Whether you're just after a tasty meal this week or you need a bit of a boost, I thought I'd tick both boxes with this restorative, delicious, uber-fresh broth to pep you up. Bone broths have grown massively in popularity over the last year or so, but I think people forget that broths like these have actually been around for centuries. Back in the day, it would have been a matter of routine to spend hours boiling the leftover bones or carcass from the week's meat intake to get every last bit of extra nutrition into the family diet. Much like classic "Jewish penicillin," these flavoursome bone broths are exactly the kind of therapeutic food that will make you feel better.
I've used beef bones in this recipe for rich depth of flavour and I've added a bit of luxury with homemade potato and cheese tortellini. Making ravioli or tortellini is a lot easier than many people think, but if you want to get the technique just right, watch myself and my good friend Gennaro Contaldo making them on my Food Tube channel. Once you get the hang of it, there's nothing more therapeutic than making a fresh batch of pasta on a Sunday afternoon.
Of course, if you're only making this recipe for a few of you, simply freeze the leftover broth and keep it for more incredible soups another night. If you want more of an Asian vibe, try flavouring it with ginger, star anise and soy sauce, and swap the tortellini for noodles, adding whatever lovely crunchy veggies you've got to hand. Or, give it more of a hearty vibe with strips of leftover roast beef and chunky veg. The sky really is the limit.
2 sticks of celery
2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) beef bones, with a little meat attached
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 large baking potatoes
1½ cups Italian tipo 00 or semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
2 large free-range eggs
30 grams (1 ounce) Parmesan cheese, grated
100 grams (3.5 ounces) Taleggio cheese
Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Peel and halve the onions, wash and roughly chop the carrots and celery, then place it all in a large casserole pot with the beef bones.
Peel and add the garlic cloves, drizzle over a little oil, toss everything together, then pop in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the veg becomes dark and gnarly.
Remove the pot from the oven, pour in the cider vinegar and enough cold water to cover everything, then place on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil, checking and skimming the surface now and then.
When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat, cover with a lid and return it to the oven. Reduce the temperature to 275 F and leave the pot in the oven for 12 to 24 hours; the longer the better. Check on it occasionally, adding a little water if it looks like it’s reducing too much.
When ready to make the tortellini, prick potatoes with a fork and pop on a tray in the oven to bake. Cook for about 1½ hours, or until tender and cooked through, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.
To make the pasta dough, add the flour and eggs to a food processor along with a good pinch of sea salt. Blitz until it forms a dough. If it’s too dry, add a splash of stock or water to help it along.
Tip the dough onto a flour-dusted surface and knead for a few minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest until needed.
When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve them and scoop out the fluffy centres into a mixing bowl. Finely grate in the Parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Cut the taleggio into tiny pieces and stir into the potatoes.
When ready to fill the tortellini, divide the dough into 6 pieces.
Use a pasta machine or floured rolling pin to roll out one piece (covering the rest with plastic wrap or a tea towel) into a long, thin, 10 centimetre-wide strip (if using a pasta roller, use the thinnest setting).
Cut the pasta strip into 5-centimetre squares.
Lightly dust a tray with flour. Place ½ a teaspoon of the cheesy potato filling in the middle of a pasta square, then fold over the pasta into a triangle, pressing the edges to seal.
Wind the folded edges around the tip of your middle finger and press the corners together to form a ring. Place them on the floured tray.
Continue until you have used all the rolled-out dough, then roll out the reserved pieces and repeat the process.
When the bone broth is ready, carefully remove from the oven and strain through a fine sieve. Return the sieved broth to the stove and bring back to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, carefully add the tortellini – when, after a few minutes, they float to the surface, it means they’re done. Divide the broth between bowls and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.