Anolini in Brodo
Hailing from Parma, anolini in brodo are small circles of beef-stuffed pasta, served in a rich meat broth. Thanks to their small circular shape, anolini get their name from the word Italian anello, meaning “ring.” Each anolino is about one inch wide and they are typically cut out with an anolino stamp.
Throughout Parma and the surrounding area, it’s a classic dish that families prepare and enjoy on special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter. And it makes sense–similar to tortellini in brodo, the process for making anolini is a labor of love, requiring several days of patient preparation. To make the filling, lean beef is simmered with carrots, celery, and onion for a full day. The meat is then finely minced and mixed together with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of the stewed beef juices to form a flavorful stuffing for each anolino. After that, fresh egg pasta dough is rolled out and the anolini are formed one by one.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. But trust us when we say it’s totally worth it! Making anolini is an ideal project for a cold winter weekend – let your house fill up with the smells of beef and broth and savor the process.
You can also prepare the anolini ahead of time. Simply fill and shape them and freeze them (see our guide on storing fresh pasta). When you’re ready to eat, plop them straight from the freezer into a simmering broth (do not thaw), until cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
Anolini in Brodo
Prep time: 240 Minutes
Cook time: 10 Minutes
For the filling:
11 tablespoons butter
1 celery stalk, quartered
1 carrot, quartered
1 small onion, quartered
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 ounces stew beef or beef chuck
⅓ cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup grated parmesan
Pinch ground nutmeg
For the pasta:
3½ cups (450 grams) 00 flour
5 whole eggs
8½ cups (about 2 liters) of beef or chicken stock
Parmesan cheese, finely grated, for serving
To prepare the filling:
Note: It’s best to prepare the filling at least a day and up to 48 hours before filling and shaping the anolini in order to allow the flavors to fully develop.
In a large heavy-bottom pot, heat the butter until melted over medium heat. Add the quartered celery, carrot, and onion and cook for a few minutes, just until they start to soften.
Season the beef with salt and black pepper. Add the beef to the pot, cooking on both sides. Once lightly browned on one side, flip it over and finish browning on the other side.
Add red wine, whole clove, and enough water to cover the beef and vegetables. Cover and simmer on low for about 3 hours and up to 12 hours (the longer you cook it, the better). Halfway through cooking, add the tomato paste and stir until dissolved.
In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Ladle some of the juices from the meat stew over a strainer and into the breadcrumb mixture (any remaining juices can be strained and added to the serving broth). Mince the meat in a food processor and add to the filling mixture. Return everything to a food processor and blend until you have a smooth and fluffy filling. Cover and place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to fully develop.
To prepare the anolini:
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta dough. Dump the flour onto a clean work surface and create a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into it and mix together with a fork, slowly adding in the flour and being careful not to let the eggs spill out of the well. Knead together until you obtain a smooth and even dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. (For more details on making fresh egg pasta, see our Fresh Egg Pasta guide.)
You can prepare the dough ahead of time, up to 24 hours in advance. The dough is fine to rest at room temperature for up to two hours. For longer rest times, place in the fridge and let it come up to room temperature before rolling it out.
When you’re ready to shape the anolini, unwrap the dough and divide it into four quarters. Remove one quarter, wrapping up the remaining three quarters in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Roll the piece of dough through a pasta machine into a thin sheet (the thinnest setting on your pasta machine).
Lay the sheet out flat. On one half of the sheet, place about a teaspoon of filling dotted across the sheet. You should have about 2 or 3 rows of nine filling “dots.” Take the other half sheet of dough and fold it over onto the filling-covered sheet. Use your hands to gently press around the filling, sealing the dough and removing any air pockets. If dough is too try to seal, you can lightly spritz the surface with a fine mist spray bottle.
Using a small round stamp (check out our anolini stamp), stamp out the pasta around the filling dots. Remove any scraps (discard or save for soups!). Place finished anolini on a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet.
To cook the anolini:
To cook, bring the stock to a gentle boil. Add the anolini directly to the stock and simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Ladle into shallow bowls and serve warm with grated Parmesan cheese.