pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
The KitchenAid pasta roller works great, but you also need a cutter attachment too depending on what type of pasta you are working on. They make an extruder too but I haven't tried that. The tricky thing with KitchenAid is that you have to switch between the roller and the cutter fairly quickly, as in roll the pasta and then switch and cut it to form. unlike a hand cranked dedicated pasta maker where you can have both attachments anchored at the same time.
I'd get the kitchen aid.
I have a roller one and the first thing you want after using it a few times is a motor and it gets old 'really fast' cranking the thing. The motors run about 100 bucks. Atlas and Pasta Queen are the best brands for the crank (with optional motor attachment) machines.
Plus the kitchenaid has the advantage of not have to use the C Clamp..to hold it down.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
If the price differential is as big as you say, you're just making pasta for your family, and the roller is an Atlas or equivalent, I'd go with it. It'll last forever, and the cranking part never bothered me. The c-clamp is indeed a nuisance, but so is taking out the entire Kitchen Aid. I would absolutely not go with an extruder. I haven't used one in years but I never felt I achieved the dough consistency I was looking for.
Thanks! I 've never made pasta. I am am experienced cook, and I understand the general idea of pasta-making, but am ignorant of the equipment, etc. Last night I had homemade pappardelle and it was sooo good I have to learn how to make it myself! Any advice is greatly appreciated.
You'll enjoy it, Stephanie G. It's really simple once you get a feel for the dough. A couple of keys that I've noticed rookies neglecting: 1) work with small batches, and be sure to run it through the thickest roller several times, folding it into thirds each time, before moving to thinner levels, and 2) if it's giving you problems, give the dough a little rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and try again. It's maybe easiest to learn if you have someone experienced to show you, but I'd guess there are lots of demos on the web.
In addition to the models Sam recommended I would also suggest looking at the Imperia (also made in Italy) because it's heavier and more stable when planted on a counter top. And once you get the hang of it you can cut your pappardelle by hand with a sharp knife, although it takes some practice. Per Greenstuff's advice, run your dough through the widest setting eight times and then one by one go through each setting, stopping at next to last unless you are making lasagne.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Third the motion to follow Greenstuff's advice to run the pasta through the widest setting a few times, folding letter-style in between. A good friend has both a freestanding manual machine and the Kitchenaid attachments. She far prefers the freestanding manual one. The latter is all I've ever used. I have an Atlas with various cutters that I've used a hell of a lot for about 30 years. I'm not going to wear out any time soon, whereas the Kitchenaid might. But definitely check into the Imperia as pierino suggests. The Atlas does tend to "wiggle", but I've adapted. It's what I have. See which fits your budget and anticipated usage. And I also cut my pappardelle by hand after running it through the rollers.
Another bit of pasta making advice: the dough itself is very "forgiving" provided you don't let the well break. Once on the old Emeril Live I was watching the Ewok do this, thinking to myself that the edges of his well are too thin, and also he was stirring it frantically. The inevitable took place and he calmly walked to the far end of the counter and said, "Oh, don't worry about that." He didn't have to worry because off camera some kitchen slaves would come rushing to clean up the mess on the floor. And then deliver a stunt pasta dough to finish the segment. Don't be an Ewok at home.
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