Stuff We Love: Pasta Made With an Imperia Pasta Machine
There's almost nothing that you can make with two cups of flour and a few eggs that tastes as good as homemade pasta. There's something about the smooth and silky taste and texture of thin, homemade fettuccine that just can't be replicated in store-bought pasta. For something as easy to make as homemade pasta, you shouldn't be going to a gourmet grocery store to overpay when it's simple and fun to make at home. But, to make the best pasta you should get a homemade pasta maker like my CucinaPro Imperia Pasta Machine.
Why I Own an Imperia Homemade Pasta Maker
Growing up, about once a year my mom would make homemade noodles for soup. She would hand-knead and hand-cut them, which took a lot of work. They were amazing, and I always looked forward to her homemade noodle soup.
As an adult, I would occasionally splurge on the fresh pasta in the refrigerator aisle of the grocery store. Then one day, when we were eating at a chef's table at a fancy restaurant, we watched the chef use a pasta maker to make homemade pasta. It looked far easier than I had imagined, so I started looking for a pasta machine and found the Imperia Pasta Maker.
What's Great About It
The best thing about the CucinaPro Imperia Pasta Machine is that you can make homemade pasta with it! It's easy to set up and you can use the machine within seconds of getting it out of the box. Here are some of its features:
- It cuts dough about 6" wide into spaghetti or fettuccine strips.
- The grip is made of beechwood and is very solid and easy to turn.
- It comes with a recipe (and directions) book.
Simple, 3-Step Process
Making homemade pasta with the Imperia pasta machine is a three-step process. First, you make the dough. There are different recipes you can try ranging from basic flour and egg pasta to adding spinach or tomato (for color and a hint of flavor). This past weekend I made homemade wheat pasta with flax seed in it. (Note, if you try this, it takes a few more cranks through the rolling part of the machine for the thicker dough to come together properly.)
After you mix the dough (some say to knead it, but I never do), you take a small piece and run it through the rolling/flattening piece of the pasta machine. Then you fold it in half and roll it through the same size again. You roll the dough (folding in half each time) through the thickest setting on the roller about 5-7 times. This acts to knead the dough and helps give the pasta that great texture.
After the sheet of pasta seems to be pretty smooth (there's no magic here; it's personal preference), you start adjusting the dial on your pasta maker, making the thickness of the pasta thinner and thinner each time. Adjust the dial from 1 to 2 and run the sheet of pasta through the machine. Then adjust from 2 to 3 and so on. The Imperia has 7 setting and the 7 is extremely thin. Sometimes I just make pasta that's at the 2 or 3 thickness level, sometimes I go all the way up to 7. Again, it's personal preference.
Finally, you cut the pasta. This involves running the sheet of pasta (ideally slightly dried first) through the cutting piece of the maker. The Imperia comes with a fettuccine and a spaghetti cutter with additional attachments available as accessories.
What It Compares To
There is only one similar product to the CucinaPro Imperia 150 and that's the Marcato Wellness 150. When I was in the market for a pasta maker the Imperia came with an extra attachment and a bonus ravioli maker, which is why I opted for it over the Marcato. That isn't offered anymore. The only differences between the machines today is that the Marcato is made from aluminum rather than chrome-plated steel and the Marcato has 9 thickness settings instead of 7. I can't imagine having a thinner pasta than is made at the 7 thickness.The Imperia is about $10 cheaper.
Who It Is Best For
The Imperia pasta maker is great for anyone who likes pasta and likes cooking. It's fun to use for dinner parties — there's nothing like standing around drinking wine while taking turns cranking the pasta machine. And it would make a great wedding present.
How It Could Be Better
I honestly cannot think of anything I would change about the pasta maker. The one thing to know is that it's a hand crank machine as opposed to an electric machine. An electric pasta maker would be less work — but it would also be half the fun and about twice as expensive.
What They Don't Tell You in the Manual
A key thing to know about the machine is that to clean it, you should run a damp paper towel through the machine.
Also, make sure you buy a pasta drying rack with the machine. For $11 you'll be glad you're not trying to lay pasta all over your kitchen to dry.
Bottom Line Recommendation
The CucinaPro Imperia 150 is a great homemade pasta machine for silky smooth, delicious pasta.
Where to Get Yours
What's your favorite homemade pasta maker?