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Pasta Makers

Tuesday, 30 September 2008 | Tags: , , , ,

Making pasta at home gives your Italian dishes a special touch of freshness. You can use a pasta maker to make noodles like ravioli, spaghetti, fettuccini, lasagne and more. We put some makers to the test during our visit to Tuscany.

The Basics

  • Good quality pasta makers are made of polished stainless steel. Less expensive models are typically made of chrome-plated steel, which isn’t as long-lasting.

  • The pasta dough is squeezed through rollers at the desired thickness, and is cut with cutting blades or attachments for making longer noodles.

  • There are two types of pasta makers to choose from:

    • Manual or hand-crank makers are typically cheaper than automatic. They usually clamp onto a counter-top or table for stability. Manual makers allow you to feel the thickness and texture of the dough as it presses through the rollers or cutting blades, but you’ll need a second pair of hands to help out. Experts agree manual makers provide a more fun and authentic experience.

    • Automatic pasta makers are motorized, and faster. They mix ingredients, knead the dough, and roll and cut the noodles for you. You can make large amounts of pasta in a short amount of time, but these machines are considerably more expensive than manual.

  • Before you buy a machine, consider the types of pasta you want to make. Most machines produce shapes like fettuccine and linguine. To expand your pasta varieties, look at the attachments included with the machine or look for compatible attachments that can be purchased separately.

  • Ultimately you want a pasta maker that is easy to operate, maintain, and clean. The fewer parts, the better.

Other Considerations

  • Once you’ve cut your pasta, you will need a way to dry it. You can buy a pasta drying rack, or get creative and use a wooden laundry rack or clean wooden hangers. You can also lay your pasta on the counter on tea towels (not directly on the countertop or it will stick). 

  • Most pasta makers available in North America are made in Italy.

  • The first time you use your new machine, run a small ball of dough through it and then discard it to help clean packing oils from the machine.

Be Aware

  • Never wash your pasta maker with soap and water or it could rust. To clean, wipe off flour with a pastry brush and use a plastic scraper to remove any dough. Store it in its original box in a dry place.

TEST CRITERIA

On our visit to Tuscany, we met Pasquina, who has made pasta at home for years. She taught us how to knead dough and spread it out to run it through the pasta maker, and she invited us to her home to do our test.

  • Norpro Atlas Original Italian Stainless Steel Pasta Machine (manual): $60
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Imperia 150 (manual): $88
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • KitchenAid Pasta Roller Attachment(attaches to stand mixer): $159
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Imperia Electric: $420
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

 

Pasta Making Test

  • The Kitchenaid Pasta Roller attachment was easiest to use. It worked really well and the noodles were nice and even.

  • The Norpro manual was the easiest to use of the manual models, and had a simple design.

  • The Imperia manual felt a bit more substantial (or heavier) than the Norpro, and was also relatively easy to use.

  • The Imperia motorized machine was very nice, but the price? Dios mio!

OUR TOP PICK

If you already have the Kitchenaid stand mixer and plan to make your own pasta often, we think the Kitchenaid Pasta Roller Attachment is fantastic. However, you need to own the KitchenAid stand mixer.

Both the Norpro (manual) and the Imperia (manual) performed well in our tests.

  

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