Some may say that I’m a snob, but I prefer the term connoisseur. I like its fancy French sound, which just exudes superiority. Plus, most people don’t even understand what it means.
Actually, I’m not a snob at all when it comes to judging people. It’s a simple pass-fail test, and if you have a good sense of humor, you pass. On the other hand, when it comes to judging Italian restaurants, I am intolerant, impatient, and unforgiving. This is because Italian food is either really good (when prepared correctly) or really bad (when it is not). The cuisine is so simple, yet so easy to screw up (which is usually done by over-saucing, over-salting, over-cheesing, or over-cooking). There is no gray area here.
And so it is with great pleasure that I present to you this week’s Sunday Pasta recipe, provided by Matteo Bergamini, Chef at SD26 in NYC. Like its predecessor restaurant, San Domenico, SD26 delivers consistent, high quality, authentic Italian food. I was lucky enough to have lunch there recently with Steve Feinberg, Sunday Pasta’s honorary and good-humored Ambassador from San Francisco. Matteo prepared a thoughtful, delicious lunch, and Steve made me chuckle and then paid the bill, which means that both the food and company passed with flying colors.
Ravioli del Plin are a typical pasta dish from Piemonte, in northwestern Italy. They are smaller than the classic ravioli and agnolotti. The term plin, which means pinched in local dialect, refers to the pinching that is necessary to form their tiny shapes. They are generally filled with meat or vegetable, but Matteo’s recipe calls for a Fontina Valdostana cheese filling, covered with butter and shaved white truffles. (I couldn’t find truffles this weekend, so I substituted porcini mushrooms, but any will do.)
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
Mix well all the ingredients and let the dough rest in refrigerator for 1 hour. With the help of a rolling pin or a pasta sheet, roll out the pasta into very thin sheets. Place the sheet on a table and cut strips about 15 inches long & 1 1/2 inch wide.
In a small pot melt butter with flour, then add milk and bring to boil on low flame and keep stirring. Add Fontina and allow to cook for 5 min. Remove from flame, pour it into a bowl and let cool down. When cold make little balls of 1/2 inch diameter.
Set the Fontina filling on the pasta sheet making sure you have 1/2 inch space in between. Roll the sheet over to cover the filling and pinch every single ravioli to enclose the cheese in the pasta. With a pizza cutter, cut each ravioli and place them on a plate sprinkled with some flour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the ravioli and let them cook for 1 minute.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a sauce pan (and add the porcini if substituting); when ravioli are ready place them in the melted butter, season it with the Parmigiano and shave the truffle on top.