For most of us, a trip to the supermarket is rarely complete without bagging a packet or two of dried pasta, but homemade pasta made with a good pasta maker has a texture and flavour that is truly unique. Whipping up your own spaghetti, tagliatelle or lasagne sheets needn’t be an involved process that takes hours on end though, as the best pasta makers will do most of the hard work for you.
Our favourite recommended pasta machines can roll your dough into thin sheets, stretch it, and if you’re making linguine or any of the variants, also cut it to size. Pasta extruders can even mix and knead the dough for you and if you don’t think you have time to do all this before dinner, fear not. Fresh pasta can be stored in the fridge for two or three days or even frozen for up to three months.
Scroll on and you’ll find our handy buying guide, showing you what to look for when choosing a pasta maker. Further down, you’ll also find a list of our recommended pasta machines to buy.
How to choose the best pasta maker for you
What types of pasta makers are there?
Pasta extruders mix and knead the dough, then extrude it through dies that create the pasta shapes – anything from rigatoni to spiral pasta. The electric machines can’t make wide pasta, however. So if you want, say, sheets for lasagne then you’ll need to roll it out by hand or use a pasta rolling machine.
Manual rolling machines don’t prepare the dough for you, but you feed already-made dough through rollers to make it smooth and silky before turning it into pretty much any flat shape you’d like. These include flat sheets for lasagne, squares for ravioli, thin strips for spaghetti, thicker ones for tagliatelle and fettuccine, and so on. They can’t create hollow or elaborate shapes, however.
Electric rolling machines do the same as the manual machines, but instead of using a hand-crank, a motorised attachment does the work for you.
READ NEXT: The best bread makers you can buy
Why do I need a pasta maker?
A pasta extruder takes all the hard work out of making pasta dough. A pasta-rolling machine will flatten your pasta dough evenly and to a precise thickness that’s almost impossible to achieve by any other means.
What features should I look for?
For rolling machines:
- A good range of thickness settings
- Different attachments for different kinds of pasta
- A clamp to fix it to your kitchen table or worksurface
- Smooth action
- Easy to clean
- Easy to set up, with clear instructions
- Quick to create pasta dough from scratch
- Easy to store, if you’re short on storage space
- Ability to experiment with different flavours
- Easy to clean
Is it easy to make homemade pasta?
Once you’ve got the knack, yes, but getting the right consistency may take a few attempts. Your first few goes may result in a crumbly mixture that won’t hold its shape. But persevere – you will get there. Don’t be tempted to blame the pasta maker, though: it can’t do its job unless the consistency of the dough is right.
The best pasta makers you can buy
1. ProCook Pasta Maker: Best budget pasta maker
Price: £29 | Buy now from ProCook
Most cheap pasta makers are okay for your basic tagliatelle but struggle to achieve that super-thin sheet needed for delicate, angel hair pasta or super-light ravioli. Procook’s affordable classic pasta machine is an exception to this rule. It has an attachment for cutting spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle and pappardelle, as well as eight thickness settings. On its thinnest, it produces incredibly thin sheets of pasta that are an even thickness throughout and as light as air.
As is the case with many cheap manual machines, both the hand crank and clamp could do with some improvement as they felt fairly unstable during use. This got easier after a bit of practice but it’s a design flaw you won’t be able to avoid unless you’re willing to spend a bit more. All in all though, this is a solid budget machine.
Key specs – Dimensions: 19.5x 12.8 x 22cm (WDH); Type: manual pasta maker; Number of thicknesses: 8; Warranty: 12 months
2. Imperia Pasta Machine: The best pasta maker you can buy
Price: £77 | Buy now from Amazon
This Italian brand comes up trumps with this enormously popular machine that clamps easily to the side of your worktop, freeing your hands for feeding the dough through the rollers. The chrome-plated steel machine is beautifully engineered and built to last, with six thicknesses and all the usual suspects when it comes to cutters, including tagliatelle and fettuccini. We couldn’t believe how simple it was to use, even on the first go. In fact, we kept coming back to it when testing other machines, wondering why on earth they couldn’t be as good. It’s a cinch to clean, too – although be sure not to immerse it in water; it’s wipe-clean only. The only downside is that the guiding tray can be knocked out of place quite easily.
Key specs – Dimensions: 12 x 20.5 x 12cm; Type: manual rolling machine; Number of thicknesses: 6; Warranty: 5 years
£76.99 Buy now Go to Source