Three Virtue Soup: Le Virtu

TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 15 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 3 hr 30 min
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1/4 pound pork rind
  • 1 pig trotter
  • 1 ham bone, halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef shank
  • 1 clove
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 rib celery, halved
  • 3 whole sprigs parsley, plus 3 sprigs, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Tortellini, recipe follows
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 prosciutto bone
TORTELLINI:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 pound ground pork shoulder
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, finely diced
  • 1/4 pound mortadella, finely diced
  • 1 cup grated caciocavallo or pecorino Romano
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basic pasta dough, recipe follows
BASIC PASTA DOUGH:
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Directions

In a large pot, combine the pork rind, trotter, ham bone, and beef shank. Press the clove into the onion and add to the pot, along with the celery and whole sprigs parsley. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. Season with salt, if necessary.

Strain the broth and return to the pot. Discard the vegetables and retain the meat. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, strip it from the bones, remove excess cartilage, and return to the pot with the broth to simmer.

Meanwhile, place the beans in a 4-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then return the beans to the pot, add the bay leaf, onion, prosciutto bone, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until legumes are tender. Drain the beans and set aside, discarding the water.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, scallions, fennel, chopped parsley, and carrots, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juices, and add the tomatoes to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Add the reserved juice to the main stockpot. Add the favas and peas to the tomato-vegetable mixture, stir, and cook 7 minutes. Add the herbs, black pepper, and nutmeg, to the tomato-vegetable mixture and cook 20 minutes. Add the greens and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the tortellini in the boiling water for 4 minutes, then drain, and add to the main stockpot with the tomato vegetable mixture and the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve with cheese grated over.
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed, large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add the veal and pork shoulder and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well-browned and begins to release some of its juices. Remove from the heat and place in a large bowl.

Add the prosciutto and mortadella to the bowl, then add the egg and mix well to combine. Cook until the mixture firms up and holds its shape when a tablespoon-sized ball is removed from the pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Prepare the pasta dough according to the recipe and roll out to the thinnest setting on a pasta-rolling machine. Cut the pasta dough into 3-inch squares and place a scant tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of each square. Bring 2 diagonal corners of each square together, then bring the other 2 corners around together to form the tortellini. Set aside on damp towels until ready to cook.
Mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and the olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.

As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board, and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly re-flour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Roll the pasta out on a pasta-rolling machine to the desired thickness.

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