Recipe Files: Lemon-Ricotta Tortellini in Ham Broth from Chef Kevin Gillespie

How many times have you gone out to dinner, eaten something amazing, and wished you could recreate it at home? Unfortunately the recipe may not be available, and if it is, it may be so complicated that there’s no way you could ever make it yourself and expect the dish to come anything close to the original.

Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie’s new cookbook, Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World, includes tons of recipes for dishes that he’s served at his Atlanta restaurant and at dinners across the country. These recipes are designed to be accessible so that you don’t have to have a culinary degree to make them. He recently showcased this cookbook at a dinner at Jimmy Bannos’ Heaven on Seven in downtown Chicago. The menu consisted of five courses, each one with a corresponding recipe in his cookbook.

While the entire dinner was scrumptious, one of the favorite dishes of the evening was the Lemon-Ricotta Tortellini in Ham Broth. It was a well-balanced combination of flavors and textures, salty and just a touch of sweetness. As each guest at the dinner receive a cookbook I took a look at what was involved while we were eating, and thought “hey, I can do this!”

The instructions are clear, as you’ll see below, and the preparation is easy. This particular dish, however, is time consuming, and for good reason. There’s a reason the broth is so flavorful: it’s made from chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock.

The stock is easy. All you do is cut up a chicken and simmer it in some water for a good long while. You don’t even add any vegetables – no onions, no celery, no garlic – just the chicken.

To make the ham broth you’ll carmelize some onions, garlic and ginger, then simmer some scored ham hocks with the chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, black peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. How can this broth not be delicious!

Finally, once you’ve got your broth and shredded some ham off of those hocks, you can make the tortellini. Chef Gillespie “cheats” by using wonton skins as the pasta, but they work beautifully.

Below is the recipe, and you can see how simple it is. Be sure to pick up your own copy of Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World and you’ll learn how to make Serrano Ham Croquettes with Smoky Tomato Aioli, Mexican pork ribs in Salsa Verde, Sichuan Salt & Pepper Pork Chops, and so much more pork awesomeness.

[]Lemon-Ricotta Tortellini in Ham Broth

  • 1 bunch chives
  • ⅔ cup shredded ham from Ham Broth
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and mashed, about ½ teaspoon
  • 1 egg
  • 40 wonton wrappers or fresh pasta sheets, cut into 3½-inch squares
  • 2 cups Ham Broth

Finely slice 1 tablespoon of the chives, reserving the rest of the chive spears for garnish. In a small bowl, stir together the tablespoon of choppedchives, ½ cup of the shredded ham, the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ loosely packed teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, ½ teaspoon lemon juice, and the garlic.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash.

Working in batches, lay out the wonton wrappers in a single layer and brush egg wash around the edges of each. Drop a teaspoon of the ham filling into the center of each square and fold corner to corner into a triangle, pressing together the edges. Bring the 2 points from the long end of the triangle together around your finger and press to seal.

Heat the ham broth to a low simmer in a saucepan.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add enough salt to make it seawater salty, about 2 tablespoons. Drop the tortellini into the water, stir briefly to prevent sticking, and cook until they float, about 4 minutes. Ladle about ¼ cup broth into the bottom of each pasta plate or shallow bowl. Add 5 tortellini right from the cooking water (use a slotted spoon or spider to drain) and garnish with Parmesan cheese, the remaining shredded ham, and a few chive spears.

Good to Know

The tortellini freeze really well. Just seal them in freezer bags and freeze them for up to 2 months. Then you can heat them in the broth as mentioned above (without changing the cooking time), or serve them with tomato sauce or Alfredo sauce.

From Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

Featured photo: homemade tortellini with ham broth by Theresa Carter






Leave a Reply