If you love pasta like me, you realize that your regular outings to the local Italian eatery are adding up on your credit card statement. Like other AU students, when my motivation to meal-prep is at an all time low I like to feast on a bowl of ramen noodles or grab a plate of hearty spaghetti. However, recently I made the investment in a fully automated pasta machine. It was a challenging decision given that most fully-automated pasta makers are a costly investment. The one I purchased came with a hefty price tag of over $200. So I cringed slightly when I finally decided to commit to making my own noodles instead of visiting just about every pasta and noodle joint in the city. However, it was healthier to know exactly what was added into my pasta and being able to control the ingredients required.
But let’s take a closer look at the machine itself.
The best feature of this machine is the semi-automated dough kneader that helps mix the dough thoroughly before extruding the pasta from the other end. The set comes with four moulds to extrude penne pasta, lasagna noodles, udon, or spaghetti. The entire process from start to finish takes about 15 minutes for 4 servings of pasta.
There were plenty of attractive features about this machine. I enjoyed the process of customizing my own ingredients. For example, I enjoyed adding eggs to my pasta and increasing the nutritional value, which was easily done. My relatives, on the other hand, enjoy spinach linguine, and spinach juice can be just as easily integrated into the noodles as eggs. Some other options for integration include tomato juice, buckwheat, herbs, and squid ink.
Another feature about this machine is the convenience. Not having to physically knead the dough then run the dough through a manual noodle maker was highly efficient and for two servings of pasta, 10 minutes was enough to produce delicious, restaurant-grade pasta.
Cleaning the nooks and crannies of the machine is an unfortunate necessity of purchasing an electric noodle maker. Moreover, instead of being able to cook my freshly made pasta right away, I had to soak the gears in warm water and help loosen and clean the dough. The longer I waited without cleaning the removable gears and the moulds, the harder it was to remove the encrusted dough.
With larger extrusion moulds, it was easy for the machine to force noodles through the larger openings. But the smaller the shape of the moulds, the more difficult it is to force the dough through them. Some are merely pin sized openings so the build up of pressure inside the machine may cause mechanical issues.
Despite its flaws, the machine is simple to use, reliable, and more advanced than its predecessors in quality. Moreover, the texture of the noodles were comparable to restaurant grade pasta noodles. And having visited an Italian diner the day before my pasta machine arrived, I can attest that the quality of the pasta was superb. At the end of the day, if you’re a die-hard pasta or noodle lover, this gadget is a worthwhile investment.