My family loves pasta, and making fresh, light, homemade pasta has always been a culinary dream of mine. Unfortunately, making pasta is a messy process that requires a lot of stuff. You have to mix the dough, roll it out, cut the pasta or send it through a shaper. There’s a lot of steps, so it’s no wonder most people prefer to just buy it in a box.
One day I was browsing my local yard sale site and I saw a posting for the Philips Pasta Maker. I scored the machine new in box for $10! That’s a $290 savings off the retail price!
The machine comes with 4 die (lasagna, spaghetti, fettuccine and penne), a recipe booklet, 2 measuring cups and a scraper device for cutting the pasta as it comes out of the machine. It’s very well built and the silver front you see in the picture that says “Philips” is actually heavyweight metal. It’s solid.
I washed all the parts and let them dry before giving it a go. I added 2 measuring cups of all purpose flour and 1 measuring cup of 2 eggs and water. (The eggs were from my chickens.) I put on the penne disc and let the machine work its magic. It really was as easy as the online videos made it look.
The result? Meh. Doughy. Very chewy. I wasn’t impressed with the first run-through. The penne was very starchy and absorbed nearly all of the sauce I put on it, thickening the rest of the sauce to the point where it was more like a pudding than a sauce. I was disappointed and glad I only paid $10 for it.
I set the machine aside for a couple of days while I decided whether I wanted to re-sell it on the yard sale site or try again. My husband told me to try again and I looked up some tips on the internet for getting lighter, better pasta. One that stood out was to add more water and a touch of olive oil – the tip was from Philip’s own website, so I felt like it was trustworthy enough.
Again I set up the machine, but this time with the spaghetti die. I added 2 parts flour and 1 part egg/water. Then I added a little more water. I finished it off by adding about a TBSP of olive oil. I also stopped the machine and scraped the sides with a rubber spatula since I noticed the first time that some of the liquid ran down the side of the mixing chamber and never got incorporated.
The results were much better. The pasta was lighter and came through the disc easier. It had a slight yellow color rather than the stark white color of the first batch. It was a little stickier than the first time, so I would recommend NOT letting the fresh spaghetti heap up on a plate like I did because it will sort of form a clump. Use a pasta rack or even a cookie sheet with wax paper.
I boiled the spaghetti in water for about 4 minutes, which was too long. There was a thick starch foam on top of the water again. I drained and rinsed the pasta this time to help with that, but it still thickened my sauce uncontrollably. I wonder if semolina flour would prevent that? The texture of the pasta was better – much less dense and chewy. More like the homemade pasta I remember my nonni making.
At this point, I don’t think I have my recipe down yet, but I definitely see the potential. Changing my flour and letting the pasta rest more spread out will help. I’ll try again in a few days.
My overall rating? 4 out of 5 stars. The machine has the potential to be great and it’s definitely easy to use, but I think it requires a more expensive flour to work well. I would never buy this machine for $300.