What: This popular Bolognese primo, or first course, is simply handmade tortellini—a soft little ring-shaped egg pasta, usually stuffed with cheese and pork (a mix of mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and prosciutto is common)—served swimming in a clear chicken- or beef-derived broth, then topped tableside with grated Parmigiano. Along with its cousin from Modena, cappelletti en brodo (essentially the same dish, but with a different shape of pasta), this soup is most traditional around Christmas, but is readily available in area restaurants year-round. It’s simple, delicious comfort food that gets any meal off to a good start. 

Where: Our photo is from Bologna’s very old-school Ristorante Da Bertino & Figli (Via delle Lame 55), a brightly lit, white-tableclothed restaurant recommended to us by some trusted locals. 

When: Lunch, 12:15pm-2:30pm; dinner, 7:30pm-10:30pm. Closed Sundays and Monday nights in winter; closed Sundays and Saturday nights in summer.

Order: A steaming bowl of tortellini en brodo (€7), topped generously with Parmigiano, followed by another regional specialty like bolliti misti (mixed boiled meats; €15) or cotoletta alla Bolognese (€9), a decadent breaded veal cutlet with prosciutto and melted Fontina cheese .

Alternatively: Look for this common starter at other traditional Bolognese restaurants like Ristorante al Pappagallo (Piazza della Mercanzia 3C, map), Trattoria Trebbi (Via Solferino 40/b, map), and Ristorante Teresina (Via Guglielmo Oberdan 4, map), all in Bologna.