Buongiorno a tutti!! Hello all!!
There is nothing like making a meal from scratch, is there? One of my most favorite meals to make from scratch is homemade pasta. So, I decided to bring you a post from my passion: the best tools for making pasta from scratch! We cover them all: from gnocchi boards to automatic pasta makers and more!
Now, don't let the 'from scratch' intimidate you. Living in today's world, we can still re-create those old, authentic pasta recipes by using the best tools from today that will make your 'from scratch' experience quick, easy and so fun!!
I remember when I first started making pasta noodles. We would get the old hand crank machine out from under my mom's cupboard and attach it to the circular wood table in the middle of our kitchen. The dough would be ready and resting, and we would roll it through the machine. Now, if you have never done this before with an antique machine, it is truly an art that needs to be appreciated. Luckily today, the newer machines make this effortless!
When you put your roughly rolled pasta dough into the pasta machine, you start by adjusting the thickness so it begins at a very thick point. This process is repeated over and over again as you progressively change the thickness so the dough is rolled thinner and thinner each time until it is the perfect thickness for you to start working it through the noodle cutters.
We have researched which is the best hand crank pasta machine out there for you, and we took into account how easily the dough gets cranked through the rollers and how well the cutters actually cut and separate the noodles for you. It is awfully annoying when you crank pasta noodles out and find yourself going through them by hand afterward to separate the noodles from a machine that does not cut properly. For this, you need a dream machine.
This gorgeous little machine is found on Amazon and is called the Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine and it is made in Italy! It also comes with a ten-year warranty (bonus!). This hand crank pasta machine is referred to often by its nickname, the Ferrari Of The Pasta Machine World by Cook's Illustrated. We're not playing around with toys here folks, this pasta machine means business and it is a fantastic price. Out of over 2000 customer reviews, this little number gets almost a perfect rating across the board. This pasta maker is the best out there.
Just make sure when you clean your hand crank pasta machine (and this typically goes for all hand made pasta noodle machines) you don't use water. Instead, use a dry bristle brush to get the flour out.
This pasta machine has so many add-on attachment options for you also! There is a capellini attachment, a ravioli attachment, a linguini attachment, even a vermicelli attachment and more! If you want to check this machine and all of the attachment options out, just click on the picture of it below!
We are jumping over from the manual hand crank pasta machine to the automatic type. It is totally a matter of preference and how much time you like to spend on making your own pasta by hand.
When it comes to the automatic machine, I am 100% recommending the KitchenAid Mixer from Amazon and its attachments (which I will talk about in my third point below). Yes! You have heard me praise this mixer before! I use this for everything and it sure makes a gorgeous addition to my kitchen counter. Many people use their KitchenAid Mixer to mix their dough for pasta noodles, I personally like to do this part by hand by putting all my flour into a mountain on the counter and cracking an egg into the middle of it... But so many people enjoy the simplicity of mixing all their ingredients together in this machine with the dough hook. It sure does make pasta noodle-making quick and easy!
This KitchenAid mixer has so many attachments that you can buy, but the one we use for rolling out the dough and cutting it is Amazon's 3 Piece Pasta Roller And Cutter Attachment Set, which brings us to our homemade pasta making tool #3 below! They kind of go hand in hand :)
*Note: This is an attachment for the KitchenAid Mixer, not to be used alone.
I have personally had both my KitchenAid mixer and the 3 piece pasta roller and cutter attachment set for more than ten years, and I make pasta quite often. They are still both running perfectly for me, and I highly recommend them!!! This is definitely a buy it for life item!
I would say that the majority of the noodles I make with my attachment set are lasagna noodles. I can't even BEGIN to tell you how having homemade noodles in a lasagna makes it taste so much better, and the same goes for any pasta dish. Next, in my most often made pasta list, would probably be fettuccine noodles! But that is my own preference! On to noodle-making tool number 4!
Here is one little tool that is small and transportable for travel and is also super easy to use. This is the Pasta/ Ravioli Wheel from Amazon and you can use it on your rolled out pasta dough to make custom cut size pasta noodles, lasagna noodles, and ravioli. You can sure spend a lot of money on one of these (check this one out if you don't believe me!! It sure is gorgeous though!) But I feel that you don't need to spend a fortune on this tool for making homemade ravioli. This one (below pictured) by Norpro is a super affordable ravioli cutter and it has really fantastic reviews!!
I love the versatility of this tool. My kids love to play with this one for their play dough tools, and I also use it to make super cute pie shells! You know the kind of long, crimped pastry pieces that you can weave or braid over a gorgeous cherry pie? I guess I will save that talk for a different article though! Right now let's focus on the main course!
A pasta bike is a great little tool if you want to manually make your pasta noodles. I personally like having a pasta bike with me to take on the road, and I found it to be an excellent price here on Amazon.
We like to go camping in the summertime and I really like to plan ahead for our meals. Often, we make pasta noodle dough and wrap it in saran wrap or in food saver bags to bring camping with us. When we feel like having noodles, we pull the bag out, roll out the dough and have this handy pasta bike for cutting noodles quickly and easily.
*You can check out this Food Saver from Amazon if you are looking for a great tool to preserve and seal your food such as pasta noodles or even meat, cheese and so much more, especially if you like to buy in bulk to save money like me! I love shopping at places like Costco for food!
This Cavatelli Maker from Amazon is the same one I own, and it is my all time favorite tool for making homemade gnocchi with. It is amazing... There is something I just LOVE about the texture of the gnocchi. I like my pasta al dente or a little more firm, so the chewy gnocchi is my top choice for a pasta dish!!!
I have also mentioned the Cavatelli maker in my post, Linnea's Favorite Things, as one of my top kitchen tools. And it is very easy to set up and use!
When you are making dough for gnocchi, it is not made the same as a typical pasta noodle. Instead, it is made with mashed potatoes! Once the dough is made, it is rolled out by hand (you don't need the KitchenAid dough roller for this as you are aiming for a thicker dough). Then, once the dough is rolled out and ready, it is cut into long strips and is fed through the Cavatelli maker.
Turning the crank on the Cavatelli maker smoothly by hand, the dough strip goes in one side, and comes out the other side as gnocchi! It takes very little effort to turn the crank. Just have a floured bowl ready to catch the gnocchi as they come tumbling out! There is something so satisfying about this process.
Then you can throw the gnocchi into a boiling, salted pot of water for a short time until done. What we like to do, is make a LOT of homemade gnocchi and freeze whatever we don't eat. I literally have Food Saver bags of frozen gnocchi in my freezer right now from the last time we made them a few weeks ago! Now that is a quick and easy way to make a meal!
Anyways, I highly, HIGHLY recommend this CCavatelli Maker by Fante's. It is the same one that I own and it is a fantastic little kitchen tool. This gnocchi maker also makes the best gifts for people who love to cook or the home chef!
A Gnocchi Board is a good way to get back to the basics. This is the original gnocchi-making machine! lol! This gnocchi board is a super affordable option (the average comes in under $10.00!) and one that is good to have on hand. You may want to try doing this the old fashioned way!
I personally jumped on the gnocchi-making train and went right to the Cavatelli maker, but you may be interested in trying your hand at doing it this way! This gnocchi board is made by Fantes, which is the same company as the Cavatelli machine I recommended, and it is made in Italy with all natural beechwood.
If you are looking for that perfect tray to make homemade ravioli in, you will want to check this one out. Simply roll out your pasta dough, press it into the molds and fill with whatever filling you want to make your ravioli with. And you can have fun and experiment here!!
Press the rolled pasta out dough on top of the filled mold, press the two sheets of dough together and gently tear the ravioli apart. Voila!!!
If you are going to be venturing into homemade pasta and homemade noodle territory you are definitely going to want this pasta drying rack from Amazon. This little tool is collapsible to the point where it actually folds down very small for storage. Plus, you can't go wrong at this price!
I'm going to share a little tidbit with you right here. Raw pasta noodles will oxidize, no matter where you store them (fridge or freezer). In the fridge, noodles start to go bad after anywhere from 12-18 hours. So if you are just making them beforehand for dinner the same night, yes that is fine. But if you are wanting to make them and keep them for a longer period of time, into the freezer they go!
Yes, the noodles will still oxidize, but the freezer slows down this process. If stored properly, they can last for about a month. I would recommend storing your dried pasta in glass containers that have a well-sealed lid, and I would make sure there is a good sprinkling of flour on them before sealing them.
Glass storage containers are great. The containers are glass and the lids are plastic with a rubber seal and gasket with 4 latches. They are completely airtight, which is what you are going for. Not only are they safe in the freezer, but can go in the dishwasher and oven, so they are super versatile, plus they stack easily. Find them here on Amazon.
The other option, and yes I am going to mention it again, is the Food Saver. This will get ALL of the air out of your noodles so oxidation really doesn't stand on a foot with your food. They will stay fresh for a very long time. And you can use it for raw meat (I often make a marinade and then food save them for freezer storage!) vegetables, cheese, bread (yes! bread!) berries for smoothies and coffee beans!
I love having a dedicated tool in the kitchen for a specific task. In this case, it is a pasta cooking and straining pot in one! This pot set cooks the noodles and strains them! 2 in 1! Plus you can also use it for steaming foods and vegetables when you are not using this beauty for cooking pasta noodles. Find it on Amazon right here.
Ever since we have found out what is really in those Parmesan cheese shakers you can buy at the store, I have always bought my Parmesan cheese in block form. If you are still buying Parmesan cheese shaker containers, have a look at the ingredients. Does it say "cellulose filler" anywhere in it? Well, that is an additive the company puts into the cheese to keep it from clumping together, as real cheese should. That additive, in layman's terms, is wood. To be specific, it is wood pulp which has been 'deemed safe for human consumption'. No THANK YOU! (Go ahead, google it!!)
Ok, processed food rant over, now let's talk the good stuff. CHEESE. (yum)
In the case of pasta, gnocchi, lasagna, even a good Italian salad, there is nothing better than passing a block of cheese with a grater. Right??? Now there are two kinds of people out there: ones who like a finely-grated cheese, and those who prefer chunks or larger, more visible slices of Parmesan on their meal.
For a shredded Parmesan cheese, there is even further choice!! The kind I prefer is the kind where you have to do the work. This is a slender, long cheese grater that you can easily run the block of cheese over to get your grated cheese. Plus, it can be used further for chocolate, coconut, lemon zest and more.
Alternatively, there is the restaurant-type of a cheese grater, where you put small chunks of cheese inside and use the hand crank tool to get a large amount of grated cheese to your food quickly!
Now, for those of you who love those huge flakes of delicious Parmesan cheese, you can have a look at this Steel Cheese Slicer by Boska Holland from Amazon. This sure makes a pasta or salad dish look absolutely stunning with gorgeous flakes of parmesan on top!
These make the best gifts for people who love to cook. This Rachael Ray Terra Cotta garlic roaster I found on Amazon is really great because you put your garlic in the oven and cook it while you are getting everything else ready for dinner. Then, when dinner is ready, pull this now golden and sweet garlic out of the oven to spread on your bread.
What is amazing about cooking garlic like this, is that there is absolutely no strong or 'spicy' kind of taste left in the garlic. You are just left with a golden, spreadable and very flavorful garlic. When I serve a pasta dish, I always make sure there is a fresh loaf of Italian bread on the table, and I actually replace my butter with this garlic. It is one of my favorite things to do and cuts down on the calories (if you are counting!)
I have also mentioned some of these items in my post 10 Gift Ideas for The Bread Maker, if you are into making your own bread, you might want to check this article out as well, or our post about the best tools for making homemade pizza!
We hope you enjoyed this article! And be sure to pin it now to come back to it again later!
Thanks, have a delicious day!