Once upon a time, three friends put together a web site for a class project on information technology. But it wasn’t just any web site; it was an interactive culinary masterpiece. The friends loved creating this web site; it was a chance to cook together, and photograph, and video intricate steps and share dishes that they all loved.
Its full name was Reciplay! A Hands-On Experience. But they knew it by its simple nickname. Reciplay.
As time went on, theses and job applications and life got in the way, and they neglected this poor little web site. It grew lonely, and sad, and once the friends allowed the domain name to expire, it faded away into the distance.
Occasionally I’ll be resurrecting some recipes from the Reciplay site and posting them here. This particular recipe was contributed by Ceci, who owned a bonafide pasta maker.
For dough: 1 cup unbleached flour ; 2 large eggs; ½ tablespoon milk . For filling: 1 lb fresh mushrooms, such as cremini, chopped; ½ cup chopped onions; sprinkle of balsamic vinegar ; salt and pepper to taste ; 1 tablespoon unsalted butter ; ½ cup toasted pecans; ½ cup freshly grated sharp provolone cheese
Steps (Pasta Dough):
1) Start with a very clean, smooth surface, such as a countertop. Go ahead and dump the flour right onto it and shape it into a mound, and with your index finger, make a large well in the middle.
2) Break the eggs into the well, and lightly beat them with a fork for a minute or so.
3) Slowly, slowly bring in a little flour at a time with the fork and incorporate it into the beaten eggs. Keep adding flour in this manner until the eggs are no longer runny.
4) Push some of the flour to one side, saving it unless you absolutely need it. Bring in the sides of the mound with the remaining flour and work the flour and egg mixture together until everything is well-combined. Add more flour if it is still moist
5) When everything is well-combined and doesn’t seem sticky, wash your hands and test the dough: press your thumb deep into mass: does it come out clean? If yes, it has enough flour, and you are ready to knead.
6) Clean the surface of any caked-on bits of dough and sprinkle some flour over it. Place the dough on the floured surface and place your palms on top of it. Push down and forward, flattening the dough slightly. Fold it in half, and give it a quarter turn (clockwise or counter-clockwise does not matter; just make sure you turn the mass in the same direction during the whole process). Repeat this process for about 8 minutes; the dough should be very soft and smooth, and not sticky at all. The dough is now ready to put through a machine.
Steps (Rolling the Dough):
1) Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
2) Prepare your pasta-rolling-and-cutting surface: make sure it’s big, clean, and covered in flour. Have a bunch of damp dish towels ready (these are for covering the dough your are not using and the finished ravioli or tortellini.
3) Use the smooth cylinder attachments on the pasta machine. Set them at their widest setting. Flatten one of the dough sections with your hands, and pass it through the machine.
4) Fold the piece in half and feed it by its narrow end through the machine again. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
5) Pass the flattened strip once through each setting, so that it gets flatter and flatter. It is good to have a second set of hands to help you with this part.
6) Halfway through passing the strip through the last setting, cut the strip in half and lay it on the floured surface. Pass the rest through, and lay the second strip parallel to the first. Now you’re ready to stuff and cut ravioli or tortellini!
Steps (Mushroom-Pecan Tortellini):
1) Make the filling: Caramelize the onions in a medium skillet, add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, and sauté for a few minutes. Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a dry skillet. Put it all in a food processor with the grated parmesan. Pulverize until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2) Cut the strips of pasta you rolled out as detailed above lengthwise. The bands should be about 2 inches wide. Cut two by two squares from these bands. I used a pizza cutter to do this.
3) Place a quarter teaspoon of mushroom filling in each square.
4) Now for the folding: take a corner of a square and fold it over the filling to make a triangle, but don’t fold it all the way up to the corner above it: secure it just below that. Press firmly on the edges to make them stick.
5) Dab water on the two corners on either side of the seam and draw them together around the filling, so that they hug it. Pinch the corners together tightly under the filling. Repeat with all the squares, and place complete tortellini in between two damp towels.
6) Boil the pasta in heavily salted water, sauce, and serve immediately. Make sure you let everyone know that you’ve been slaving away all day making their dinner.