Often reserved for special occasions, agnolotti del plin is an iconic Piedmontese pasta dish. The name for this specialty comes from the regional dialect where plin literally translates to ‘pinch’, describing the technique used to make this pasta. The sheets of pasta are pinched together to form small pouches of agnolotti. The dough is rolled very thinly, so that the pouches are almost transparent, ensuring the delicate flavours of the filling shine through.
Whilst this dish is most widely recognised by its shape, the filling for the agnolotti also has historic origins. Traditionally the parcels were stuffed with leftover spit roasted meats and vegetables and seasoned with herbs native the northern regions of Italy.
As far as the sauce goes this is really down to personal preference. Some serve their agnolotti del plin in a simple butter sauce with the addition of cheese or sage whilst others choose to serve it in a clear, gravy-like liquid made from the braising juices leftover from cooking the meat.
Agnolotti del plin recipe
Prep time: 2 hours (including pasta)
Calories per serving: 657 kcal
For the pasta & filling:
- Pasta dough (follow our fresh pasta recipe)
- 1tbsp butter
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves
- 450g minced veal
- 450g minced pork
- 675g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 85g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 3 large eggs
- Freshly grated nutmeg, generous pinch
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the butter sauce:
- 140g butter
- 1tsp salt
- 10 sage leaves
- 100g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Make the pasta dough
- Follow along with Chef Roberta in the video below, then leave your pasta dough to rest.
Make the filling
- In a large saucepan, heat the butter and add the garlic and rosemary.
- After a couple of minutes add the veal and pork and cook until brown on each side, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes
- Season the mixture with salt and pepper
- Cook the spinach for 1 minute in boiling water, drain it well and add to the meat mix
- Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano, eggs and nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste, combine well and set aside
Make your agnolotti
- Split the pasta dough into 3 parts and start rolling out 1 piece, on a floured surface, until it’s about ⅛ inch thick (pretty thin), lay it out and trim the edges to make them straight
- Use a teaspoon to place the filling at intervals along the bottom half of the pasta sheet, leaving a 1½ inch border at the bottom of the dough and on each side of the filling
- Pull the top edge of the pasta over the filling so that a pocket is formed over the dollops of filling, seal each agnolotti by pressing your index finger on the edges and ensure there are no air bubbles
- Then, starting at one end of the dough, place your thumb and forefinger of each hand together, place your hands about an inch apart and pinch vertically at small intervals to seal each piece of agnolotti separately
- Separate the agnolotti strip from the rest of the pasta sheet using a sharp knife (be careful not to break the seal) and then cut each piece separate, cutting through the centre of the pinched area (again, ensure they remain sealed), place each piece on a floured surface and leave to rest for about 25 minutes
- Repeat this process until you’ve used all the filling and pasta dough
Cook your pasta
- Fill a large pan with boiling water, salt and bring to the boil. Add the fresh agnolotti and cook for 3 minutes (or until the pasta is bobbing at the surface)
- Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and allow the butter to sizzle gently, toasting the leaves for about a minute before removing them
- Slowly add 200ml water to the butter, simmering until the liquid has reduced by half, season with salt and pepper
- Drain the agnolotti and transfer to the sauce, toss until each piece of pasta is coated
- Plate up your pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, serve immediately
How should I serve my agnolotti del plin?
The beauty of agnolotti del plin is that you have a lot of choice in how you serve it. Whether you opt for a buttery, herby sauce - as we did in the recipe above - or you prefer to dish it up with the gravy produced if you braised the meat for the filling yourself, the flavour of these parcels of pasta will shine through. If you truly want to emulate the Italians, we suggest that you serve up this Piedmontese speciality for a celebratory dinner, shared with your family and friends. However, it’s so tasty that we certainly won’t stop you from making this your go-to mid-week meal.
What wine should I pair with my agnolotti del plin?
As a signature dish from the region of Piedmont, pairing this pasta with a rich Barolo wine would be a match made in heaven. Made with the Nebbiolo grapes which are found predominantly in this north-western part of Italy, this high-tannin wine with its floral undertones will not disappoint.