We’ve had a few people ask, “What Pasta Machine do you use?” lately so we thought we’d share a little review.
I should start the review with what we don’t use – our old pasta machine. We had used an older model that appeared to be a knock-off of a full-blown machine. It was decent and had great results – for about a year. It started to ‘stick’ a few months ago before I realized that the cutter blades for wide noodles had become misaligned. Once this happens, the cutting action is rendered useless as the machine seizes before making a full rotation.
I turned to our friend, Italian Chef Massimo Bruno, for advice. He looked me dead in the eyes and said a single word.
The unit retailed for $65 Canadian (at an Italian grocery store). You can also find it online. It stores easily in its box (which is about 10 inches in all directions).
You can make 3 basic noodle types: thin, broad and sheet (like lasagna). There are other attachments you can get as well. It’s sturdy, all stainless (with the exception of a wooden handle that turns the crank) and can be easily operated by a single person.
I’ve only had one real disaster in my journey to learn to make pasta – the first attempt failed miserably. I wasn’t patient enough, didn’t knead the dough enough and expected the machine to do all of the ‘flattening.’ I didn’t try again for 3 or 4 months and, after thinking it through, tried again with great success.
Making pasta takes a few hours for your first few times (or at least it did for me). But soon enough, you can create a pound of pasta, cook your sauce (and the noodles) and have dinner on the plate within an hour of starting (this includes some down time). It’s still a bit of work but the results are remarkable. You can dehydrate the noodles if you wish and making a double batch would drastically reduce the time-per-pound (but slightly increase the overall time) for the project.
“Homemade” pasta is tough to come by. Although some stores sell “Homemade” pasta, the definition varies. I’ve seen it priced from $5-$11 (and even higher); each pound of fresh pasta I’ve made with this costs $1-2. I will break even financially within 10-12 batches but the results are better than anything I’ve purchased from a store.
The process is fairly simple:
- make your dough, let it rise.
- Roll it into a log and slightly flatten it.
- The machine has two rollers which flatten the dough (and multiple settings to control the width). The dough is flattened, folded over on itself and flattened again.
- The fold-then-flatten cycle is repeated several times before the rollers are brought closer together and you restart the cycle. Repeat this until you have a large sheet (or sheets) of pasta that you are happy with.
- The final step is attaching the cutter of your choice (it’s the part that’s on the right of the photo above) and cut the noodles the way you want (thin or thick).
If you’re looking for recipes, try these:
- Semolina Pasta
- Mushroom powder and flour noodles
- Noodles without a fancy roller machine (they are tougher to cook as they finish at different points)
- Semolina Egg Noodles
Any pasta-making tips from those of you who make your own?