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Pasta Equipment: Rollers, Extruders, etc.


Suvir Saran
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Not a lot of discussion about extruders here. So far, most people say the KA extruder sucks, and the Kenwood attachment is fine. Anybody else have a standalone extruder they can recommend??

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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I may have said this before, but it bears repeating: There is no reason to have a home extruder.

There is a very simple reason for this, which is that extruder machines make pasta secca (dried pasta such as spaghetti, penne and so forth) comprised of water and durum wheat flour. This is an industrial process, and it is more or less impossible to make pasta secca at home that approaches the quality of even relatively pedestrian examples from the store, never mind a top quality artisinal brand. In this sense, pasta secca is entirely different from pasta fresca, which is most commonly made with eggs and soft wheat, and most traditionally made at home by hand. Homemade pasta fresca will almost always be better than anything you can buy in a store.

I would rate home pasta extruder machines as the most common machine to live untouched in the back of a kitchen cabinet. I used to have one, but it was difficult to use and not much fun, and didn't make particularly good pasta.

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Sam, I hear what you are saying, and if most home extruders suck, then I will avoid them. But, there are people, like me, who enjoy doing things for themselves at home. It isn't always about better quality, its about satisfaction. Now, if the quality of homemade extruded pasta is that bad, then that's a different argument.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Not a lot of discussion about extruders here. So far, most people say the KA extruder sucks, and the Kenwood attachment is fine. Anybody else have a standalone extruder they can recommend??

Just to remark that the bronze-die Kenwood extruder (Model A910 or AT910) is relatively new.

There has long been a plastic Kenwood pasta extruder (the A936 or AT936), which is, I guess, no better or worse than the plastic KA bit. And, naturally, its much cheaper than the bronze-die one.

I'm not even sure that the plastic one has been discontinued, some (UK) retailers are still offering it.

Just beware if shopping for THE Kenwood pasta extruder ... :cool:

While the A910 is on my list of discretionary toys, its not at the top yet!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Now, if the quality of homemade extruded pasta is that bad, then that's a different argument.

Yes. That is my argument. My argument is that it is impossible to make home-extruded pasta that is competitive with even, say, Ronzoni in terms of quality. Making dry pasta is an industrial process. The durum wheat is mixed into a very stiff dough with very little water, and yet needs to be worked with a very strong machine in order to develop the gluten properly. Few, if any, home mixers or standalone pasta extruding machines are capable of doing this. Certainly I've almost choked my heavy-duty KitchenAid on durum pasta doughs that were really already too wet. After that, this stiff dough needs to be forced through a die with a lot of pressure (again, something that few machines can do well) in order to get the correct coating, texture and firm bite. After that, the pasta needs to be thoroughly dried in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. All these things are difficult-to-impossible for a home cook, even one who may be willing to invest multiple thousands of dollars. What you can perhaps get is a not-so-great version of the not-so-great "fresh extruded pasta" you can buy in some supermarkets. If you like this sort of pasta (I find it neither fish nor fowl, having none of the properties I desire in either dry or fresh pasta), then you might find one of these machines worthwhile. But, in terms of making real dry pasta that won't make you think "this isn't as good as a $1.19 box of De Cecco" -- I don't think it's going to happen.

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Well, judging by the complete lack of discussion on eG, there must not be must interest, implying it's not such a great idea....

FWIW, I love Ronzoni, even better than the pricey stuff at the import store...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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  • 1 month later...

I use a hand crank Atlas, have for 20 years, it's made more pasta than I care to think about. I have 4 different cutters for it, some make two shapes , others only one but I have stranded pasta covered from angel hair to papperdelle. Mine is too old to adapt directly to a motor but they sell an adapter kit I may try.

As far as extruded pasta machines, there's only one I want... Bigoli Press

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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  • 7 months later...

Has anyone seen or used the apparently new KitchenAid tubular pasta maker (not the old extruder which doubled with the meat grinder attachment)? Saw it featured in La Cucina Italiana magazine. I use both a hand-crank and have used the KitchenAid roller/cutter, which is very useful, especially when making pasta by yourself. This new attachment looks intriguing, considering the types of pasta it purports to make, but I have always been a bit skeptical regarding extruders, also considering the shapes it makes are not, at least to me, the types of shape that lend themselves to the application of fresh egg dough.

Mark A. Bauman

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Has anyone seen or used the apparently new KitchenAid tubular pasta maker (not the old extruder which doubled with the meat grinder attachment)? Saw it featured in La Cucina Italiana magazine. I use both a hand-crank and have used the KitchenAid roller/cutter, which is very useful, especially when making pasta by yourself. This new attachment looks intriguing, considering the types of pasta it purports to make, but I have always been a bit skeptical regarding extruders, also considering the shapes it makes are not, at least to me, the types of shape that lend themselves to the application of fresh egg dough.

I went to a demo (disguised as a fresh pasta class) at my local Williams-Sonoma store. I was not impressed. Could have been the fact that the ladies running the demo had no idea what pasta dough should be like when it's ready (theirs was way too wet). It was pretty slow. The pasta was awful (they used Ecco Egg Pasta mix, but as I said it was too wet - "The dough instructions say to use x amount of water but that's way too little, so add more."). The wire cutter broke in mid demo "Oh they've fixed this since we got this demo unit."

I'd pass. Get the KA pasta roller set - it works great. Buy pasta when you need a tube shape.

Mark

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Has anyone done raviolis with the rolling pin that has the cutouts carved into it? I saw a magazine article about it a few years ago. You make a big sheet of pasta, spread your filling over it then fold it in half and crimp the edges. You then roll the rolling pin over the dough and it cuts perfect raviolis. It seems like a cool and easy technique to make a lot of pasta in a short amount of time.

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Has anyone done raviolis with the rolling pin that has the cutouts carved into it? I saw a magazine article about it a few years ago. You make a big sheet of pasta, spread your filling over it then fold it in half and crimp the edges. You then roll the rolling pin over the dough and it cuts perfect raviolis. ...

I haven't, but I like the idea. Have used a variant of it, similar but smaller: ravioli roller attachment to the (Marcato) Atlas roller-cutter pasta machines (the Atlas itself is mainly about forming the dough sheets, easily, consistently, and with good texture).

Strikes me as an example of (buzzword from a few decades ago) "appropriate technology," simple and elegant rather than complex and flashy. (In "high" technology, incidentally, we value the same virtue. I guess rolling pins and hand-crank kitchen appliances illustrate "low" technology -- "low" in manufacturing complexity, not in utility or elegance.)

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