Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Noni's Tortellini Soup.

This recipe is a Leonatti family legend. Leonatti/Bernardi* women have been making it for at least four generations: Noni, Grams, my mom and my aunts and now me. And I'm sure Bernardis are still making this in Torino. My mom would make it when I was little and tell stories about going to visit Grandma Noni in Carlonville, Ill., when she was little. I imagine my mom sitting on a stool watching Noni roll the dough through a pasta machine, place a dollop of ricotta/chicken goodness on the paper-thin dough and pinch it into perfectly shaped pocket. I took a few shortcuts on this one, namely frozen tortellini. There is no way I'm going to attempt homemade pasta again until I get a pasta machine for Christmas (*hint*). Frozen pasta aside, this is my favorite soup of all time. Colors of the Italian flag (or Irish flag, whatever)

There is no written down recipe, or at least I don't own it (I'm being dramatic, I'm sure there is somewhere). This all meant that I called my mom no less than three times last night to make sure I was doing it right. Turns out my mom is actually making this soup for dinner tonight. Scary.

"Can I put garlic in it?" "What herbs do you use?" "How long do I need to simmer the vegetables?" She answered all these with patience, even though I called her four times while she was on the phone with my sister and likely fielding questions from my other sister. I tell you, parenting never stops.

Megs and I ate the soup at 9 p.m. (European style) after we got back to the gym. Below is Megan's addition to the meal: the greenest, healthiest salad ever. It had cilantro and dill in it! I know, you're drooling, it's OK.

Note: If you don't already know, I am an inprecise cook. I just made a pile of carrots, a pile of celery and a pile of onion and called it good. So add as much or as little of each as you want. Noni's Tortellini Soup: 6 cups chicken stock 1-3 celery stalks, chopped (with leaves, unless your celery leaves are brownish-pink like mine were, then you should throw them away) 1 cup carrots, chopped 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, chopped (optional) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with a bit of cold water (for thickening, also optional) 8 ounces frozen (or fresh) tortellini 1 tablespoon dry tarragon (optional) Saute vegetables in olive oil until onion and garlic are translucent (apparently my mom doesn't perform this step, I just didn't want to wait 30 minutes for the vegetables to get soft, so I helped them along). Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer stock and vegetables for 30 minutes. Add frozen tortellini to stock, boil for 7-9 minutes. Add corn starch and tarragon. Stir and serve sprinkled with parmasan cheese. *If you're confused about the surnames, Leonatti is my mom's maiden name and Bernardi is her grandmother's maiden name. We've got this patriarchal tradition of losing the mother's name, so who knows where this recipe started.

1 comment:

Maria said...

That looks really good! I'm going to have to make a "Food Eaten Cookbook." Oh, maybe you could do that and send it to your most loyal readers...