Tools of the trade: The pasta maker

Low-carb spaghetti. Linguine. Macaroni. Ravioli. The world is your oyster-laiden pasta when you have the time, space and werewithall for a pasta maker. 
Whether dough is rolled flat or made into walnut-sized balls and fed into a hopper, what emerges is something pretty wonderful: freedom in the form of something you made yourself.
Just dry the pasta and store it at room temperature, or boil in lightly salted water for a fresh dinner option that won’t leave family asking for the bagged, crunchy, store-bought stuff.
Pasta makers range from simple, hand rolling devices, to the more complicated chrome mini-gods of pasta production.
Manual pasta machines such as the one shown below are heavy-duty workhorses. Simply pre-roll the dough, feed through the machine, and small blades cut beautiful ribbons. Cost? About $50.
The machine to the right is a Kitchenaide mixer with a front-mount pasta extruder. Pasta dough is mixed, allowed to rest, and then fed in waslnut-sized balls to a hopper.
A gear presses dough forward and out of one of the different-shaped (macaroni, spaghetti, linguine, lasagna) forms, creating homemade dinner options. Cost? About $50.
A pasta rolling attachment for the Kitchenaid functions in much the same way as the hand-operated device above. A stainless steel blade fits the front of the mixer, and the gear turns the blades. As sheets of rolled dough are fed into the machine, ribbons are cut, leaving users with egg noodles, ravioli, lasagna and other types of noodles.

This is a more expensive solution to either of the prior appliances, but the call of stainless steel in a sleek mixer is hard to beat for the hard-core foodies. A ravioli attachment, while garnering mixed reviews by users, is still a force to be reckoned with, a mini factory sealing cheese between savory pillows of pasta dough prior to boiling. Cost? A set of these can run anywhere from $150-250.
No matter how you slice it, roll it or feed it to a grinding gear, one thing remains constant: fresh pastas are a tasty time-tested treat, from the kitchen counter to dining room table.
The author is not an affiliate with vendors or products mentioned in this column. Products are random samples searched online.
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