When it comes to comfort food, you can never go wrong with a heaping plate of pasta. While most people are content with the boxed pasta, you’ve never really known a great pasta dish until you’ve had fresh homemade pasta. You can make your very own pasta whenever you want when you have a pasta maker.
In this post, we are going to talk about these incredible machines. You can expect to learn about the history of the pasta machine, the difference between an electric pasta machine and a manual machine, but we’re also going to talk give you some tips on creating your own pasta with one of these machines.
The pasta maker is a machine that chefs use to roll out pasta dough into thin sheets of pasta. These machines can be motorized or be manually operated and they are designed to roll out the dough, stretch it, and cut it to the desired size.
You can find larger pasta machines that will also mix the dough and then form it into different pasta shapes, however these are primarily used commercially and not in the home.
Typically, you’ll find a pasta roller made from stainless steel. The rollers that pushes the dough through are usually anodized aluminum so that the dough doesn’t stick to them during the process.
Depending on the setting size you choose, you can create thin sheets of dough or thicker ones.
These options allow you to make everything from lasagna to fettuccini, from spaghetti to angel hair.
The first appearance of the pasta machine shows up in 1787 when Thomas Jefferson toured northern Italy. Jefferson noted the plans for a pasta machine and commissioned William Short, his secretary, to purchase the macaroni machine. However, they quickly discovered that the machine wasn’t durable.
When he returned to the states, he served pasta by cutting rolled dough into shapes and then later rolled by hand into noodles.
The first real pasta machine was made in 1833 by Cesare Spadaccinni. His creation was mass produced when King Ferdinand commissioned for the machine to be made. The King asked Spadaccinni to create a pasta machine because he witnessed the poor kneading pasta dough with their feet.
Spadaccinni’s fix for this was the creation of a water-wheel powered device that used bronzed metal legs to knead the dough.
The first official pasta maker was patented by Angelo Vitantonio and it became popular with Italian Americans, as they learned of the device over radio broadcast.
Pasta has been a staple in many people’s diets for over two thousand years. For much of that time, pasta was made by hand. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the pasta maker was invented. While the pasta maker is something that makes it easy to make pasta, it isn’t an appliance that every homeowner may have.
There are two types of pasta makers available: a manual pasta roller and an electric pasta machine.
A manual noodle maker is the type of machine that you’ll find mostly in the home kitchen. There are a few different designs of this machine, but they all function relatively the same way.
The user runs dough through the rollers that will lengthen and flatten the dough into thin, long sheets.
The user will then cut the sheets to the length they want before the run the sheet through the cutter. It is the cutter that turns your sheet of dough into fresh strands of noodles.
An extrusion pasta maker is going to be more advanced and more complicated. These machines are going to be found primarily in a commercial setting, or in the home of a large family that loves pasta. The machine is fully automated so that the pasta making process is streamlined and consistent.
All the chef has to do is load the ingredients into the machine. The machine will then combine the ingredients and then push the dough through the die. The electric pasta maker presses the pasta dough through something called a die. This is where the piece of pasta is created. Then the user will press the strand of pasta to the appropriate length.
You can find smaller electric pasta makers that are designed for home use. Also, you can find some extrusion pasta makers as a stand mixer attachment. To use these, you’ll just have to attach it to the mixer and it feeds the already made dough through the attachment and the stand mixer is the source of power.
When a person is toying with the idea of purchasing a noodle maker, they have to decide what type of power source they want to use. This choice is going to depend on how frequently you are going to be using the machine and where it is going to be stored. Also, you will want to think about how much pasta you need or want to make.
So, what is better? An electric machine or a manual one? Well, with a manual pasta machine, it is going to use rollers.
These rollers are operated by turning a handle that will move those rollers through the dough while flattening it.
Although the manual makers are simple to use, you have to make sure it is on a sturdy base and the clamp is secure.
When you’re looking for one of these manual devices, you want to take some measurements of the workspace so you know the clamp is going to work well enough so that the machine stays in place and you can comfortably feed the dough through the machine.
With an electric pasta machine, you can find models that use both rollers and extruders. The electric machine with rollers will work much like a manual device, except that it uses an electric motor to move the rollers and flatten the dough. Most instances of this type of machine, it doesn’t have to be clamped down for it to be safely operated.
Also, because these type of pasta makers are completely automated, they are only available in electric models.
There is more to the pasta maker than just the machine itself. You can find a variety of additional attachments and options that allows you to customize your pasta maker. There are hundreds of pasta varieties and these attachments can help you prepare your dough so you can make the desired shape.
We want to point out that the accessories and attachments can also help to make the unit easier to use and more efficient, too. If you want to get the most out of your pasta maker, look for a machine that has the option to use these attachments and accessories.
Not only do you want to consider a machine that has attachments, but you may want to consider accessories apart from the ones that work with the machine.
We are talking about tools that often help make more involved pastas like raviolis or tortellini.
You may even want a pastry wheel that will cut the dough into individual bits of pasta. Also, the pastry wheel can give your pasta that distinctive look.
Speaking of accessories, you can find pasta makers that allow you to add a motor attachment that will turn your manual machine into an automatic roller. This attachment can prove to be quite useful, especially if you have a large family gathering and you promised a delicious pasta dinner.
With all of this talk about fresh pasta, you might be wondering what is the best recipe to use with a pasta maker. In this section, we’re going to talk to you about how to make great pasta dough and how to use your pasta maker.
First thing’s first, we want to let you know that making pasta isn’t hard at all! If you have flour and water (or eggs) in your kitchen right now, you can make pasta right now if you wanted to! With that said, if you were to go online and look up recipes for a simple pasta dough, you’re going to find numerous recipes that are way more complicated than need be.
As you look through these recipes, you’re going to run into three types of flour mentioned: semolina, all-purpose, and finely milled “00” flour that is high in protein.
While most people will reach for the all-purpose flour because that’s what is usually always on hand, serious pasta makers will want to opt for what many consider to be the best pasta flour, the “00” flour.
This flour is going to give you incredibly silky noodles each and every time.
Semolina flour is going to give you a coarser noodle that is going to be great if you have a sauce that you want to cling to the noodle.
Some recipes will call for the use of eggs, water, or a combination of both. The reason why pasta has a noticeable yellow tint to it is because the eggs give you silky noodles, a better flavor, and some color.
You could use egg whites if you want a lighter noodle, but they aren’t going to have much flavor. Using straight water is going to give you watery noodles that have absolutely no flavor.
Here’s a recipe that creates a great pasta dough our family uses most:
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process it until the ingredients come together to form a ball.
2. Take the dough out of the processor and put it on a lightly floured surface. Flatten the dough slightly and then divide it into 4 equal pieces. Wrap the remaining three pieces of dough in plastic wrap and set it aside.
3. Knead the dough through the pasta machine. Set the rollers on the machine to the widest position (either 0 or 1, depending on the model). Feed the flatted dough through the rollers by turning the handle. If your dough crumbles a little bit during the first couple of passes, don’t worry. It will come together after two or three more passes.
4. Lightly flour the strip of dough and then fold it into thirds. You will then want to pass the dough through the roller one more time. Continue to do this up to 10 more times, or at least until the dough has some elasticity to it and it is smooth.
5. Roll the dough out with your machine and reduce the setting each time until the dough is as thin as you want. When you’re satisfied by the thickness, let it rest for about 10 minutes so the dough will dry.
6. When the dough has dried slightly, you will then want to attach the shape and size of the pasta you want to the machine. Roll the pasta through the machine and catch the finished pasta with your free hand as it comes through.
At this point, you dry and store your pasta by hanging it (or twisting it into a nest) for at least three hours. You can store the pasta in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
If you want vegan pasta, you can get away with using just water, but you will want to use the semolina because it will be able to form a dough nicely.
If you want to avoid carbs all together but still love your pasta dishes, you can use a veggie pasta maker.
These devices turn your hard vegetables like potatoes, squash, zucchini, and carrots, and it cuts them into spirals that can then be used to take place of pasta. The veggie pasta gives your dish a unique flavor, but it is healthy!
There are many different types of pasta that you can make with a pasta maker. First off, you have the ribbon noodles that are made by the rollers on the machine. These noodles include:
Then you have extruded noodles that are pushed out of the pasta machine. Examples of these noodles include:
Pastas like tortellini and ravioli start off as a sheet of dough and then you will place the filling on top. Then you will either layer another piece of dough on top and cut it out (for the ravioli). Many times you will use something like a ravioli mold or even an ice cube tray to properly space out the ravioli.
If you want to make tortellini, cut out a circle and place a small portion of filling in the center of the circle. Then fold the dough in half to create a semi-circle.
Then you will seal it with a bit of water. Then fold the semi-circle so that the pointed ends meet, then seal that with water.
Cooking pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make—just boil water and throw the dried pasta in and wait. As simple as this is, cooking fresh pasta is going to be a little more involved. To make that perfect dish of pasta, follow these tips.
1. Use enough water to fill a large pot
1 gallon of water per 1 pound of fresh pasta
Filtered water will give you a better taste.
2. Add salt to taste
½ tsp. per quart of water
Sea salt is going to enhance the taste better than table salt.
3. Add oil
1 teaspoon per quart of water
Oil is going to help prevent the fresh pasta from sticking together.
4. Cover the pot with a lid and wait for the water to boil while on high heat.
Covering the pot is going to raise the temperature while reducing the amount of time it will take for the water to boil
5. Add fresh pasta and stir to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together.
Stirring the pasta with a wooden spoon will prevent the pasta from sticking together.
6. Wait for pasta to cook
Ø Angel Hair 1.5 minutes
Ø Spaghetti 7 minutes
Ø Tallarini 2 minutes
Ø Linguini 3 minutes
Ø Fettuccini 7 minutes
Ø Pappardelle 5 minutes
Ø Macaroni 5 minutes
Ø Bucatini 5 minutes
Ø Bucatoni 5 minutes
Ø Fusilli 7 minutes
Ø Piccolo Fusilli 7 minutes
Ø Rigatoni 5 minutes
Ø Penne 5 minutes
Ø Tagliatelle 6 minutes
Ø Rotini 5 minutes
Ziti 5 minutes
7. Taste pasta for doneness.
Fresh pasta is done when it is at a texture that you like.
8. Drain pasta in a strainer.
Never rinse cooked pasta because sauce will not stick to it. You
rinse the pasta if it will be used as a salad or if you are going to store it and use it later.
Note: If you’re cooking ravioli or tortellini, you will want to put them in boiling water for about five minutes if they are fresh. If you premade them and they are frozen, it will take an additional minute or two, depending on the size of the tortellini and how many you are cooking at once.
There’s nothing like enjoying a delicious pasta dish while staring into the eyes of your loved on in the comfort of your own home. If ever you wanted to impress someone when you cook for them, you can do that by informing them that you made everything from scratch—even the pasta!
A lot of people are under the impression that making homemade pasta is difficult and it requires a lot of patience, time, and skill.
Yes, it does require a bit of patience, but when you have a pasta maker, that whole process is made so much faster and efficient.
Pasta makers, whether you choose an electric model or a manual device, can make your regular dish so much better than when you use a dried pasta. It may sound crazy, but think about it.
Not only are you putting that extra effort into creating a good pasta dough, but you’re choosing the ingredients you are cooking with. You are making sure there aren’t any chemicals or unsavory ingredients, plus you know everything is fresh!
Some people may not think that a pasta maker is going to be too expensive and it’s more affordable to purchase the dried stuff in the grocery store. There’s no denying that a pasta maker can be an additional cost, but it will more than pay for itself, especially if your family eats pasta a lot.
What are some of your favorite pasta recipes? Leave a comment below and share your pasta dishes, or even recipes to make the pasta itself! If you’re in the market for a new pasta maker, check out our buying guide where we review 5 of the best rated pasta makers!