My descent into broth-holism started innocently enough. I was a lucky, poverty-stricken student studying in Austria. The school took us on a whirlwind tour of Italy. What's not to like? But by the time we got to Rome and had seen 112 churches and the bones of as many saints, we were eager to have some time on our own. And we did - in Rome.
Being poverty-stricken, (to figure out my age - let it be known I did do Europe on $5/day and never camped outside ... well, there was the one time in the Paris train station over night... but that was inside) ... back to being poor - on our own in Rome there was no restaurant we could afford. We went into the train station - probably because it was free and there was a cheap (really cheap) menu of soups and pastas. I ordered tortellini in brodo.
And I was transported in the train station. Without getting on a train. Nothing in Penn Station in NYC ever tasted like this! (Although they used to have really good bagels.) I would forever be hooked on noodles in broth.
Fast forward 6 years and I am a poor actress (notice the common theme?) in Greenwich Village. I was fond of three trattorias that were in my neighborhood. Locally owned, they had some outstanding Italian food and no one seemed to know about them except for us lucky locals. Their tortellini in brodo with swirls of spinach and arugula was my favorite meal. They knew me and were pleased when I ordered something different. (Signorina, the veal! the pasta! the chicken!) But I was an addict and nothing would do but a quick fix of their soup.
These days, I keep homemade stock in the freezer during the cooler months. If it is 85 degrees out and I have a craving for noodles and broth, I will open a commercial can of broth (if my cravings are not intense I will spend 30 minutes enhancing it with some roasted vegetables), add cooked noodles and top with parmesan. It is now one of my daughter's favorite meals - we manage a vegetable in there. And in the winter, I will use beef broth, pepper it, reduce it, sometimes add wine and swirl a little butter in it and serve the rich broth with ravioli. Which is what I did last night.
And I'm back in a Rome train station which was a really nice place to be.