Making Homemade Pasta is Easy With a Pasta Machine
You may wonder why you need to make fresh pasta when you can buy many types of dried pastas, in a variety of flavors, in most grocery stores today. Store bought pasta is one of the most convenient foods around, and the dried pasta can be stored in your pantry for a very long time, but fresh pasta has a delicate flavor and texture that makes it worth the extra effort.
With so many fresh pastas available today, why should you make your own?
The main reason I like making homemade pasta is because I can control the ingredients and flavors. Store bought fresh pasta contains preservatives and chemicals that can easily be avoided when you make your own pasta. You are also limited only by your imagination when choosing the flavors of your own pasta. Homemade ravioli is best because you can fill it with anything you want, and you can avoid the high fat meats common in many commercially prepared ravioli. Homemade pasta is not difficult at all to make once you learn how to make the dough and how to cut your fresh pasta into your desired shape. It is even possible to make chocolate pasta!
Do you need a Pasta Machine?
It is quite possible to make homemade pasta dough and simply cut it with a knife on a cutting board, however, a pasta machine will take the work out of some of the kneading and will give your dough a good consistency and uniform thickness. Once you have made your pasta dough, it needs to be rolled out and cut to your desired shape. With the variety of pasta shapes and styles, that task is a bit more demanding than it sounds and a good pasta maker can make the whole task a lot easier and more fun.
Which Pasta Machine is Best?
When shopping for a pasta machine there are a few things you should consider. A basic hand crank machine is not very expensive and has been good enough for centuries. These are fun and not difficult to master but you will be limited to what types of pasta shapes you can make. The most basic machines come with a cutting attachment for linguine and spaghetti. If you move up to a slightly more expensive machine, there are usually additional cutting attachments you can use a few more varieties. Think about what types of pastas you usually make and how much variety you will want from your machine.
Making homemade pasta with an electric pasta machine can be easy because these machines include a greater variety of attachments and will save you the work of rolling the dough through the machine, however, many consider the texture to be inferior to the old fashioned crank machines. They are also a little more expensive but you will easily recoup the investment on any pasta machine since buying fresh pasta is quite expensive.
Another consideration when purchasing a pasta machine is to look for a sturdy model made of stainless steel and is easy to clean. A clean machine is important to prevent the pasta from sticking when rolling and cutting through the machine.
Prices range from about $20 for a basic, hand crank machine to over $100 for an expensive unit with electric motors which provide more ways to roll and slice, and ease-of-use features. Top of the line models, which are often not much more money, incorporate bowls, stirring rods, kneaders and other features to allow making the dough as well. That puts the whole operation together in one unit. Not bad!
Whether you choose to use a pasta machine or just make some dough and roll it out by hand, it will be worth your time and effort to try making homemade pasta fresh in your kitchen. You can add many ingredients and tailor the pasta dough to any specific diet you may have. There are many homemade pasta recipes you can try so let your imagination guide you and have fun making pasta!