Many people opt for the packaged dry pasta to avoid the process of preparing the raw dough. Unfortunately, they do not know what they are missing out. Fresh pasta is one of the tastiest meals ever made. It is no wonder that it is among the few meals that have lasted for more than two centuries. In the late eighteenth century, the first pasta maker was made to help peasants knead and shape the dough. Since then, there have been great improvements in terms of size and functionalities of these machines. Even though the best ones are very pricey, you can still get some of the best electric pasta makers under $100.
Factors to consider when buying a pasta maker under $100
When it comes to pasta makers, the adage “less is more” does not quite cut it. The expensive the machine the more functions it has. For instance, the most expensive pasta makers have a kneading function. You are only required to fill them with the right ingredients, and they will perform all the functions for you, from kneading to shaping the pastas.
Cheap pasta makers require more of your input, in terms of kneading. However, they produce the same results when it comes to shaping pastas. So, if you are a bit stretched financially and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then a cheap pasta maker is not a bad choice. Here are factors to consider when buying a pasta maker under $100.
Does it come with a number of shaping discs?
Make sure the pasta maker comes with a number of discs for different shapes and sizes. This will allow you to produce different types of pastas. They should range from regular discs that produce spaghetti, lasagna, and fettuccine to rounded discs, which produce macaroni, penne, rigatoni, and rotelle.
Unfortunately, for a $100 price or less, you are likely to get very few discs. Even if that is to be the case, make sure that the machine supports other discs. This will allow you to buy separately whichever discs you want.
How many thickness settings does it have?
Aside from shape and sizes, another major difference between pastas is the thickness. For instance, Penne requires very thin dough, while Fusili and Pappardelle are a bit thicker. Make sure the machine has settings to adjust the thickness of the dough. The more the settings, the better, because you will be able to make many types of pasta.
Is it easy to clean?
Hygiene is a priority when it comes to food. Ensure therefore that the pasta maker is easy to clean. Understand that you will be required to open up and disassemble most of the parts, before cleaning them thoroughly. After you are through, you will have to reassemble the machine again. Go for machines that are not overly complicated, as they will frustrate you. Some also come with cleaning appliances, such as brushes and disc cleaning pieces.
What about durability?
The quality of the construction material will indicate to you if the pasta maker will be durable or not. Low quality plastic machines are prone to breakdowns and should be avoided at all costs. Look for the ones constructed from stainless steel or anodized aluminum, as they are sturdy and resistant to rust.
Never compromise on quality, even if you are spending less. Also, make sure you get a good warranty just to be certain you are not throwing away your money. Most electric pasta makers have one year warranty, which is enough to know how the machine functions.
Safety features I should consider
One of the major weakness of these devices is that they tend to overheat after some time. The duration differs among different models, with the highest ranked models overheating after 45 minutes of continuous working. You should, therefore, look out for an auto shutoff function that will switch off the device when it overheats.
Another equally important factor is the amount of dough it will produce before it overheats. The more pasta it produces, the better. Some of the best devices produce 3 pounds of pasta within a 45-minute timeframe. A device that can produce at least 2 pounds is therefore not bad for a $100 price or less. Also, consider the duration it takes to cool off. It should be no longer than 15 minutes, or it will inconvenience you during those critical moments when you have guests.
In addition, ensure it has a safety switch or lever that prevents it from working when the lid or the shaping discs are not properly installed.