In Italy, tortellini is traditionally served in a meat broth to stave off the winter cold; the parmesan broth here is a rich foundation for our cheese tortellini and is equally delicious by itself. It can be made ahead of time and frozen until you're ready to use it, but in a pinch, good quality chicken or vegetable stock can be used instead.
12 oz. Rainbow Cheese Tortellini
8 celery stalks, cut in 3" pieces
6 carrots, cut in 3" pieces
8 garlic cloves, smashed
3 onions, cut in 3" pieces
8 bay leaves
1 lb. parmesan rinds, found at specialty grocers or cheese shops
4-5 dried porcini mushrooms, optional
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
6 qt water
Salt and pepper
1. Put a very large stockpot over medium-low heat and sauté celery, carrot, garlic, and onion in olive oil until very caramelized.
2. Add bay leaves, parmesan rinds, mushrooms if using, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and water; bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for four hours, strain, and season with salt and pepper if needed. (If in a time crunch, stock should be fine after about two hours, but may require more seasoning with salt and pepper.)
3. Transfer strained stock to a smaller pot and bring to a boil. Add tortellini, reduce heat to medium and cook for 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately, topping with parmesan cheese if desired.