Recently I received a very nice email from a sweet women named Khara, over at cookware.com. Khara offered for someone to do a guest post for me on the topic of my choice.
As the weather starts turning colder, what’s better than a nice hearty bowl of pasta to warm up both body and spirit? Served up on your best Christmas dinnerware, what could be better this holiday season? While there are a great many pre-made pasta options in stores today, nothing beats the uncompromising flavor of fresh, home made pasta. Before you can start making delicious homemade pasta, you need to make sure that your kitchen is adequately stocked with the proper tools. Below, let me break down for you the essential pasta making tools that you need in your kitchen.
Pasta Machine: A pasta machine is one tool that anyone looking to make homemade pasta should invest in. Most pasta machines feature rollers, which flatten the pasta, and ribbon cutters that cut the pasta into different widths. Pasta makers either run on an electric motor or are manually operated using a hand crank. Once you have your pasta dough prepared, cut it into smaller chunks and run them through the rollers of your pasta maker. You may need to run these through the rollers several times until they are smooth and flat. The rollers can be adjusted, depending on how thick you want your pasta.
Once you have achieved your desired thickness, let the strips dry for about 10 minutes. Now you are ready to run the strips of dough through the cutting rollers. Most pasta machines come with 2 settings – spaghetti and fettuccine. Other optional attachments are available to make angel hair pasta, Lasagna, Ravioli and other types of pasta.
- Chitarra Pasta Maker: A chitarra, while not necessarily an essential pasta tool, is still a very useful pasta making appliance. A chitarra is a wooden frame with steel wires strung across the top. A chitarra shapes and cuts macaroni all chitarra, which is a flat, square spaghetti. You simply place a flat sheet of dough on top of the wires and push downward, using a rolling pin. The pasta then falls through the wires.
- Raviolamp Ravioli Maker: A raviolamp is a simple tool designed to help you make your own, fresh Ravioli. To use, simply place one sheet of pasta dough on top of the plate, putting your Ravioli filling of choice (meat, cheese, veggies) into the slots. Place another sheet of dough on top and use the rolling pin included to seal your Raviolis up nicely.
Other Useful Pasta Making Tools: Here are some other essential pasta making tools that you should add to your kitchenware
- Rolling Pin: A rolling pin is a must-have for getting your pasta dough thin enough to work with (if you don’t have a pasta maker)
- Pastry Wheel: Perfect for cutting pasta, a pastry wheel is a great way to add an attractive fluted edge on your pasta creations. Use a pastry wheel when making home made Ravioli!
- Cookie Cutters: A completely versatile kitchenware item, cookie cutters are perfect for making stuffed pasta!
- Pastry Bags: Another versatile tool, pastry bags are great for adding your desired filling to your pasta creations. Perfect for making Ravioli, Tortellini and Tortelli.
- Garganelli Maker: Sometimes referred to as a “butter pat,” this device is shaped sort of like a comb and creates grooves in the dough. Its most often used to create gnocchi.
As you can see, a pasta machine isn’t completely necessary. It’s perfectly possible to create some delicious pasta with just a rolling pin, some cookie cutters and pastry cutters. Pasta machines do tend to simplify the job, though – turning pasta making into a fun, family friendly activity. If you want to go a step further, respected kitchenware maker, KitchenAid makes a line of mixers with pasta roller and cutter attachments. When you see how much fun it can be to create your own pasta, perhaps you’ll want to purchase one as a gift for your friends or family members? You can purchase a basic pasta maker for under $30 and add on additional attachments as you need them.