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I wanted to ask for something a bit different for my Christmas last year which is why I asked for this pasta machine. I am a big lover of pasta and am really into my cooking at the minute so want to get all of the tools that are needed to make my favourite dishes. I do like to cook pasta dishes but to make my own pasta would just make all of my dishes extra special so when I came across this at an affordable price I was very pleased. It looks quite complicated at first but it comes with instructions to keep you on your way.
This pasta machine is a heavy silver metal machine and it comes with a turning handle on the side of it. It is 22.9 x 31.8 x 16.5 cm and weighs 3.5kg and it has a bottom and top barrel which is what you use to turn the pasta through this machine. It has the Imperia logo on it and it all comes packed in a box which comes with different attachments to create different pastas and it comes with a clamp to keep it stuck down to the surface that you will be using. It also has a detachable handle and this is the more basic of the Imperia pasta machines as there is an even more advanced one.
SP150 PASTA MACHINE
Now, to get started you will really need to buy yourself all of the necessary ingredients to make your pasta dough. This is not really that expensive and is quite easy to get hold of. There are lots of different pasta recipes but I followed the one in the booklet to make life easier for myself. Once my pasta dough was ready this is when things got really complicated for me. Having never done pasta before from fresh, it all seemed to be hard as different books say different things but you need to roll your pasta out and it does spring back which is frustrating.
Once you have gotten your pasta rolled out quite long and thin to about the same width as the roller head then it is time to start feeding it through the pasta machine. Now, you could need some help here if your pasta sheet is very long as trying to hold it straight to feed it down through the roller machine head is difficult aswell as trying to turn the handle of the machine at the same time. Make sure you have clamped the machine tight onto the surface as if it moves this will ruin everything as it will move and you cannot roll.
Once you are rolling your pasta through the machine it will get thinner but if too wide or if too thick it gets stuck and all gathers together making holes which you do not want. If this occurs you will need to roll it out on the surface again which if you are a beginner will happen a lot and at times I wanted to give up. If you are relieved to get one sheet rolled through the machine, you will have to do it several times until the pasta is really thin that you can almost see through it then when it is flat you can put on the other pasta head.
I attached my spaghetti head and this was the fun part when it all started to roll through. Just make sure it doesn't tangle and get a hanger so that you can hang your pasta up while making some more. I did get somewhere in the end but it took hours which was not what I had initially planned with this. The pasta does have a really light texture in the end and looks fresh. However, you may have to rip apart some longer sheets to make life easier for yourself when rolling through before getting your spaghetti head.
I do think this is a great gift and as for my pasta, once cooking it took several minutes and it had a lovely fresh taste but all of the work it takes with this has made me want to put the machine away for a while. I'm sure after a lot of practise I will get better at using this but it just requires a lot of time and patience which is something I lack, sadly. The results are good with this but once you buy more heads for this machine you can start to get much more from it.
You can buy these Imperia pasta machines in places like John Lewis and online but I got mine from Amazon where it is currently £42.03 which is a lot cheaper than John Lewis charge.
The official Imperia website is http://www.imperiapasta.com/
I have expressed on a few occasions that I'd like a pasta machine... I meant more of a cheap just lets you run the dough through once to get it flatter kind of a pasta machine. But come Christmas my hubby got me the Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta machine! As angry as I was that he spent money while we are in a cinch I was so happy to try it out!
The pasta machine comes in a not so big red box with the Imperia logo clearly visible on it just above the picture of the machine at work. I must say I was surprised when I grabbed the box (Yes I grab my gifts from people...no time to be all nice when theres goodies awaiting!) it was quite heavy. I later weighed the machine and it came to weigh about 3lb. Now this is my first pasta machine so I don't know if thats standard or not but it made me feel like 'oooh now THIS is quality' sort of thing. It looks and feels a bit beasty and not at all like a toy but a serious machine.
Mines came with two different cutters. These will cut the sheets of dough into 2mm tagiatelle & 6.5mm fettuccine.
The machine needs a tidbit of assembly. You are required to put on the handle, secure it to your work surface and put on the attachment. It takes about a minute total to do this even if its your first time.
In the package you will also find an instructional booklet with quite a number of recipes and a copious amount of adverts for all of these mouthwatering GIMMEGIMME attachments for the machine. I was amazed at the possibilities!
The pasta making itself went smooth. I followed one of the recipes and instructions in the booklet.
My only gripe is I can't clean the machine good afterwards. The bits of dough keep on sticking in between the blades and I have to wait till its all hard n dry to try n turn them out, or shake them out....or plead?!?
If anyone has a trick for how to clean this god darn thing efficiently please do let me know!!
After a late night spree on Amazon, I somehow managed to convince myself that my life wouldn't be complete without owning my own pasta machine, and went with the Imperia after seeing a wealth of positive reviews (as well as negatives for anything that wasn't the Imperia!) I really thought I'd get bored of the thing like every other kitchen impulse buy I've made, but over a year later I'm still using it!
I can't speak for the other brands as this is the only one I've had, but it is definitely a fantastic bit of kit. It's rustic and charming, and does need a fair bit of elbow grease when using, as well as being firmly bolted to the counter top or table as it can wiggle about.
As someone brought up on dried and supermarket 'fresh' pasta, I was astonished at the difference making your own pasta makes to the taste and texture, and with the Imperia it's so easy to make. I tend to mix up the dough the night before (takes about 5 mins) and after a few hours/overnight in the fridge, just run it through the Imperia until it's smooth, definitely easier than endless kneading!
This device doesn't need cleaning, in fact washing it can break it, it just needs some oil such as rapeseed every now and again, and just make a bit of extra pasta if you've not used it in a while and throw the first piece away which will have cleaned the mechanism for you.
If you want to experiement, there's also lots of little attachments you can add, which don't cost too much, although the ones that come in the kit are enough for me, covering your bog-standard lasagne sheets, spaghetti and tagliatelle.
In short - don't be conned by the more convenient sounding 'automatic' models which many complain of breaking down further down the line, get this old favourite and enjoy it for years to come.
You don't really know until you try. Fresh pasta is so much nicer than the dehydrated version from the packets. OK, you can still make nice dishes from a box, especially if you pay a bit more and buy egg pasta, but fresh pasta knocks spots off it. The bad news is that it's not that easy to get hold of, and it costs quite a lot more than dried.
But the REALLY good news is that it's easy to make your own, and it doesn't cost a great deal. To make a lasagne for two, for example, you can create the pasta with four ounces of flour and a large egg. Double that if you're both hungry and want a little left over.
So where does a pasta machine come in? What is one?
You start by mixing the dough. Just flour and eggs, in the ratio of 3 2/3 ounces to one large egg. You can use a food processor with a dough hook, or a big bowl, or just a clean flat, floured surface. The flour should be type 00, which is extra fine. You might need to shop around a little bit to get this. Whizz up the eggs, and mix them thoroughly with the flour, then knead vigorously (I really enjoy this bit!) until the dough is nice and springy. Then cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge for an hour
Clamp your pasta machine to a table, have a little flour ready to dust the dough in case it sticks (I don't find mine does) and start rolling.
The Imperia is the real deal used by top places. The picture tells you exactly what it looks like, a beautifully engineered miniature mangle made from chrome-plated steel, operated with a wooden handle You take a ball of pasta dough, about the size of a small egg, and feed it through the machine on its widest setting (No. 1 - there are six width settings). Out it comes, quite thick and roughly flat. Fold it in half, and set the machine a little narrower to No 2. Out it comes, a bit thinner and either longer or wider, depending on which way you folded it in half. You repeat this process all the way to number 6 setting, the narrowest. If you are a purist, you then roll it up into a ball again and start again.
What is happening here is that you are not just thinning out the dough but continuing to work and knead it. It comes out astonishingly strong and flexible at the same time. On the second progression down from setting 1 to 6 you aim to finish with a beautifully smooth and thin pasta sheet a few inches wide, as if you were going to make lasagne.
The Imperia is really easy to work through this process: you just crank the handle with one hand, using the other firstly to feed the dough in and secondly to support the sheet when it comes out. It's enormously satisfying to be producing this having begun with the raw ingredients of just flour and eggs, and to do it all by hand.
The finished sheets can be hung over the banisters or something like a towel rail until they are all done. They are then ready to cook, but they can also be frozen until needed. You might spend twenty minutes making up your pasta sheets, but you save a bit on cooking time, so this is ecologically good as well as giving you a bit of pleasant exercise and getting close and personal with your food.
The Imperia SP150 comes with an extra attachment with two settings that will shred your pasta sheets into tagliatelli or fettucine. You simply remove the crank from the main body of the machine and put it into the attachment, then feed the sheets through. Easy.
Pasta is really clean to make, so the only cleaning you have to do is to wipe the machine with a dry cloth. Using water is a bad plan because the Imperia might get rusty. The only fiddly bit to clean comes if you use the tagliatelli or fettucine attachments, so you might prefer to do some skilful knife work instead.
You will find yourself paying the best part of £40 for an Imperia. It's well engineered and feels like it will last for ever, so you need to think of it as a long-term investment. You save a little bit of money each time you use it, if the alternative would be to buy fresh pasta. You probably don't save any against buying dried. So you need to weigh up how much you will enjoy the process of creating your own food from scratch, as well as the factors like improved taste, the potential for variety and individuality that lies in adding extra ingredients for colour and taste.
Mine was a present and I'm delighted with it, but it would have felt like a brave and extravagant purchase otherwise. However, I love using it, and expect to continue doing so.
Manually operated pasta making machine for home use