Pasta making implements of one sort or another have been around for a long time. The oldest that we are aware of, for cutting thin strands, is the Chitarra (pronounced key-tahr-rah, it's Italian for guitar). An important symbol of the Abruzzi region of Italy, the Chitarra originated around 1800 in the province of Chieti.
The first mechanical home model is credited to have been manufactured by the Vitantonio Mfg. Co. in 1906, the same year Fante's was founded. (Vitantonio Patents: 1906 and 1920)
The first practical electric extrusion pasta machine was patented by a Alfredo Cavallo in 1980, and widely marketed as the Simac.
Despite the convenience of a machine that automatically kneads the dough and extrudes the pasta, and the ability to make tubular shapes, there are distinct advantages in using a mechanical rolling pasta maker.
♦ Rolled pasta is about twice as light (half as dense) as extruded pasta, which makes it lighter tasting and better able to absorb sauces.
♦ The thickness of rolled pasta can be controlled from paper-thin to cookie-thick, whereas the size of the die controls the thickness in extruded pasta.
♦ Rolled pasta cooks in less than half the time that it takes for extruded pasta.
♦ Rolled pasta recipes have greater flexibility than extruded pasta recipes, which are limited to certain consistencies and lack the ability to add whole ingredients, which would not pass through the dies.
♦ Shapes of pasta are quite diverse. Check the links at right for images and descriptions of pasta shapes.
Brush and scrape
Wipe off flour with a pastry brush.
Use a plastic scraper to remove any sticking dough.
Keep the pasta maker away from any kind of moisture.
Lubricate from time to time, depending on the humidity in your environment:
Place a drop of mineral oil where each roller meets the body.
Wipe the wires of your chitarra with an oil-dampened cloth.
Store in the original box, in a dry place.
We don't recommend taking pasta makers apart. Contact us or the manufacturer.
User Manuals and Guides
Great Aunt Gina's Pasta Machine
Marcato Atlas 150
Marcato Linea 3 Facile
Lello PastaMaster 2200 & 3000
Simac PastaMatic 1400, 1000, and 700
By our friend Louise Cianfero Simpson in Italian Food & Folklore
There is an Italian saying: The more water, the sweeter the pasta!
Please, don't ever overcook pasta. My late husband liked his pasta soft. It almost broke up our marriage! After a lot of training, he finally understood pasta should alwys be eaten al dente (to the tooth).
For every pound of pasta use 6 quarts of water. There are those who say you must use two tablespoons of salt for each pound of pasta or dozen raviol; I don't.
Fresh pasta cooks faster than dried pasta.
If you have frozen pasta, always cook it frozen. Never thaw!
One pound of fresh pasta is enough for 4 people for a main course; if you want to use it for an appetizer, there's enough for 6.
Italian Food & Folklore
Copyright © 1996 by Louise Cianfero Simpson, Used with Permission