Have you recently opened your kitchen cupboards to find masses of dried pasta that you bought from the grocery store?
A recent survey found that 23 percent of Americans eat Italian food at least three to four times a week. And what’s more Italian than pasta?
Packaged dry pasta can be a great time saver, but there’s nothing more satisfying than making it from scratch.
When you enjoy delicious pasta at your local Italian restaurant, you can be assured that it does not come from a box!
Whether it’s meatballs and spaghetti, a deep filled lasagna or delicate ravioli parcels, freshly made pasta always tastes better. You know exactly what’s gone into the pasta, with no unhealthy preservatives.
Owning a pasta maker will make it so much easier to produce fresh quality pasta in your own kitchen.
Join us as we look at some of the best pasta makers currently available. We also show you what to look for when choosing a new pasta maker.
What Exactly is a Pasta Maker?
Many pasta makers are actually pasta shapers. Unless you invest in an expensive automated electric model, you are still going to have to make the dough for the pasta yourself. A pasta maker is simply going to turn that dough into different pasta shapes.
The classic design of a pasta maker hasn’t changed dramatically over the years and is still found in many Italian kitchens. Normally, a crankshaft is used by hand to turn rollers, which, in turn, roll the pasta to your desired thickness. A regulating knob on the side of the machine will allow you to choose the thickness, which varies for each type of pasta.
You could just use the sheet of pasta whole once it’s rolled, as in lasagna sheets, or you can cut it to shapes. Most quality pasta machines will come with built-in cutters or attachments for cutting long shapes like linguini, fettuccini or taglioni.
You can often buy additional attachments for making other types of pasta like spaghetti, capellini and even filled ravioli.
The Best Pasta Maker for 2018
Our top pick is the VonShef 3 in 1 – yes, it IS a manual pasta maker meaning you'll have to use up a few calories making your food, but you'll get the warm glow of knowing you REALLY made that pasta by hand, and you can soothe your aching arm muscles with the knowledge that you had the authentic Italian experience!
This is consistently rated as a good general use pasta maker – not necessarily professional quality, but, if you're just making the occasional pasta dish for friends and family, you don't really need pro-kitchen standard equipment – which, of course, will come with a professional standard price tag!
The VonShef comes in a cool, retro design, which very much captures the zeitgeist, not just of homemade and handcrafted, but of a more general harking back to bygone eras. It is stainless steel, making it relatively easy to clean, and rust resistant – an important point when you're using it to make food!
One of the drawbacks to this model is that it can be difficult to clamp in place – the clamp ISN'T adjustable, and seems to have been designed for a set thickness of counter top – however, this is easily overcome by clamping the pasta maker to the edge of a chopping board, which is then placed on the unit. With the cool, easy-care, retro design, you'll be impressing your friends well before you've served them your home cooked pasta!
The Best Pasta Maker For Under $100
Starting at under $100, and going up in price depending on the color you pick, is the Marcato Atlas 150 which is deliberately designed not to leave any metallic residue on your pasta. It grips most kinds of counter tops well, meaning the machine is stable whilst in use, and provides a reassuring sturdiness. Its chrome and nickel plating makes it rust resistant, and easy to clean – as has been pointed out in reviews, if you've got the consistency of your pasta dough right, there shouldn't be a lot of messy residue on the machine in any case.
Described as a “kitchen must have”, the Marcato Atlas consistently achieves 5* reviews, and its range of colors will blend perfectly with any kitchen, meaning that stylish practicality can easily be yours.
The Marcato Atlas has been criticized for its slowness of operation, but part of the point of using a manual pasta maker is that you have time to properly savor the process, and enjoy a truly authentic experience. The Slo-Food movement, which began in Italy, is a growing trend, as people become more aware of food as a pleasure, rather than a resented necessity
The Best Electric Pasta Maker
However, if you simply must have an automated pasta maker – perhaps you have joint issues which mean that it would not be practical for you to use a manual machine, or you're working to a tight time schedule for an important family meal - the CucinaPro 160 Imperia can be considered a long-term, professional investment.
Made in Italy, and thus providing that edge of European style, and an authentic feel – where better, after all, to have a pasta maker built than the home of pasta? - the CucinaPro offers a non-stick coating, meaning your pasta will be safe, clean, and successful every time you use the machine, without you having to worry about getting the consistency of the dough “just so.” It is also fully metal in construction, meaning it looks good, as well as performing well.
The CucinaPro offers the opportunity of a variety of attachments, meaning almost no type of pasta is beyond your reach – a definite improvement on the 2-3 types of pasta usually offered by the manual models, and well worth the investment if pasta dishes are a regular guest at your table.
Consistently rated better than comparable, cheaper models, the CucinaPro is definitely a worthwhile investment for the high-quality amateur cook who anticipates producing a lot of pasta dishes, and is therefore looking for the convenience and speed of an electric model of pasta maker.
The Best Cheap Pasta Maker
Finally, we have a good, cheap manual pasta maker which is ideal for a young person, or someone just starting out with home cooking. The OxGord manual pasta maker is listed at an affordable price, and is stainless steel, dishwasher safe, and comes with detachable blades for easy cleaning. It is intuitive and easy to use, although you might have some difficulty in attaching it to the counter top – however, this difficulty has also been observed in more expensive machines, so it is less a product of “you get what you pay for”, and more a consistent, albeit minor, let down in this type of kitchen accessory.
The easy-click dial on the OxGord makes adjusting for your preferred thickness of pasta or noodles a breeze, meaning you can have your pasta the way you like it at the flick of a switch.
In short, if you're simply looking for a good, reliable manual pasta maker to get you started on your home cooking journey, there is no real fault to be found with either the OxGord or the VonShef – the latter may prove to be the go-to for those who already enjoy retro design in their home, and like their kitchen appliances to match, whilst still offering contemporary, labor-saving functionality.
Whatever machine you end up purchasing, whether you spend $20 or $400, reports and reviews consistently agree – you'll never regret starting to make your own pasta! Many people have commented that they “never realized what (they were) missing” until they bought their first pasta maker!
So – buy now, and become the envy of your friends with your home-made pasta from this range of stylish, affordable, easy-to-use machines. Whether you want an affordable machine for a cautious start as you dip a toe into the waters of home cooking, or a money-no-object professional experience, there's a pasta maker out there for you.
Buying a pasta maker isn't just another fad, like the sandwich toasters of the 1970s, many of which still languish in cupboards, unused and unremarked, to this day – a pasta maker is an investment in a sustainable future, as it enables you to combat food waste without any onerous recycling or composting. Once you've invested in a pasta maker, you're able to make just the amount of pasta you need – meaning you can do your bit for the environment even from the confines of the smallest apartment in the most environmentally-unfriendly neighborhood.
With a pasta maker, you also know exactly what's going in to your food, making it effortless to take allergies and intolerances into account, as well as easily engage with healthy, sensible food options. The 21st century is proving to be the century where people want technology and labor-saving devices to not just make their lives easier, but make them noticeably better – healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable. Pasta makers are an easy, enjoyable, affordable way to achieve those goals.
So – savor fine, fresh, home made food whilst helping the environment, and buy a pasta maker today.
All of the pasta makers we've mentioned here come with the attachments needed to get you started with pasta making, and you can always buy additional attachments, for different kinds of pasta, once you've found your feet.
Other than that, a pasta drying rack is useful, for keeping your fresh, home made pasta nicely separated, and off the counter top, and, if you're a complete beginner, a recipe book discussing various styles of pasta dough might be helpful – these things are all easy to find online, and affordable.
So, why not treat yourself to everything you'll need – your preferred pasta maker, a good recipe book, and a smart yet simple pasta drying rack, and begin the process of falling in love with a new, nutritious, sustainable hobby?