If you want the best manual crank pasta maker check out the range of CucinaPro Imperia Pasta Machines.
on Amazon, or read on for my verdict on the CucinaPro 150…
Italian Style Pasta Machine
Of course I would love these shiny steel kitchen gadgets wouldn’t I? But they are more than a mere gimmick. Taste homemade fresh pasta and you know why this culinary staple became so popular in the first place. What I particularly like about the CucinaPro Imperia pasta makers is that they conform to the original tried and tested design of manual crank Italian pasta machines.
These aren’t even machines really, they’re simply rollers for creating smooth sheets. Cutter attachments then allow you to produce different pasta shapes when your desired thickness has been rolled out.
Yes you can buy automatic versions that are electronic and will mix your dough and then extrude it into various shapes for you. But I enjoy cooking and prefer to be a little more hands-on. True I don’t make my own fresh pasta every time we have a pasta dish for supper. There is nothing wrong with good quality dried pasta. But every now and again something original and interesting is what is called for.
A little time spent mixing and kneading, and turning very boring ingredients into deliciously smooth pasta is time well spent as far as I am concerned. Also, I simply find that you need to be a little intuitive with your dough. A machine, unless it is an extremely expensive restaurant quality automatic pasta maker simply falls far too short of the task to hand. For me an automatic pasta machine is simply not as good as buying gourmet quality fresh pasta from the chiller cabinet, so why bother?
But a hand-cranked machine for rolling pasta dough into ever finer and smoother sheets is something else entirely. It is so simple and flawless really in its design that in my humble opinion it cannot be beaten if you want to create fresh pasta at home.
CucinaPro 150 Imperia Pasta Machine
There are a few versions of the CucinaPro pasta maker around. For the first time user I think the 150 is more than adequate. It is a reasonable price and a good size for most home kitchens. To use, you simply clamp it onto the counter-top and then roll your dough through turning the wooden crank handle to do so. A simple dial allows you to adjust the thickness of the dough to ever finer thicknesses. Using a hand crank mechanism means you can really feel what’s going on and create pasta just the way you like, passing it through at your own speed.
Of course, if you want to speed things up a bit you can buy motors to attach that replace the hand-crank. Some love them and others prefer to do things the old fashioned way, with a little more elbow grease. I guess it is about what you get used too. I would feel less in control with a motor dictating the speed, but it might be a little easier on the arms!
The CucinaPro Imperia pasta maker is a real Italian made design classic, finished in chrome plate, the steel is heavy and designed to last. A double cutter attachment offers you the easy ability to cut wide fettuccine or thin spaghetti noodles. But don’t be swayed by cheaper models with lots of cutter attachments as you can buy additional ones for the Imperia. Plus of course, an awful lot of great fresh past shapes start with a simple sheet and can easily be cut by hand anyway.
Using an Italian Pasta Machine
If you have never used an Italian pasta maker before do not be disheartened if your first offering is less than perfect. The key is getting the dough right. Just like bread making, you simple get a knack for the correct feel and elasticity. Once the dough is the correct consistency the machine rolling side of things takes care of itself.
Remember that recipes are not always to be followed exactly. The different humidity in you own kitchen, and the natural differences in flours will mean that whilst you can use exactly the volume of liquid called for in a recipe one day, the next you may need a little more or less. So use your own hands to feel exactly what is going on with the dough before blaming the pasta machine for not being perfect! Getting stuck in is what pasta is all about, from kitchen to table!
The most important thing is to have a go, then make some more and remember to use your new Italian pasta maker. Don’t let it sit idle in a cupboard forever as once mastered the art of great homemade pasta really is unforgettable and extremely simple.