pasta makers: free standing, or attachment to a stand mixer?
Hey folks -
We're in the market for a stand mixer, and are trying to decide whether to get a free standing one, or one that attaches to a stand mixer. We already have the stand mixer.
We'd like to be able to make a variety of pastas, probably won't use it all that often.
The stand mixer doesn't get to live on the counter full-time, currently.
We are concerned about price, but the ones we've seen seem pretty similar.
Any recs? Anyone been through both and can say something about the pros and cons?
I've had both and have settled on the roller that attaches to my KitchenAid mixer, mainly because it's just easier to turn it on and have the rollers (and cutters) constantly turning. Actually, more of a convenience when cutting pasta than just rolling it thin. With the pasta machine that clamps to the counter, it was always a little tricky feeding the pasta sheet in while also turning the crank (not a big deal if you have another pair of hand to help you).
Also, with the stand mixer, any odds and ends fall on the counter, not the floor, making clean up easier.
The mixer attachments tend to be pricey, I think because they're not really interchangeable between brands. The stand-alone pasta machines can be found at much cheaper prices. My pasta attachment came with the roller, a fettucine cutter, and a thin spaghetti cutter, which is all I really need. With the stand-alone pasta machines, you might get a third cutting width, but I don't know how useful they all are. For most people, flat sheets (lasagna, ravioli, hand cut noodles), a thin noodle and a wide noodle are sufficient.
My mixer doesn't live on the counter, but it's not that big of a deal to pull it out for the few times I do make fresh pasta (we use a whole wheat rotini pasta for day to day/weeknight meals).
The real difference is that with the mixer turning the pasta maker, you have both hands free. But lots of people have done just fine with manual pasta makers for a very long time. The other big difference is cost. The roller pasta makers don't make a big variety of shapes. You have to go to an extruder for that. A totally different thing.
re: Bob Loblaw
The two main differences are ease of use, i.e. having a motor drive or not, and price. Either way, with either kind of pasta roller, you can make good pasta. Here are a couple of sites where you can compare prices and see what accessories are available. If you buy a manual roller, you can also get a motor later, if you decide you need one.
A lot of people have not been too happy with the ravioli attachments. For making ravioli, you’re probably better off just rolling out sheets and using a mold like these. http://fantes.com/ravioli.html Or just cut them by hand.