There are plenty of hand-powered, roller-type pasta makers of decent quality out there. And, honestly, there’s little to distinguish them when you’re trying to pick a clear favorite.
Almost certainly, you’ll know what kind of machine I’m talking about: two sturdy metal rollers with an adjustable space between them. These can be cranked to pull dough through, kneading it thoroughly and finally flattening it into pasta.
Usually, there’s also a cutting device that’s used to split the resulting sheet into noodles of various widths. If you have any kind of notion of how spaghetti and fettuccine are made at home, this is probably it.
This general design is a classic, meaning that it has changed as little over the years as the recipe for bolognese sauce. They’re all peas in a pod, with some being a little tougher, larger, easier to clean, or motorized like the Shule, but this is one area where you shouldn’t expect major innovations.
First Among Equals
This Marcato machine, however, is made in Italy itself, by a company that’s been around since 1930. This alone isn’t enough to convince us of its quality, but the fact that the manufacturer offers a ten-year warranty does incline us to think that they take their engineering seriously.
Assuming that you’ve ever owned a cheaply made pasta roller, you’ll love the advantages this one has over them.
The bearings and the mechanism used to close and separate the rollers are very sturdy, and the surface will not tarnish or scratch with any kind of normal use. The screw arm used to affix it to a countertop is, thankfully, easy to use.
Though there’s little fault to find with this machine’s plated steel construction, especially in terms of hygiene and cleaning (never wash a pasta maker with water; all you should need is a dry cloth or brush of some kind), all of this does push the price up well above that of many competitors.
Considering that you’ll need to buy separately any cutters and the optional motor, you might end up paying significantly more than the price of the basic machine if you want to make long pasta other than spaghetti and fettuccine.
One way to save on the cost of this machine is to spend a little more time in the kitchen with a manual slicer, though this seems like exactly the kind of thing that’s likely to get old fast.
If you don’t mind spending extra, though, you will be very pleased by the range of attachments available for this machine. Just note that it can be difficult to find some of them online; you may have to contact the manufacturer.
Also, many of these types of pasta will look identical for anyone but a true pasta fanatic – don’t, please, go out and buy all of them at once.
- Very good workmanship
- Large range of cutter attachments available
- Stable when clamped to table or counter
- Definitely on the expensive side, especially when springing for extras like a motor
- Not the very easiest machine to use; not a good buy if this is your first pasta maker
- Still just a roller machine at the end of the day