Somewhere, buried beneath that pile of white truffles are the famed ravioli del plin, or ‘pinched,’ small ravioli of the Piedmont region. (Yes, the photo is a bit fuzzy because we snuck our cameras into the dimly-lit, fancy, starred restaurant and snapped pics of our favorite dishes…)

After we returned from Italy, Brooke became obsessed with the cheese-filled minis and I wanted to recreate them for events at ICE and special dinners at home. Since we’ve all perfected our fresh pasta making technique, I thought we’d all want to take it to the next level and give these ravioli a try. Yes, yes, yes–I swear to y’all and to Brooke that my next recipe on this site will be meatloaf, turkey tetrazzinni or something along those lines. We all love quick & easy and fresh, filled pasta isn’t an every night meal. But while these Italian beauties are fresh in my mind…

The filling is as simple or as sophisticated as you’d like it to be.  A delicious, straight-forward cheese filling for ravioli, can be made by cutting a good melting cheese like fontal, asiago or gouda into cubes and using it to fill the pasta. Or blend fresh ricotta cheese with herbs and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Fill the pasta with spoonfuls of the cheese mixture. For a fancier filling, make a thick puree of pumpkin or butternut squash and season it with  salt, pepper and nutmeg. For added flavor, cook the pumpkin or squash with thyme or sage. Or, for the ultimate treat try our recipe for white truffle fonduta (at the end of this post).

Are you ready? Do you think you can do this? Sip a glass of Dolcetto while you cook and you can do anything! And if you run into any cooking snafus, just email us or Tweet us with your questions.

To form ravioli
Sprinkle two baking sheets with flour and set aside for the formed ravioli.
Lay a single sheet of the rolled out pasta on a clean work surface. Place tablespoon-sized mounds of filling approximately 1 inch from the edge of the dough, leaving 1½ to 2 inches of space between the mounds as they line down the length of the pasta sheet.

Brush a thin line off egg white down the length of the dough just in front of the filling. Brush another line between each mound of filling. Fold the dough over the mounds of filling and press firmly where the two pieces of dough meet. Pinch between each mound of dough.

Cut down the line ravioli with a fluted pastry cutter where the pieces of dough meet to trim away the excess. Cut the ravioli into individual pieces by rolling the cutter through the folded side. Transfer the formed ravioli to the floured pan. Formed ravioli may be frozen.

To cook the ravioli

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Drop the ravioli into the pot and stir immediately to prevent sticking. Boil the ravioli until tender, approximately 4 minutes.
While the ravioli are boiling, melt the butter in a large sauce pan over a medium flame. Transfer the cooked ravioli to the sauté pan and add ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Simmer 1 minute more until the sauce is creamy. Plate the ravioli and serve immediately.

Fonduta (Ravioli Filling)
makes 3 cups
4 ounces butter
4 ounces flour
2 cups milk
2 cups fontina cheese
freshly ground pepper
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons truffle oil
Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam add the flour and whisk into a smooth paste and cook until lightly tan in color. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour until a smooth, thick mixture forms. Simmer stirring frequently until the sauce no longer tastes of flour. Remove the pot from the heat, add the cheese and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the egg yolks and truffle oil in a large bowl and whisk the fonduta into the eggs. Cool completely before filling pasta.