The soup bones should be very meaty and preferably have a high marrow content. Osso Buco bones are great.

Great flavour is introduced by rubbing the bones with olive oil and the tomato paste and searing on very high heat. This can be achieved at home in a baking dish in a red hot oven or by turning on a BBQ plate in the bush.

This is a great recipe for getting totally involved and disregarding the niceties of politely chopped piles of vegetables and neatly measured quantities. Because everything is thrown away at the end of cooking, presentation and formalties can be dispensed with. Forget topping and tailing and peeling carrots. Wash them and chop them 'as is'. The same goes for the capsicum. Don't fuss too much - if the stem ends up in the pot that is fine. The garlic can be well crushed with a cooks knife and tossed in, skin and all. Tear the parsley up by hand and throw it in. Grab a handful of the bones and rub the olive oil and tomato paste in with the palms of your hands and roll them onto the heat. The whole preparation process can take a matter of minutes.

A minimum cooking time of 4 hours is recommended. This allows the slow heat to draw the flavour from the bones and vegetables and it really isn't possible to overcook this 'broth'. The longer it cooks the better and the richer the flavour becomes.

brodo ingredients

1kg Meaty Beef Bones

3 Tablespoon extra virgin Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

3/4 cup Red Wine

1 large Red Capsicum, coarsley chopped

1 large Red Carrot, coarsley chopped1 large Red Onion, coarsley chopped

3 large Red Chillies, coarsley chopped (optional)4 large Garlic Cloves, coarsley chopped

Good handful of parsley, stems included

1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns

Good pinch of salt


Rub the beef bones with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the tomato paste. If cooking in an oven at home, preheat it to maximum temperature and place the bones in a baking tray into the hottest part of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the tomato paste and meat begin to 'char'. Likewise, either sear the bones over the camp fire or brown them in a very hot camp oven. The trick is to introduce some richness and flavour by browning quickly until almost burning.

Heat the remaining olive oil and add the peppercorns - frying them for a minute or so until they smell fragrant. Add all of the chopped vegetables and sweat them for about ten minutes until they begin to become transparent.

Add the browned beef bones to the vegetables and pour over the red wine. Stir over a high heat for 5 minutes until the wine has reduced by nearly half and the vegetables have aquired a silky red glaze from the bones.

Add 2 litres of cold water, the salt and the parsley and bring slowly to a boil.Reduce the heat until the broth is simmering and cook covered for a minimum of 4 hours.

At the end of cooking the broth is put through a fine mesh strainer and the result is a richly aromatic red/brown broth.

Saute a good handful of sliced mushrooms in a hot buttered pan and pour over the required quantity of broth, normally about a cup and a half per person. Cook for 10 minutes and then add 1/2 a cup of quality cooked tortellini and simmer until the tortellini has heated through.

Serve with crusty Italian style bread and a shaving of tasty Italian style cheese.

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