Co-Founder Heather Cathcart’s Favorite Soup? Celeste’s Tortellini in Brodo

Tortellini in Brodo

Tortellini in Brodo

“Heather, what is your favorite soup?” As the Co-Founder of WhatsTheSoup, I am often asked this question and without hesitation I can answer, “Celeste’s Tortellini in Brodo.” This simple recipe consisting of puffed pillows of fresh tortellini and steaming broth, evokes the fondest of childhood memories. And behind every great bowl of soup is a story.

Growing up in the mid sixties Zeke and Celeste Gherardi were my neighbors across the street. My nickname for Celeste was “Mrs. Cookie” as I new if I found my way to her doorstep each day after an outside adventure, she would greet me with the warmest smile and a handful of cookies or sweets. They certainly weren’t the kind of cookies we had at our house either. They came from colorful packages adorned with Italian writing and tasted of licorice (anise), butter and almonds. They were exotic flavors to me. 
My father immigrated to the United States from Northern Ireland in 1956 and my mother’s parents emigrated from Ireland and France. It seemed fitting that most of their close confidants and friends were also first or second-generation emigrants. The beauty of this as a child was that each household we visited was filled with delicious, mysterious smells and tastes. 
Celeste’s house was always warm and inviting. Music would always be playing and delicious smells were pouring out of her kitchen. I loved watching Celeste create. I found my perch on a stool in the sunlight and tried to make mental notes as to the ingredients she would use. It seemed that with each of life’s celebrations or upsets one could always count on Celeste to deliver a bit of goodness to your door. With the help of her children and grandchildren we have pieced together a close to accurate recipe for this simple medicinal soup. A remedy for all that ails you.


Celeste’s Tortellini in Brodo


One can add a pinch of parsley and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano to taste…and of course enjoy with loaf of crusty bread.

Hint: it is worth it to buy really good fresh tortellini, although it can be made it with Buitoni brand from the supermarket with excellent results.


1 Bring 4 quarts of water to boil
2 Add Knorr beef bouillon to the water according to the directions
3 Once it it slowly boiling and the bouillon is dissolved, add 1/2 kilo of fresh tortellini (meat or sausage filling) to the broth
4 The broth should be pretty salty, so ease before you add more salt
5 Serve and enjoy

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