An interesting question today from a consumer regarding pasta making machines. Our experience with these little gadgets is that many of them seem to be “toys” as opposed to real kitchenware. They sort of fall in the same category as garlic presses–either they seem to be made to work about twice and then relegated to the junk drawer, or they are really nice high-end units that can stand up to frequent use.
Some are electric (good if you plan to do large batches) and others are hand-cranked. Most of the cheaply made models are hand operated. If you are used to buying premium fresh-made pasta ala Whole Foods, then making your own seems like a good bet economically. However, if you are happy with dried boxed pastas–and there are some really good ones in my opinion–then the effort to produce your own probably falls in the “hobby” category: i.e. You do it because you want to, not because it is somehow a better product. The consumer was concerned about pieces of the machine contaminating her pasta. Our opinion is that the cheaper models which are plated are probably more susceptible to rust and flaking. Well made ones, with nickel/chrome plating or produced in stainless steel shouldn’t have this problem. If you own a KitchenAid mixer, there’s a pasta making attachment which is pretty nifty, all though I’ve not used it myself. Pasta making is like bread making–you do it for love, not for economy or thriftiness.