Pasta Making Continued…

Pasta Perfection: Tools of the Trade

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.
Not being too aware of cookware.com, I decided to quickly go over there and check their website out. It’s really a great online source for all of your cooking and baking needs. Go over there and check them out when you get a chance! I even found my ravioli forms there!
Since I’ve been in a pasta making mood lately, obviously from my lasts two posts, I thought a post about pasta machines, and some of the accessories would be very informative. I’ve had questions from readers regarding pasta making, so hopefully this post will answer some.

So here it is… The following was written by guest blogger Jamie Sward. Enjoy!

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
    collection.

    • 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.

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Comments

  1. Going to check out cookware.com, thanks for the informative post :)

  2. I have checked out cookware.com.
    I am now very well educated on pasta makers/machines.

    I still want to come over to YOUR house and make raviolis.
    Much more fun than my family!!!

    Lunch with the bloggers in nyc today was great…….we had gnocchi and other goodies…..
    will tell you all about it!
    Stace

  3. This was a great post very informative… I am copying it and keeping it in my cooking folder… also I will check out the other site you found… Thanks

    (((HUGS)))
    Donna

  4. You know how I love to make fresh pasta and I love my KitchenAid pasta roller attachments BUT I really want to get the 9 inch professional Imperia rollers – just think of the lasagna sheets you could make with these!

  5. I just went over to cookware.com. I think I’m in love…Oh my! My Christmas list just got much bigger!! Tell Santa I was a good girl, I’m gonna need some help for the list I made!! LOL!

  6. I have been wanting to pick up some pasta making tools for a while now.

  7. This is so interesting — thank you! I think it’s time for a new hobby. Now I know where to go!

  8. Nice informative post, Marie. Do you have a link for your guest blogger?
    Oh! ..and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  9. I love my chitarra which I originallly bought to give as a gift to my grandmother but ended up keeping it for myself instead and I bought her an electric pasta maker instead! I figured she would appreciate the automated version more!

  10. Jamie and Marie – you just may have convinced me to try my hand at homemade pasta!

  11. Thanks for the tip about cookware.com.

  12. Hi everyone, Although Jamie doesn’t have a blog, he’s a member of the creative team, and a specialist for cookware.com.that’s why there was no direct link to him! Thanks so much for all your comments!! And happy cooking everyone!!

  13. Hi Marie, I have had a pasta making machine on my wish list for a few years now and never seem to get one even though I have told my family that “home made” pasta is the best, your post, Jsmie and cookware.com have convinced me to go ahead and buy one for myself this holiday, have a lovely weekend, hugs, Kathy.

  14. I’ll have to go check out their web site. This post has some good information; love the part about the cookie cutters!

  15. There are some good suggestions here. I think there is a little bit of room left on my Christmas wish list. Can’t wait to make ravioli.

  16. Thanks for this post, Marie. For sometime now I have been wanting to try my hand at making pasta and have been thinking about getting a pasta machine. The thing is I don’t want it to end up being one of those things I buy and not use often, know what I mean? Will give it some more thought but this post has been very useful as have your others below this.

  17. In my high school home economics class, a nice, elderly Italian woman came to our school once and demonstrated how to make homemade noodles from scratch, using the well method. I thought this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I still use her method to this day. Unfortunatley, I’ve never made other types of pasta. But these gadgets mentioned in this post, are the equilavent of ‘Toys R’ Us’ for me. My kind of fun!

  18. I enjoyed this post and browsing the Cookware.com web site, Marie. Lots of tempting tools of the trade there.
    Right now I do all my pasta rolling and cutting by hand but I hope to get a Kitchen Aide attachment someday.
    Have a good weekend!

  19. This was perfect for me! I made my own ravioli last week for the first time. It was sooooo thick due to lack of pasta machine and me being lazy about rolling it out I guess.

  20. I always wanted to make my own pasta. You’ve insired me so I think I’ll ask for a pasta maker for Christmas!

  21. great posting – I always have issues with my pasta maker – maybe I’m just not kneading my dough long enough.

  22. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my mom’s pasta machine. This post brought a smile to my day… thank you.

  23. It is a great site. What a great post.

  24. Anonymous says:

    You might check out fantes.com as well. I live in the area and the owners are this great Italian family. Lots of neat stuff in their store.

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