Atlas Pasta Machine, circa 1970's

I always found it interesting how many people say they love pasta yet have never eaten fresh pasta.

You need fresh pasta in your life. You need a home pasta cutting machine. Unfortunately I’m willing to bet a lot of  these old workhorses are being used as boat anchors. I rescued my Atlas pasta machine from the ‘rents basement. If I remember right, it was a gift to my mother in the late 70’s. Works great and the design hasn’t changed in decades. Even better, you can still buy all of the attachments at most kitchen supply stores.

Why fresh pasta? Why make the extra effort?

It’s easy to do. Pasta has been a food staple dating back to 1,000 BC in Central Asia. Virtually every culture in the world makes a version of it. A 3,000 year old recipe is nothing to fear. Most noodles are made of 4 or less ingredients (eg: Eggs, Flour, Water, Oil).

It’s natural. The drying of pasta was started for the purpose of long term storage before the age of refrigeration. Today most commercially sold dry pastas contain additives to aid in shelf life. That open box of spaghetti that’s been in the cabinet for 3 years? Yep, still edible.

Damn it! Fresh pasta just tastes better. It cooks in a few minutes to a perfect chewy texture and that glutinous starchy coating that forms when cooked makes any sauce cling and coat evenly.

The home pasta machine is a workhorse for sure, but they do need some special care. Never wash one with water after use. The flour and dough inside the moving parts and blades will dry as hard as superglue. Just brush the excess flour and dough off with a dry pastry brush.

I like to keep my machine, all the attachments, and accessories such as pastry brush, ravioli stamp and cutters in a Tupperware box. Having to look for or replace lost parts… well that just sucks.  Everything is in one spot for the next time you’re craving a bowl of homemade ramen or good old spaghetti.

If you have a pasta machine kicking around the house, it’s time to knock the dust off. If not and you see one at a yard sale or hanging off the bow of a boat..  snag it. Get rolling.