Fresh pasta is very different from dry pasta, but making it completely by hand can be difficult and time consuming. A hand-cranked pasta machine flattens the dough evenly and to a precise thickness, which is difficult to do with a rolling pin. The flat sheets of pasta can then be used to make filled pasta like ravioli, it can be left as-is for lasagna, or it can be cut into thick or thin strips by hand.
Many pasta machines also include cutters for turning the sheets into spaghetti or thicker... strips like fettuccini. Additional cutters, as well as ravioli makers, are available for many models. The cutters on hand-cranked machines can produce flat shapes, but you can’t make hollow shapes like rigatoni or other fancy shapes.
Electric pasta machines make the process even easier, since they mix and knead the dough for you. Then they extrude the pasta dough through dies that create shapes like spaghetti, rigatoni, or even spiral pasta. Because the dies are small, they can’t make very wide pastas, but if you’re looking for large sheets, you can use the machine for mixing and kneading, then roll it out by hand.
No matter which pasta maker you choose, it takes some trial and error to get the perfect consistency for pasta that holds together without crumbling, but is dense enough to hold its shape. Many complaints about pasta makers are because the dough isn’t quite right for the machine being used.
01 of 07
This pasta machine includes a wide variety of cutters at an affordable price, so it’s great for people who want to learn how to make pasta at home, but who won’t use it every single day. The included attachments make spaghetti, fettuccine, angel hair, ravioli and lasagnette.
The exterior of the machine can be wiped clean, but the cutters should not be immersed in water. After using, any adhered pasta dough can be left to dry and simply brushed out of the nooks and crannies of the cutters. The... handle is removable for more compact storage.
On smooth surfaces, the machine can tend to slide in use, and because of the handle position, it needs to be used near the edge of a counter.
02 of 07
This Italian-made stainless steel pasta machine is made by a company that has been making pasta machines for generations, and it’s built to last a lifetime. The included dual-side cutter can make spaghetti or fettucine, but a dozen more accessories are available for machine thin or thick shapes, or even ravioli. A pasta drive motor is also available, so you can turn the hand-cranked machine into a self-powered one.
The exterior of the machine can be wiped clean, but the cutters should not be... immersed in water. After using, any adhered pasta dough can be left to dry and simply brushed out of the nooks and crannies of the cutters. The handle is removable for more compact storage.
If you want a splash of color in your kitchen, this machine comes in eight different colors, along with the traditional silver. The rollers are designed to make a rough-surfaced pasta that holds onto sauce better, as opposed to a slick, smooth pasta, and you can choose from 10 different pasta thicknesses.
03 of 07
If you’re not sure you want to spend money making pasta that is – let’s face it – cheap to buy, this budget machine can get you started at a low cost. Besides making flat sheets, it has cutters for making fettuccine and spaghetti.
The product description says that cutters can be washed in the dishwasher, but instructions included with the unit say that the cutters should not be immersed in water, which is typical of these machines. After using, any adhered pasta dough can be left to dry and... simply brushed out of the nooks and crannies of the cutters. The handle is removable for more compact storage.
The machine can be temporarily mounted to a counter with the included clamp, but it might not fit thicker countertops. Larger clamps are available at hardware stores, however.
04 of 07
If you want homemade pasta with as little fuss as possible, this machine will do it all for you – you just need to add ingredients, and cut the pasta into usable lengths as it comes out of the machine about 15 minutes later.
The machine mixes and kneads the dough, then extrudes it through one of the included dies. The included dies make spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, and lasagna. Other dies might be available in the future.
This has an automatic shutoff when the process is done, and the shaft is... detachable for easy cleaning. An LED display shows the progress. Cleaning tools to fit each die are included for easily removing bits of dough, along with a measuring cup, recipe booklet.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Pasta making couldn’t be faster. This machines mixes, kneads, and extrudes shaped pasta in about five minutes. It includes six different dies, so you can use this machine for making angel hair, spaghetti, linguini, fettuccine, flat sheets for ravioli, and hollow tubes for penne or macaroni. If you want even larger sheets, just remove the dough after kneading and roll it out as needed.
The mixing bowl is removable for easy cleaning, and there’s a built-in compartment for storing the dies neatly.... This is an electric machine at a budget price, so there’s a lot more plastic involved. The mixing, kneading, and extruding parts can all be immersed in water for cleaning.
06 of 07
If you’ve moved beyond making basic flat shapes pastas and hollow noodles, it might be time to make special shapes, like cavatelli. This quirky pasta maker is made from aluminum and has a built-in clamp that secures it to countertops. To make cavatelli, you simply feed strips of dough into the top and the machine spits out formed cavatelli with deep ridges that hold onto sauces.
While cavatelli are fun to make and eat, this pasta maker is a one-trick pony. It would be a great addition to your... collection of pasta making tools, but it might not be the best choice for your first machine.
This includes instructions and Fante's family recipes. It can be hand washed in warm, soapy water, but like other pasta machines, you can also brush the machine after letting the bits of pasta dry.
07 of 07
If you already own a KitchenAid stand mixer, this set will turn your machine into a powered pasta machine, and of course you can use your stand mixer for making the dough.
The wide roller is used for flattening pasta sheets that can be used as-is for ravioli or lasagna, or for cutting shapes by hand. The flat roller is also used for flattening the dough prior to using one of the other included cutters for spaghetti or fettuccine. The set also includes a brush for cleaning the roller and cutters.
At...taching the roller or cutters to the machine is a little less convenient than the same process on a hand-crank machine, but it’s much more convenient to be able to feed the pasta with one hand and catch with the other while the machine does the “cranking” for you.
The roller and cutters should not be immersed in water. After using, any adhered pasta dough can be left to dry and simply brushed out of the nooks and crannies of the cutters.
Other cutters, as well as a ravioli attachment, are available separately.
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