Best Pasta Machine for Rolling and Cutting
Past Machines (Pasta Sheeters for Rolling and Cutting)
In this article, we look at what makes the best pasta machine or maker for rolling and cutting. These are also known as Pasta Sheeters. We look at both manual versions (with the handle) and electric versions. If you are looking for a machine that does everything including mixing the ingredients then hop over to our our best electric pasta maker guidance. If you are looking for the best pasta machine that roles and cuts then read on.
Of course, you can roll pasta by hand but this is not particular easy to do. As well as ensuring a uniform thickness, the best pasta machine also, by its rolling action, improves the dough, which requires less kneading. This then is why the pasta makers are so popular. The best past machines really do save time and improve the end results.
Selecting the Best Pasta Machine
Choosing the best past machine is based on knowing a bit about them. Just reading the specs won’t necessarily help you. There are so many pasta machines on the market it can be quite bewildering choosing the best. They also range in price from less than £30 to over £70. Therefore, what is the difference and is it worth paying the extra?
If ever there was a case of “you get what you pay for” this is one of them. Choosing the best pasta machine is the same. For example, my family has owned a pasta machine for twenty years which has been used every week throughout. It has been well cared for and works as good today as it did twenty years ago. By comparison, I know of other makes that have literally fallen to pieces or seized up after just a few uses. Build quality is a real issue and so to get the best pasta machine it pays to go with a well-known brand in my opinion.
This may cost a few pounds more but it is a false economy to go cheap. Here are some examples of the problems you might encounter with some of the cheaper models:
- Cutters son’t cut right through which means you have to manually separate the pasta by hand afterwards.
- Clamp doesn’t keep the pasta maker still whilst in use
- The mechanism jams
- Sharp edges and burrs
- Rollers do not maintain adequate pressure
- Bits fal off
- Oil streaks on the pasta
You also need a pasta maker that rolls to several thicknesses. You select the thickness of the pasta via a control on the side which reduces or increases the gap between the rollers. You need at least 6 steps to make good pasta. Any less is insufficient. Happily, most pasta makers do have 6 or more steps but it is worth checking.
When using a manual pasta maker, you will need to clamp it to a work top. If you use an electric pasta maker you won’t need to use the clamp and so this could be a significant factor in choosing which pasta maker. I you want a manual pasta maker, make sure you have somewhere convenient to clamp it.
Make sure that you choose a work top with plenty of space either side. Ideally, you need not only plenty of space either side of the pasta maker, but space for two people. (if using the manual pasta maker). You don’t necessarily need another person to make pasta but many prefer the help of a second person. One to turn the handle and one to collect the pasta.
Finally, you will want the pasta maker to cut the sheets into long strips. You can usually change the width of the strips. For example, you can often make tagliatelle, spaghetti or fettuccine but some allow even more variety. Check before you buy to make sure the machine will cut how you want it to because cutting via a pasta maker gives excellent results and you don’t want to have to revert to hand cutting.
A word about electric pasta machines.
Some pasta sheeters come with an electric motor which avoids the manual rolling necessary with the manual machine. I myself own an attachment which connects to my KitchenAid stand mixer and does the same.
If you don’t have a KitchenAid you can buy motorised attachments for the best pasta makers. These are easier to use than manual pasta makers because they free up another hand to guide and collect the past through the machine. I would consider a motorised pasta maker but don’t feel you must. Using a manual pasta maker is not difficult. The choice is yours.
Two of the best pasta makers come with a motor attachment. These are a separate item which replaced the manual handle. In our reviews of the Imperia and Marcato, we have combined the manual and electric into single reviews.
Using a Pasta Machine
Here we are going to explain how to use a manual pasta machine or more correctly, a pasta sheeter. Basically, the aim is to feed your pasta through the machine in small batches. These will be rolled, stretched and shaped as they go through. You will start at the thickest setting and work your way down. Put the dough through each setting twice. This will improve the dough whilst ensuring a uniform thickness.
As the dough is rolled it will stretch and become longer. It will also become wider which is why you will need to fold it into thirds when necessary to get in back through the rollers. It’s not difficult and with a bit of practice will become second nature.
- Clamp the pasta machine firmly to the edge of a work surface by tightening the clamp. The cutting attachment is usually separate and will need attaching later.
- Break the pasta dough into small portions slightly larer than the size of a golf ball. Depending on the stickiness of the dough, you may need to dust flour on to it with each pass. You may so need to fold the sheet as described above.
- Work down the various settings, repeating each setting twice until you have reached your desired thickness.
- For stuffed pasta, you will need the thinnest setting. Ideally this should be almost transparent but strong enough so that it doesn’t split.
- If you intend to use the pasta maker to cut the pasta into strips, attach the relevant cutter attachment. Not all pasta machines work the same way so you may need to refer to the instructions for your model. Either way, this is a very simple procedure. Again, run your already rolled pasta through the machine only this time the pasta will be cut into strips.
- Make sure you don’t let the pasta strips stick together. Use a pasta hanger if you have one or place them on a piece of waxed parchment paper until ready to cook. Note, fresh pasta will dry out quickly if not used straight away so cover with cling film. This is not an issue but means the pasta will take a little longer to cook.
- Using a large pan, place the pasta into pre-salted and boiling water for several minutes depending on your flour mix (see recipe). Usually, the pasta is cooked when it floats to the top. Try some and when al-dente it will be ready to drain and serve straight away.
- If using a sauce consider adding the sauce to the pan and serving already covered.
- Finally, do not wash the pasta maker in water as it will take ages to get dry and you will loose the oil inside the machine. Traditionally, these are allowed to dry and then the dried pasta is simply brushed off.
KEY FEATURES: Motorised movement / Known Brand / Excellent Build Quality
Overview of the Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta Machine
The Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta Machine is a leading and best pasta machines in Italy. It is on a par with Marcato in terms of build quality, price and performance making is one of the best pasta makers in our view.
The key differences between the Imperial and the Marcato is the motorised attachment. In our view the Marcato has the edge in terms of being slightly less fiddly. After this, there really isn’t much between them. If you are looking just for a manual version then it is the same machine just without the motor.
Don’t forget that if you buy a manual version you will need to clamp it firmly to a flat surface to use it. If you don’t have anywhere suitable you might think about getting the motorised version instead. The price from Amazon.co.uk for the manual Imperia Pasta Machine is £49.55.
Using the Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta Machine
The Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta Machine is simple to use, especially with the motorised attachment. The attachment is a little fiddly but should not put you off what is in every other respect one of the best pasta machines on the market.
KEY FEATURES: Motorised Roller and Cutter, Brand Leader, No clamp required, 10 Year Warranty
Overview of the Marcato 08 0155 12 00 pasta machine with Altas motor
The Marcato 08 0155 12 00 pasta machine with Altas motor is a brand leader in UK and Italy. In our view, it is the best pasta machine available when considering price and performance. This is especially true given the 10 Year Warranty.
There is also a manual version available priced at £50.65 from Amazon.co.uk. This manual pasta maker is the same machine without the motorised attachment, which can be added and removed.
The is built to last and should give you many years use. It is pure class and we highly recommend it.
Buy from Amazon.co.uk for: £190.46
KEY FEATURES: Excellent build quality / wider than normal / A bit pricy
The KitchenAid 5KSMPRA 3-Piece Pasta Roller and Cutter Set is an excellent precision pasta maker. It is as good as any on the market making it a serious contender for best pasta machine. It attaches to a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (any model) from where it derives its power. It is stable, smooth and sturdy. It does the job amazingly well. If you already have a KitchenAid stand mixer then you might want to do what I did and go all out on the KitchenAid 5KSMPRA 3-Piece Pasta Roller and Cutter Set.
Unfortunately, the only negative is the price. This is not a cheap option and is the only factor against it being the best pasta machine.
KEY FEATURES: Designed as a motorised pasta maker from scratch / no manual version
The Vivo © Automatic Electric Pasta Maker Machine is a capable pasta maker that looks good and performs well. It uses non stick coating to promote a non-clogging smooth operation and this seems to work very well. The Vivo © Automatic Electric Pasta Maker Machine is relatively new to the market (Nov 2016) and so the Jury is still out on how durable this machine is. However, from what we could tell it is a sturdy unit and worth a look, especially if you can pick up a bargain.