Friday, March 12, 2010

My New Pasta Maker, A Review (*Pasta Giveaway on Monday!*)

Time to test out the new pasta maker, enjoy some delicious food, and write up my opinion of this device's functionality.
Also, get ready to enter to win a pound of freshly made pasta: Giveaway starts Monday, so come on back!

The things i'll be judging this little machine on will be
  • Ease of setup
  • Ease of initial 'dough into machine at the widest setting'
  • Ease of level adjustment
  • Effectiveness of dough pull through
  • Satistfaction with thinness of pasta
  • Ease of the fettuccine cutting attachment
  • Finally - was it a joy or a burden to use: will i be using this often, or will i prefer to roll out the dough on the counter and cut by hand
And the results are in! sort of. I am giving this machine the benefit of the (i have no idea what i'm doing) doubt. My first batch of pasta was lumpy and gross: because i didn't blanch the spinach enough and it caused all sorts of crumbly problems. My second batch, sans spinach, did just great though - and i can see getting better and better at the use of this machine and being quite delighted with it.

Ease of setup:
Couldn't be easier. Clamp to the counter, stick on the crank, away you go. Attachment slides easily on.
Cons: crank falls out too easily. 1-2 dents on floor already counted. Width adjustment is not obvious - i couldn't tell based on numbers on the dial where i was really setting it, ended up adjusting by eye based on how large the little gap looked.    -   9

Ease of 'dough into machine':
No problem. Once i figured out that i needed to pat a little flour on each side of the dough and squish it down into a rectangle and aim it in wide end to gap, it worked great.    - 9

Ease of level Adjustment:
Again, this was where i got the most irritated. Hard to tell what level i'm setting the width to, dial doesn't slide easily from level to level, it's hard to tell how i'm supposed to actually change the settings, and the instructions do not explain.    - 7

Effectiveness of dough pull through:
The spinach one: terrible. Broke apart, lots of little tears. The plain: pretty easy. Still a few tears but i think that's learning curve. The first few times through are harder, but as the dough is kneaded further it cranks through more easily.   -  9

 Sorry it's out of focus: my fingers were covered in dough.

Satisfaction with thinness:
Great. I found it more difficult to handle as it got thinner, but the plain pasta got nice and thin. We'll see how it cooks up.   - 9

Ease of cutting attachment:
Easier than i thought it would be. No good for the lumpy spinach, but worked really well for the plain. The spaghetti turned out evenly cut and professional looking. I will definitely be using this to roll out all my pasta - but may choose to cut some by hand versus using the attachment. It's definitely a kitchen helper and not a burden  - 10

Overall Satisfaction:
Very satisfied.   If you average my ratings this machine gets a high B. I'm sure my satisfaction will grow as i get used to using it.
I would recommend it to a friend.

So tonight we eat pasta! I think i'll freeze some of it and dry some of it. Come back on Monday for your chance to enter to win a pound of homemade pasta made with organic eggs and whole wheat flour (basil, oregano, or garlic flavored by request!). I promise it will look better than this:

Dinner was delish. The last of the tomatoes were sweet as ever. Added a little pesto, and voila! Noodles cooked in about 3 minutes (until happily floating) and were gorgeous in my mouth. Yum yum yum yum.

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    Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!