What To Look For In A Pasta Maker

A pasta maker is a great investment for even the beginning home chef. With modern pasta makers, preparing a custom, gourmet noodle or shell is quick and easy. Over time, pasta makers have also grown quite cheap. No kitchen is complete without one!

Variety

There are a few basic shapes than any pasta maker will make, such as the flat noodles used for lasagna, or the wide noodles used for fettucini. There are some shapes, however, that are only available on higher end models. Buyers might be surprised to know that the ability to make round spaghetti noodles only comes on some of the more deluxe models, although there are deals to be found for the thrifty shopper. Some pasta makers can even cut the shells required to make ravioli. A common accessory for pasta makers is a stamp or mold to get star, round, or square shapes from your sheets of pasta, so watch for pasta makers that come with these accessories if you’d like to make a variety of shapes.

Pasta Maker Attachments

A useful tool in any kitchen is an electric bowl mixer, and there are a variety of pasta makers that are available as attachments to these devices. Buying a pasta maker attachment lets those buyers who already own a bowl mixer to save a little money, and those who don’t already own an electric bowl mixer get a great opportunity to save some money by making a smart purchase with multiple uses. An electric bowl mixer is a great tool when you’re preparing the pasta dough. Most dough requires kneading, which can be difficult for people with arthritis or for people making large batches whose hands might get tired.

Stainless steel: durable and cost efficient

There are a variety of materials that pasta makers can be made from. The cheapest ones are made of plastic. While you might not be afraid to break a plastic pasta maker, you’ll find yourself replacing it reasonably often. There are also ones made from soft metals like aluminum. These are somewhat more durable than the plastic ones, but are still by no means a long term investment.

The best durability, and the best bang for your buck, are found in the stainless steel models. Stainless steel offers durability as well as a better look than the plastic or aluminum models. So if you’re looking for something cheap that you can get your feet wet with, a plastic pasta maker is a great first purchase. If you’re a little more serious about making pasta, or if you want a maker that take you from pasta beginner to Italian expert, a stainless steel machine is without a doubt the best way to go.

Hand crank versus electric pasta makers

Pasta makers can’t do it all themselves. They still need help pulling the dough through the gears. Most home pasta makers have a crank on the side so that the user can help the dough along.

Some of the more premium models come with a small electric motor built in to turn that crank for you, helpful if you plan on making large batches for family get-togethers or to freeze for another time. Another way to get a pasta maker that you don’t have to crank is to buy one of the mixing bowl attachments, which will also pull the dough through for you. For the beginning user, an electric one is a great choice because it lets you concentrate on other aspects of making the dough. Perfectionists might be more interested in the hand crank models, however, as they allow the most control over the quality of the dough. If you’re serious about making pasta, just as stainless steel is the best choice for material, a hand crank is the best choice of drive mechanism.

What ingredients will you need for your dough?

A common question of the first time pasta maker is how to make the dough. There are so many varieties and styles that picking a good first dough to make can be an impossible task. Luckily, you can buy pasta machines that come with instructions on how to make the dough yourself. Some of them even come with pre-measured dough mixes so your first tries are easy and enjoyable. Many manufacturers of pasta makers will also want to sell you dough mixes. While these can be a great value when you first get started, over time as you learn what you’re doing you’ll find that the extra guidance they provide is less and less necessary. Within a few batches, you’ll be making your own dough from the ingredients you have in your own pantry!

Beware accessories!

The best pasta makers offer plenty of accessories, such as stamps to help you get great shapes and cutters to help you get even, uniform pasta. Be careful because a lot of pasta makers of lesser quality will try to appear as if of higher quality by coming with a lot of different attachments. You can normally tell these apart by the material they’re made of. The less expensive ones might be a stainless steel pasta maker with plastic attachments. For the best experience, getting a stainless steel pasta maker with stainless steel accessories is imperative.

What can I use all that pasta for?

A pasta maker ensures that the residents of your home will always have easy access to great tasting homemade pasta. Many home cooks find themselves at a loss as to what to use all that pasta for, however. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your pasta! Different kinds of meats and sauces are a great way to experiment. Another way is by making pasta a dessert item as well as an entrée. Putting chocolate and whipped cream over some warm pasta is a sure hit, or try deep frying your pasta for a crispy, tasty treat.

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