The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pasta Machines

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Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Pasta Machines

Can anyone recommend a good basic, sturdy pasta machine?  I've looked at the Pro Cucina, the Marcata Atlas and also the Imperia. They all seem reasonably priced and adequate, but I was wondering if anyone could talk about their personal experience with any of these machines to help me decide which to buy.  Alternately, I will be in Italy in a few months and am wondering whether I should wait and see what is available there. I greatly appreciate any help.  Thanks in advance.


Barbara  

Crider's picture
Crider

Years ago, I had a different brand (I forgot which) and it wasn't precision enough -- the rollers gave an uneven sheet of dough. I think the ravioli attachment doesn't work very well. 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

machine with a hand crank that my parents bought for me in Italy some 25 years ago.  In all honesty I don't use it more than a couple of times a year, at the most. 


It is somewhat difficult in that it is hard to find a good spot in my kitchen to fasten it down.  It uses a "C" clamp arrangement for holding it in place that is not well suited to tile counters.  I end up stacking up cutting boards, etc., to make a place to use it, and my wife holds things steady.  Not the best situation or recommendation, but, there it is.


As for the pasta, it works fine for flat noodles but does not do other things at all.  I've used it to make spagetti, linguini, fettucini and ravioli with good results.  For ravioli though, you must press and cut by hand as it only turns out the flat sheets required.  It does have noodle cutters from narrow to wide though.  


I used it a lot in the past when I had counters better suited.  If I could provide a better fastening/workstation for it now I would use it more, but as it is, it is hard to get excited about making home made pasta.


Good luck with your search
OldWoodenSpoon

Justkneadit's picture
Justkneadit

I recently watched an episode of "Good Eats", an Alton Brown show, on homemade pasta. The roller he was using also used a clamp to fasten, so he set it up on an ironing board and just bought a cheap cover to go over the ironing board, Maybe that will help.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have tile counters, so I attach the pasta machine to a thick, heavy cutting board. I'm happy with it.


If you buy one abroad, just make sure it's a make for which attachments are readily available in the US. 


David

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I have the Marcato Atlas 150 and all l can tell you about it is that I have found nothing to complain about.  It works as advertised.  My counters are Corian so I use it in much the same fashion as dmsnyder described.


To be honest, of the brands you listed (I believe Pro Cuccina and Imperia are members of the same product line) I haven't found much difference between any of them in their price range.


dmsnyder's advice "make sure it's a make for which attachments are readily available in the US." is well placed.

FlyinAggie's picture
FlyinAggie

I used a Marcato Atlas for over 40 years.  I made one mistake in putting the main roller unit in the dishwasher and it is now frozen.  It cannot be repaired and I have to buy a new one says a member of the Marcato family who answered my email.  I can still roll out my dough by hand, though, then use the cutters on it so at my age, nearly 70, I think I'll just respect the old Atlas' retirement.  Follow instructions - NEVER, ever, ever, put it in a dishwasher.  Just brush it out; when the dough bits dry they are easy to remove.


 


 

pdiff's picture
pdiff

I've had an Atlas for many years, but I now seldom use it anymore. Like others here, I found it can be cumbersome to set up. I've found it easier to hand roll large sheets and then cut the width desired from those, so my pasta "machine" now is a 3' long, 1.5" thick dowel :-). Youtube has some good videos of the techniques if you are interested. Ravioli is easy enough to make from the sheets with a bit of practice. Still, when set up, the Atlas works well. I've never had a chance to try the other brands. Unless you want to use a machine in Italy, I'm not sure getting one there will be worth it. The conversion rates and weight of carrying it around would probably negate any advantages. Since you have some time there, however, you should seriously consider enrolling in a pasta making course if possible. Nothing like getting instruction at the source :-). In any case, enjoy Italy. It is a phenomenal place and state of mind!!

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

The last time I was in Italy we had dinner at an old farm house where an older lady who appeared to be in her 70s or possibly older came out of the kitchen to prepare our pasta as we watched.  She used a long, thin rolling pin and stretched that dough out to a thickness you could see through, then proceeded to chop the noodles with blazing swiftness and accuracy.  After she was done we all applauded, and she appeared a bit baffled by that.  She told us this is something she has been doing every day of her life from the time she was a little girl.  It was truly inspirational to watch, and the pasta, needless to say, was sublime.   

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

...after about 30 years of fairly regular use. As others mention, the ravioli maker is junk and impossible to use. I have an angel hair attachment for it but have found that the standard attachment works as well for angel hair pasta if you roll the dough very thin. For flat pasta, it can't be beat.


I generally make egg pasta and years ago an excellent Italian cook gave me his basic recipe for egg pasta - 4 oz flour for each USA "large" egg. Make sure your eggs are room temperature before you make the dough. This makes a very stiff dough but you can roll the pasta into sheets and then cut it without having a waiting period between the two steps. If you're making whole wheat egg pasta dough, you need a little less flour per egg.


Egg pasta dough freezes very well. I often make a large batch and use some of the kneaded dough immediately and freeze the rest in appropriate size packages. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator.


Best of luck with whatever you purchase.


 

tempe's picture
tempe

I have the Marcata Atlas, and cannot speak highly enough of it.  It is very durable and sturdy in comparison with the cheaper lines available, mind you I am in Australia and the cheaper models I refer to are usually no names or never heard of names.  I only ever brush it out with a clean brush that I have especially for it, it never needs washing.  I have had it about ten years.  I don't know the other names you have mentioned.  Maybe you may want to check out those available in Italy, bit like another TFLer mentioned make sure you can get part in your country if you want to add to it.  Apparently you can get a motor for them as well as other attachments.  Hope this is of some help, tempe

Donna from The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide's picture
Donna from The ...

Dear Barbara

I live in Italy and make fresh pasta at home at least four times a week: my pasta machine is the Atlas 150 Wellness and I cannot fault it. It is sturdy and easy to use: in fact my 5 year old daughter mixes the dough - I just need to knead it a little more - and then we take it in turns to roll and cut the pasta.

My Italian family either have the Atlas 150 or the Ampia - both made in Italy by Marcato. The only difference between the Ampia - which costs less - is that the cutters are interchangeable (really easily) with the Atlas, but are integral to the machine with the Ampia. So the Atlas gives you much more future choice. All of the cutter attachments made by Marcato fit the Atlas and there are 15 of them if you seriously get hooked. Most can be purchased via Amazon.com

Marcato now make the gorgeous new coloured Atlas 150 Wellness machines and although they are selling at silly prices in the States and UK - around $100 and upwards -  you can get them here for under Euros 30.

To be honest, depending on where you are thinking of shopping in Italy, you won't usually find a great deal of choice in one shop. They will either stock a few of the Imperia range - another really good choice which a lot of my friends have either inherited from their mums or had for years -  or the Marcato Atlas and Ampia. Prices will vary considerably.

If you are going to be staying with someone who lives in Italy or are willing to ask your accommodation host to help you, the best prices are to be found on the internet with the Italian online shopping comparison sites - try www.twenga.it - or the manufacturers direct. For example, the coloured Atlas can be purchased direct from Marcato for Euros 58 plus Euros 10 for courier delivery. Any colour but red. The non-coloured original chrome Atlas 150 at Euros 38 plus delivery.

On www.bow.it you can find the red - rossa - Atlas 150 machine at Euros 29 plus Euros 9.90 for TNT courier delivery. Which is the cheapest price anywhere. Trust me I have just brought one! You only need an Italian address and fiscale codice - which is a personal tax type of code which you have to give over to any shop when you purchase a mobile phone etc. You could pay by PayPal from the USA and have it sent to the Italian address, invoice to you.

As on Amazon.com the prices for the other six colours vary a lot.

Boxed, the Atlas machine only weighs a little more than 2 kg and dimensions are 21.2 cm by 20.5 cm by 16 cm. Although easily hand luggage, be aware that it may be considered a dangerous weapon - I am serious! -  the clamp and handle or cutter unit can be thrown etc. (The world we live in today...) So hold luggage would be best.


Hope that that helps and that you have a great time in Italy.


http://www.best-pasta-machine-and-maker-guide.com/atlas-150-pasta-maker.html


Donna


PS No I am not an Atlas rep!

pdiff's picture
pdiff

Wow!  30 Euros.  That's a great price compared to US.

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

At today's exchange rate, that's a little over $40.00.  That is a good price! These are for the pretty colored ones?  I found some at my local Italian market for $90.00.  I think the plain metalic ones were around $20 cheaper. I wish there weren't so many issues with transporting these machines home. I imagine the overseas shipping charges would probably cancel out any savings.  

Donna from The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide's picture
Donna from The ...

Dear Barbara


Yes, the the Euros 29 I paid online - plus Euros 9.90 for delivery - with bow.it was for a gorgeous red one. The other colours vary in price. But at most I wouldn't have had to have paid more than Euros 51 plus Euros 10 for delivery direct from Marcato for any of the colours except red - for some reason they don't have that one listed in their online shopping section. Strange, but there are much stranger oddities when you live in Italy! The Marcato shopping page is http://www.marcato.net/catalog/index.php


Prices in the shops here are much higher.


I don't know about import issues into the States, but this page will give you the Italian postal service prices for a package of 2.5 kilos (mine weighed under that enclosed in a second protective cardboard box).


http://www.poste.it/online/paccocelerein/application/privati/index.html


I have started it off at Washington DC, but you can change that in the "Selezionare una località" in Section 2. The Washington DC price is just over Euros 52, which in total will take you well over the $100 USD cost.


I couldn't find an international option on the Italian shopping sites.


Then, of course, there is the complication if it arrives damaged or you need to return it long distance.


But would there really be a problem if you packed one in your hold luggage?


Goodnight


Donna


 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Thanks to everyone for your valuable input; you've helped me make up my mind.  


Donna, I was leaning towards the Marcata Atlas anyway, as it's the only product that addresses the issue of metal residue in the pasta dough.  And I must admit I'm wooed by the colors!


I too make homemade pasta a lot and love to roll it out using a 40-inch pin.  But sometimes time and space is an issue, and I've been looking more seriously at the machines.


Based on what I've read here it would seem that buying one here in the States would be safer (not wanting to give the TSA any reason to confiscate my purchase!) Besides that, as David pointed out, is the availability of add-ons for future use.


So thank you again everyone, for offering your advice and opinions, and Happy New Year to you all.


Barbara


 

CaptainCupcake's picture
CaptainCupcake

I have an Al Dente by Villa Ware.  I think I got it on Amazon.  It came with 3 different attachments.  Each attachment making 2 different kinds of pasta.  The main part clamps to the counter.  I paid under $50 for it.





Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Donna, thank you so much for going to all this trouble for me.  I really appreciate all your tips and links.  I will look at the various options you've suggested before deciding where to buy, but I think I have more or less decided on the Atlas. 

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Great information! I've been kicking around the idea of getting a pasta machine and this post pushed me over the edge :)


I just ordered the atlas from amazon.ca ($67 + free shipping). I'm pretty sure it's the wellness - I've emailed them to be sure.  The red was beautiful but I saved a few dollars going with the stainless. My question, do I need a spaghetti attachment? It seems to come with 1,5 mm or 6,0 mm blades - I'm hoping it's all I need.


 

mredwood's picture
mredwood

I too have an atlas or two or three. Sturdy they are and all work. Except the ravoli attachment. Next time I use it I will make only a flat sheet dot with filling and add another flat sheet on top. Parts are interchangeable with other pasta machines sometimes. The best thing is that the atlas, mercato are frequently seen at 2nd hand stores. Great for parts and pieces. For a dollar or two you can find different size noodle attachments or an extra handle or ??. For that you can't pay the postage no matter how inexpensively you can find the part. Have fun. Remember pasta machines are great for rolling out crackers to a uniform size. 


Mariah

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

I have both the Imperia for many years and bought Marcato Atlas about 4 years ago with a motor. They both work very well and have never had a problem with either.  I love the Mercato with motor as I very often make fresh pasta, I found that the motor really made it easier. I although I often make fresh pasta, now I make it all the time.


Absolutely never wash it. I dust it off completely after using it. I've never had to oil either machine.  I bought mine in Italy and have never had to buy extra tools or cutters for it.


I also use it for making certain types of cookies such as cenci or cluster cookies. Anything really that has to be rolled out into a uniform size.


 


Have fun making your own fresh pasta!


Patricia

greydoodles's picture
greydoodles

After doing a little research, I bought the Marcato Atlas 150 and love it. Also read good things about the Imperia. Be wary of the cheaper machines.


There are a number of videos on YouTube about making the dough and using a pasta machine. Do searches there for "pasta dough" and "pasta machine".


Agree on not washing the machine. Instant rust. Just dust the flour off. If dough gets into the rollers, it's easy enough to get off, and use more flour next time.

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on this to help me with my decision.  I feel like I got very good advice.  I used my Mercata 150 Wellness machine for the first time today, and I couldn't be more pleased.  It feels sturdy and well-made, the rollers cut all the way through, and the cleanup was nothing at all.  I'm very happy!  Tagliatelli with Bolognese sauce tonight to celebrate.

Donna from The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide's picture
Donna from The ...

Dear Barbara


I am so pleased you like your new Atlas 150: having recommended it, I would have felt culpable if you had gone and brought one and didn't like it all when you got it home.


After three days of fever and flu in the family, I'm going to be using mine in a moment to make a simple broccoli and cheese cannelloni al forno - without the fuss of a bechamel sauce  - to tempt my families taste buds back into eating again. There is so much you can do with a simple sheet of homemade pasta dough...  (I'll add the recipe to my website when I get a chance.)


With kind regards


Donna

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Donna,


I so much appreciate all the information you provided; you really went out of your way to help and I am very grateful.  I ended up getting the pretty "ice blue" color, and I was so excited last night I had a hard time sleeping, just knowing that machine was sitting there waiting to be used.  And use it I will!!


I hope you and the family are recovering.  The holidays are no time to be sick -- not that there is any good time.  But homemade pasta (and bread) might just surpass chicken soup as the recommended panacea.


Best,


Barbara 

Donna from The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide's picture
Donna from The ...

Ti prego Barbara, you are very welcome.


I have to admit that I too was so excited when my box arrived by courier a while ago and I saw our new little red machine inside! I'm a grown adult after all! My little girl and I had decided on pink - her favourite colour - but I couldn't justify the additional expense, so we settled on the red and it is gorgeous! (Anyone reading this will think I am mad!) Mine works like a dream too.


Thank you for your kind words: we are on the mend now.


Lovely to have "met you". Wishing you a wonderful time making pasta.


Best wishes


Donna

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Donna, when you get a chance, could you post the link for your website?  Unless you already have and I'm not seeing it. I'd love to see some of your recipes.


Thanks,


Barbara (Nice meeting you, too! Welcome to the Forum.)


 

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

I second the request for the website! Having caught the 'pasta bug' from this thread I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my machine. In the meantime I've been scouring the net for recipes and am surprised to see so many recipes using just flour and water - here I thought semolina was necessary?


As luck would have it, out of the 3 things I ordered, the pasta machine is still on backorder ..I do have a nice ravioli press and pasta drying rack though :)

greydoodles's picture
greydoodles

In case one rack would not be enough, I purchased two. They are the ones with radiating arms on a post, and stored in their boxes, they take up very little space. Sometimes I just dry the pasta a little in a floured jelly-roll pan. It all depends on the amount made.


Semolina is not necessary, though bread flour is nice.


Sometimes I think the noodles made are not as important as the fun in playing with the pasta machine.

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Jackie,


I watched a video one time on pasta making that said that you could make pasta with semolina and water alone (and some salt) because semolina apparently had enough protein in it to stand up to boiling water without the pasta disintegrating, but that regular all-purpose flour needed the addition of eggs as a binder or the pasta would not hold together during cooking. I can't vouch for this personally, but maybe someone else can weigh in.


I generally use a combination of all-purpose and semolina flour (about 2 cups worth) then add 2 eggs, a little salt, and either water or olive oil until I get the right consistency.  I know this is a little vague because I don't use a standardized recipe, but I'm certainly not adverse to trying one!   I like making it by hand so that I can feel when the dough is right but when I'm in a hurry, the food processor does a good job.


Barbara  


 

Crider's picture
Crider

My rule is to use eggs in fresh pasta and if I'm going to make dry pasta, then I can go without eggs. Fresh pasta without eggs are too soft for me. Chinese pasta is made without eggs, and to me fresh Chinese noodles seem very soft. Once I made ravoli from scratch and my guests had requested I use Egg Beaters instead of whole eggs. Egg Beaters are made from only the whites of eggs. They turned out very firm! I kept them in the boiling water, but they never softened up enough. Strange!


I figure the reason for being able to make al dente noodles out of dried eggless pasta has to do with starch gelatinization, though I don't understand how that works. I try to make my dough with a low enough hydration so that I don't have to flour it. It seems floured dough gives rise to a slimy surface when it is boiled either from fresh or dried.


I find it is quite odd that Chinese pulled noodles are made from a low-gluten flour. An American software engineer reverse-engineered a recipe for hand-pulled noodles that uses 156g of cake flour and only 25g all-purpose flour!


I think all it would take is a couple of years of daily practice and I could learn to make hand-pulled noodles and graduate from my pasta machine. [kidding!]


 

Donna from The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide's picture
Donna from The ...

Dear Barbara

My website is called The Best Pasta Machine and Maker Guide - http://www.best-pasta-machine-and-maker-guide.com

but, it is only a few weeks old! I am adding pages as fast as I can (- I am a work at home mum.) I have all of the pasta machines and makers I have researched to write about, but also a great collection of Italian pasta and pasta dishes to share that my Italian family have taught me - I'm a UK girl who fell in love with an Italian! A Florentine to be precise. So most of the recipes I will be adding are traditional humble, but delicious, Tuscan, with a few from further afield in Italy. You won't need many ingredients, just fresh ones.

In the meantime, I wanted to say that, YES, you can make pasta with "semola di grano duro" flour - semolina - without eggs: in fact all of the usual "pasta ascuitta" - dried pasta - in Italy is just that.

But, if you are making fresh pasta at home, I REALLY would recommend making it with eggs so that you can experience the difference in taste and texture. For us, that is what fresh pasta at home is all about... It hold sauces differently, is sublime with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated pepper, and a grating of parmigiano cheese... Or, as my husband would always prepare if he could, the trinity of "aglio, olio and pepperocino": garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chilli heated in a pan, to which the cooked - al dente of course  - pasta is added. He could eat that every day and has for breakfast before I met him!!

Anyway, until I get my pages written, here are two pasta dough recipes that I use with "semola di grano duro". Hope they help.

300 g farina 00  - strong plain white flour (pastry flour in the USA)
100 g semola di grano duro
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt


------------------------


200 g strong plain white flour
100g semola di grano duro
3 eggs
pinch of salt

PS If you are watching your salt intake, don't worry about the salt: the basic pasta dough recipe that I always use and adapt never has salt - and many of my Italian friends would never think of adding it to the pasta dough - the water, yes, but that is another story... - so don't think it won't be authentic Italian dough if you don't. (I never do!).


Goodnight


Donna

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I'll be checking back to your website, for sure.  Meantime, thanks for the recipes, Donna. 


I definitely agree with you about the eggs.  I think that's what sets homemade pasta apart from the dry stuff.  It's a whole different texture that my family and I have come to love.  There is a delicacy and tenderness to egg-based pasta that sets it apart.  Not that we would ever do without packaged pasta, because we enjoy that, too, but it's really nice to have the choice. 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Almost surreal!

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Until Donna's site is up and running I came across this site for anyone looking for fillings for these wonderful new pasta machines!


http://www.e-rcps.com/pasta/rcp/index.shtml


I made my first ravioli and spaghetti and am very surprised at how easy it was - and darned if it doesn't taste GREAT :)


I made my dough in my food processor,


200 grams AP flour, 50 grams duram semolina mix 10 seconds, then add eggs (2 eggs in a cup with water to bring up to 1/2 cup)..add slowly to the processor for about 20 seconds. I gave the egg measuring cup a swish of water and added that to the processor. Gave the resulting dough a squeeze and it felt like play dough - so all was good.


Made ravioli with 1 cooked sweet potato, egg yolk, 2 Tbsp chopped prosciutto and about 1/2 cup frest ground parmesian (note that every site I read said to be sure to use fresh ground parmesian and I have to agree it makes the world of difference over the preground) salt, pepper and couple of shakes of nutmeg. Topped with a low fat alfredo sauce.


Hope this helps anyone else just starting out with the fresh pasta!


 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I've been looking for a good cavatelli recipe but haven't been able to come up with one.  If anyone has one to share, I'd be grateful.

jemiljan's picture
jemiljan

Just curious. I've moved to Cairo, and one shop that I knew sold the Atlas no longer does.  I did find an Imperia machine though, at a reasonable price.  (about US$32).  It has no attachments.  Can I bring my attachments from the US and use it on this machine?  I'd love to find a 220v motor for it.

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

Is it worth getting the motor for the Atlas 150.  I don't have the proper counter to attach with a clamp, plus I have arthritis in my right arm so thought a motorized version would be better for me. 

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

I bought the motor for the Imperia machine recently and one of the great side benefits it that I can now do the pasta making anywhere without having to  clamp it down.  I've been making pasta a good deal more often since I got the motor.

As to a rack for drying noodles, I use a folding wooden laundry rack.  It provides plenty of room.

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

for your input.  I'll get the motorized.

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

I've been playing about with homemade pasta for the last month - and I'm amazed at just how easy it is! I was toying with the idea of getting a machine - but I won't bother now.

I even had my 9-year-old granddaughter making it when she stayed with us last week - check out the pics here:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/homemade-vegan-pasta.html

The secret is, it seems to me, plenty of patience - and flour - when rolling out the dough. 

I've since found out that the recipe and technique I've been using is almost exactly the same as that used in making strudel - so that's my next project.

Cheers, Paul

gerhard's picture
gerhard

We have the Kitchen Aid attachment and it works  really well, Lasagna made with homemade pasta is worth the effort.

Gerhard