Last week I had lunch in an Italian cafe near my place. If you follow me on Instagram (I’d love you to!), you may have seen what I had. I couldn’t resist capturing the simple beauty of the meal, and giving a little eulogy on how good it was.
Morsels of tasty meat were hidden in folds of fresh pasta and suspended in a golden, flavourful chicken broth that had been showered with parmesan; ravioli in brodo.
The steaming bowl of brodo was served with crusty white bread on the side, ready to mop up the last of the broth. And mop it up I did, while planning how I could recreate this deliciousness. I asked for the secret to the broth, a rustic, cloudy stock that tasted like the cream of chicken soup my Nanna used to make. The answer was “necks”.
The offcuts of a chicken, like the neck and feet, provide loads of rich goodness to a stock, especially if they are roasted first. Augmenting the carcass of last night’s roast chook with a bag of roasted necks when you’re next making stock will deliver a flavourful broth good enough to serve simply.
If you have homemade stock in your freezer, you’re in good stead to create an excellent meal. I make big batches, divide it into ziplock bags and lay them flat in the freezer, ready for my next risotto, soup or stew. I also stock up on good quality, handmade pasta from the market and freeze it. A bag of tortellini or ravioli chucked in the pot and served with a simple pesto or tomato sauce makes a really quick weeknight meal. And for me, it means I have everything I need to recreate the ravioli in brodo at home.
This is a cheats recipe. It assumes you’ve made stock (or bought good quality stock from the butcher or deli), and that you’ve bought ravioli or tortellini. By all means, you can make your stock and use it straight away, and go ahead and make your own pasta, I’m sure it will be lovely. If you’re into that idea, this Gourmet Traveller recipe will help you out. I’m sticking with the quick method for now, because a bowl of flavourful, golden brodo with ravioli is the kind of thing I get a hankering for on a cold day, and need to have immediately.
(Thank you to the wonderful person that nominated me for the Kidspot Voices of 2014 awards, I made the final 30 in the Food & Wellbeing category! On a similar note, if you could cast a vote in the Australian Writers Centre Blog Awards for Simple Provisions, that would be ace!)
Ravioli in Brodo
- 6 cups homemade (or really good quality store-bought) chicken stock
- 10-20 ravioli or tortellini (5-10 per person, depending on the size)
- Fresh herbs to garnish (tarragon, parsley, watercress are nice options)
- Salt and pepper
- Crusty bread to serve
Bring stock to the boil and reduce by about a third. Boil ravioli till cooked. Divide ravioli into 2 bowls and ladle stock over the top. Garnish with herbs, a shower of parmesan and salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread, and a small of bowl of grated parmesan so you can add more if you like.