Pasta is one of the most versatile foods that exists. It comes in an endless variety of shapes, lengths and sizes, and makes for a great leftover meal the next day. With so much potential behind this simple food, learning how to make your own from scratch at home can save you a ton of money — and give you a skill that all of your friends will envy.
To learn more about the process of pasta-making, we reached out to Nadia Caterina Munno, an Italian home cook, entrepreneur and author of the soon-to-be-released cookbook “The Pasta Queen” who gained a large following on TikTok thanks to her mouthwatering pasta recipe tutorials.
Her secret? “I like to show off on my social media that I can do it by hand, but if I’m having a large party, I use a pasta maker,” Munno said.
While you don’t necessarily need a pasta maker to make a batch of noodles at home, having one on hand definitely cuts down on prep time and will impress all of your family and friends.
Munno named two pasta makers that she uses frequently: the Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine and the Imperia pasta maker. “The Marcato is simple, inexpensive and does the job quite well for a home cook,” she said. “The Empire is very similar. I would rate them at about the same level of functionality and [they] are great machines for beginners.”
Both machines function with two rollers that flatten dough into even sheets, and are equipped with attachments can be used to stamp different shapes and texture into the dough sheets, priming your pieces of pasta for perfect cooking.
The Marcato machine is loved by culinary professionals around the world (including HuffPost’s food and drink editor and culinary school graduate Kristen Aiken) for good reason. The machine is made of high-quality stainless steel and includes a pasta cutter, plastic hand crank and clamp. It can roll dough into sheets 6 inches (150 millimeters) wide and up to 4.8 millimeters thick. And in addition to being able to instantly make lasagna, fettuccine and tagliolini, this machine is also compatible with 12 other attachments to create even more pasta shapes.
But if you’re looking for a slightly less expensive option, Munno’s other recommendation, the chrome-plated Imperia pasta maker, has a 6-inch wide roller and a wood grip handle. With the adjustable dial and removable cutters, you can fully customize the thickness of your pasta to make tasty lasagna sheets, fettuccine and spaghetti.
If you’re curious about the price difference, we spotted a few distinctions: The Marcato has a slightly longer minimum two year-warranty compared to Imperia’s one-year warranty. In addition, there are 12 attachments available for the Marcato, while the Imperia offers 7 options that are sold separately.
Reviewers find both of these machines super easy to use, and based on customer enthusiasm, it seems like either the Marcato or the Imperia will make pasta nights way more fun and memorable. But if you need a little more convincing to add one to your cart, see what the reviewers are saying:
“After taking a cooking class in Milan and using one of these, I was hooked. The chef said it was the only model worth buying. My sister, who was in the class with me, both bought one so we can have pasta nights. I bring mine to hers and vice versa, so we’re constantly making pasta, side by side. Not only is it fun to use, it’s easy, too. No experience necessary. The more you do it, the better it gets. But right from day 1, this was a purchase I was thrilled with.” — KevinB_NYC
“I took a pasta making class in Italy this summer and had to buy a pasta machine. The class had these exact machines and she used them twice a day 5 days a week and they were still sturdy. Bought one as soon as we got home and love using it. If you follow the instructions it makes the perfect pasta. I am now even making ravioli and lasagna with the machine. Great value for the price and family time with the kids!” — Peter Ferdico
“I’ve had one of these for over 12 years, which we originally got as a wedding gift. This machine changed how I viewed pasta as all of a sudden fresh pasta became easier than cooking it from a box and SO much better tasting! The quality is outstanding, build of all metal parts with excellent opposition of the various cutters. The gear mechanism is smooth and powerful for rolling even thicker doughs without difficulty. I bought a second one for my little sister recently, but my 12 year old frequently used one is still in pristine condition.” — David Nolan
“This is an amazing investment. I now make lasagna and homemade pasta about once a month. I have a feeling that I am going to have a lifelong friendship with this pasta maker. After watching some youtube videos showing techniques, I felt like it was very easy to use. I doubt I will ever buy pre-made/store bought pasta EVER again. I’ve had this pasta maker for six months now and it has never given me problems. Just don’t get it wet (from what I read). But this should not pose as a problem because all you need to do for clean up is wipe the flour off with a kitchen towel. Easy to assemble. You know exactly what is going into your food. Fun to use. Delicious.” — Diana Chiley