Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Plin - meat filled pasta from Piedmont

These enticing little bundles of goodness are plin, sometimes called agnolotti del plin — a filled pasta from the Piedmont region of Italy that I ate plenty of when I visited there this fall. It’s pronounced “pleen” and the name originates from the Piemontese dialect word for “pinch,” which is what you need to do to shape this pasta. There are many variations for the filling, but the traditional ones contain a variety of ground meats, cabbage and parmesan cheese. I wasn’t so ambitious to start cooking two or three roasts from scratch, but after making chicken soup, I froze some of the leftover meat, waiting until I cooked a pot roast to have two different meats to combine. You don’t need much of either meat (you could also add pork, or rabbit) and I can’t say for certain how much I used, but this is the kind of dish where you don’t really need a recipe. Just a little of this and a little of that will do. I also had leftover roasted cabbage and saved one wedge in order to add that the mixture. You can use spinach or swiss chard if you prefer instead of the cabbage. I put the meats, the cabbage, a little grated parmesan cheese, and a little bit of chicken broth in a food processor to blend it until smooth. All together, I ended up with about two cups of filling, enough to fill a couple hundred of these plin.

Don’t be intimidated by the shape. They’re easy and fun to do, assuming you know how to make homemade pasta. If not, click on this post. However, instead of using semolina and unbleached white flour, for this recipe I used only OO flour from Italy, which is easy to obtain where I live.

Click on this video to see how I shaped and cut the plin:

Boil the pasta until cooked through. This should take only about five minutes if the pasta is cooked when fresh. You can freeze them too for cooking later on. In that case, they’ll need a little more time to cook. To freeze them, lay them out uncooked on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for an hour or so. When they’re hard and frozen, you can gather them and place them in a plastic bag for whenever you need some. Don’t thaw them before cooking. Just dump them into the boiling water from the freezer.

Plin are typically dressed lightly in a meat sauce or dressed with butter, sage and parmesan cheese. I had a little of the sauce left over from the pot roast with bits of meat and herbs in it. I just put it in the blender and homogenized it, and used that as the sauce for the plin. Though not typically served in a broth, these would be delicious in a chicken soup too.

But for our Christmas Day first course, I swished them around in the leftover pot roast sauce for a couple of minutes until they were coated.

Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese, and you’ll be in heaven.

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Plin – meat filled pasta from Piedmont
  • leftover pieces chicken meat, beef stew, pork roast or rabbit
  • (enough to make about two cups when finely ground)
  • 1 wedge leftover roasted cabbage
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth, or more if necessary
  • 2 cups OO flour
  • 4 eggs plus one egg yolk
  2. Place the flour and the eggs in a food processor and blend until homogenized.
  3. If it’s too sticky, add more flour until it comes together in a ball.
  4. Knead on a board until it’s smooth.
  5. Let it rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
  6. Follow the video for directions on stuffing and cutting into the plin shape.
  8. Place all the stuffing ingredients in the food processor except parmesan cheese.
  9. Add the chicken broth a little at a time until the consistency is like a soft cheese.
  10. You may not need it all, or you may need more, depending on how much meat you used.
  11. After you’ve made the plin, boil in salted water, drain and toss with a light meat sauce and parmesan cheese, or serve with melted butter, sage and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the video of your father making the bucatini! What an interesting gadget and wonderful heirloom to remember your grandmother by. The Plin in this post are very unique--i've never seen anything like them and I'd love to try the recipe one day.