When we were newlyweds, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Tuscany. We spent hours drinking coffee, eating millefeuille and soaking in the exquisite light and architecture of Florence. And of course, eating the best homemade pasta ever. Followed by ice cream.
So I have a soft spot for Italy. In a different lifetime I studied Italian history, which obviously involved being devoted to authentic Italian food. The ice cream. The cheese. The wine. Have I mentioned the homemade pasta?
Is it really worth it?
What’s the difference, you may ask? Is it worth the effort? Just yes. It’s full of flavor, the texture holds together in the face of boiling water, and it is unbelievably satisfying to put such simple ingredients together and come out with something so tasty.
When you have guests for dinner it does make you just a little bit smug to have actually made that ravioli yourself, from sheets of homemade pasta that you threw together while singing along to Puccini.
And it’s so creative. The list of flavors, shapes and colors of homemade pasta you can create is endless. It’s fun, absorbing and the kind of cooking that is both relaxing and productive.
I hope I’ve persuaded you.
Homemade pasta makers – the main point to consider
Anyway, for those of you considering pasta makers, there are a few points to consider. The most obvious one is hand turned versus electronic.
If you are contemplating regularly making your homemade pasta for a very active Italian cafe, then probably an electric pasta machine is for you.
If your pasta making is likely to be on a less industrial scale, then I wholeheartedly recommend the hand turning kind.
Part of the charm of making your own pasta is feeling at one with Tuscan mamas over the generations. Apron lightly covered in flour, glass of red on the go… Actually turning the handle on the homemade pasta makes it feel, well, homemade.
Importantly, it isn’t actually hard work, and most models of pasta makers come with settings to adjust the thickness of the pasta to suit your recipe.
Of course, there is a price point to be made – manual pasta makers are on whole much more affordable than electric pasta makers.
And aesthetically they are just so much more beautiful. Is that reason enough?
Take a look at this Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine, in black.
It’s actually made in Italy, and it’s full of charm. I’m not usually drawn to black appliances, but this is shiny and classic. It reminds me of a retro typewritter.
It comes with pasta cutters, a hand crank and clamp, and a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose the thickness of your dough from 10 different options.
The Ovente Vintage Stainless Steel Pasta Makers are also stylish. They are sturdy looking machines and also come with hand cranks and adjustable thickness for rolling out your pasta dough. I love the metallic red version, but the simple polished chrome version is classic and will fit better if your kitchen is already colorful.
If you’re looking for an electric pasta maker, this Weston Electric Pasta Machine, Red is gorgeous. I love this upright, curved shape and vintage feel.
This pasta maker has a motor with two speed settings, and also comes with the hand crank, so you have the best of both worlds. There are several settings to make different shaped pasta, and 9 dough thickness settings.
This is a pasta maker on a more industrial scale. It might not have the charm of the Atlas machines, but it makes up for it with power. It has built in cutters for tagliatelle and fettuccine.
If you’re looking for a book to get you started on your homemade pasta journey, or to give as a gift with a pasta maker, then this beautiful book, Mastering Pasta, by Marc Vetri, will be an inspiring read.