Pasta machines are kitchen devices that help knead and shape pasta dough into many different varieties of fresh pasta. They are available in both manual and electric models, both of which offer a number of different features at a wide range of prices.
Manual machines typically use a hand crank to power the machine. In these models, users create pasta dough by hand. Then, the machine presses the dough down to the right size, with the user cranking the dough through. Pasta machines typically have a dial in which the user selects the thickness of the desired dough. This often means that the dough will be passed through the machine again and again, until the dough is eventually the right thickness. The machines will then often have another attachment, through which the dough is cranked to cut the pasta dough to the appropriate size of pasta. Manual pasta machines largely take the rolling pin out of pasta making. They can be used anywhere and take very little space in the kitchen.
Electric models automate some of the work of manual pasta machines. Many automatic pasta machines simply require that ingredients for the pasta dough be put into the machine with no prior mixing required. From there, a motor inside the pasta maker does the work of mixing the ingredients to the proper consistency, kneading the dough to the right texture, then cutting the dough into the selected type of pasta. Automatic pasta makers almost totally automate the process of pasta creation, from mixing to cutting.
There are many pasta makers on the market, both manual and automatic. Manual, hand-crank versions can be purchased quite cheaply, usually less than $50 or so. Prices with automatic models vary widely, from under $100 to several hundred dollars. As one would guess, more expensive models offer more features and sturdier designs. But compared with the cost of fresh pasta in a market, pasta makers can start to pay for themselves after only few months of use. Many models make several types of pasta, including linguini, fettuccini, and spaghetti noodles.
While appearing intimidating at first, pasta is actually quite easy to make. There are many different recipes for pasta dough, the most basic ingredients include flour, egg and water. However, there are many other ingredients that can be added, from spinach to garlic. With the help of a pasta machine, fresh pasta can be ready to cook in less than an hour.