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Kitchenware - Pasta Machines

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With the wide variety of fresh and dried pastas available in stores today, pasta machines may not be most people's first thought when thinking about additions to their kitchen. However if you eat pasta regularly, even if it's just once a week, there are some compelling reasons as to why you should think about getting one.

This guide to pasta makers will tell you everything you need to know to understand, choose and use these useful appliances.



What are the Benefits of Using Pasta Makers?

  • Adaptability once you've made the dough, it can be shaped into any type of pasta you require - fettuccine, tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagne - whatever takes your fancy

  • Ability to make smaller quantities which is especially useful when cooking for less than 4 people

  • Healthier due to the shorter time between preparation and cooking, less nutrients are lost

  • Control over ingredients which is especially useful when cooking for people with allergies such as gluten or egg intolerance

  • More choice As well as being able to choose the shape of pasta you want, you can also add extra ingredients for flavour, the usual being spinach or sun-dried tomatoes, but the options are almost limitless. Great for experimenting

  • Shorter cooking time fresh pasta can usually be cooked in less than 4 minutes



What Should I Look for in a Pasta Maker?



To ensure you make full use of these appliances,  below are some things that you should consider before making a purchase.


Maker or Roller ?  There are some machines on the market where you simply place all the ingredients into the machine and it does all the work for you - from mixing to kneading to rolling. For ease of reference, we'll call these makers Whilst these save you some work and manual time, they are usually very expensive, so unless you plan on making pasta every day, it would probably be best to go for a roller. These machines simply process the dough which you have made into the shapes you want


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Electric or Manual  The main difference is the fact that you have two hands free to guide the dough through the rollers. Once again, electric versions are much more expensive, though easier to handle.


Additional features  and attachments Some machines have additional attachments through which the dough is passed to cut the pasta to the appropriate size of pasta. Look for a model which has 6 or more discs allowing you to make a wide variety of shapes e.g. thin spaghetti, regular spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, macaroni and ravioli. Also, look for a model which has a countertop clamp which will stabilise the machine whilst it's being used.

Construction material  If possible, choose stainless steel machines rather than chrome plated steel as they are easier to clean and won’t rust.

Standard Safety Marks, Warranties, Manual    Look for a pasta machine with a recognised safety mark for your particular country (particularly for electric machines) which is a sign that the manufacturer follows the best safety precautions and for a model with at least a 1 year warranty.


Good Reviews   Check cooking magazines and websites to read reviews from other consumers and businesses.


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How much should you spend?


Although prices range from relatively cheap to very expensive, always be guided by what you think you will need based on the above criteria, rather than on price. If you are unsure, it's best to pay a little extra and get more functions. Currently (as at 2008) prices range from as little as £15 for a very basic roller to +£000s for a fully automated electric pasta maker.



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