As an amateur cook aspiring to follow in the path of mother’s effortlessly perfect dinners, I had always been fascinated by the idea of making pasta by hand. But when my first forays into the kitchen revealed that I couldn’t even get boxed brownies right, making homemade pasta for my Italian family seemed like an impossible feat.
Fast forward through a few more epic kitchen fails, and I was away from home for the first time, studying abroad in Florence. I could cook well enough to feed myself and follow a basic recipe, so I decided to take a course on fresh pasta at a local culinary school. In a colorful, homestyle test kitchen in the quiet Oltrarno neighborhood, I spent the day making fresh tagliatelle and ravioli, and I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Now it’s my favorite meal to experiment with for Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house, but I also crave it in my Alphabet City apartment with a galley kitchen small enough to fit on a boat.
This list of tools will help save time and space while making your favorite pasta dish by hand.
KitchenAid Pasta Extension
If you already own a stand mixer, this extension set is a great space saver. Easy to tuck away on a shelf while not in use, each piece can be attached to the mixer to thin out the dough and then cut it into the pasta shape of your choice. It’s the best tool for easy lasagna or tagliatelle noodles. Williams Sonoma
Imperia Pasta Machine
This is the tool for pasta purists who prefer to crank their dough by hand, or those who have the kitchen space to add another nifty tool to their collection. You can use this hand crank the same way you’d use an electric tool, with a bonus arm workout. Williams Sonoma
When it comes to pasta sauce, I prefer using measurements in the form of pinches, spoonfuls, and sprinkles, but for great pasta dough precision is a must. Italian recipes use grams instead of cups, so it saves time to use a scale than to try and convert measurements. Williams Sonoma
This little tool has been a lifesaver for me countless times when I’m pulling together a last-minute pasta dinner as family or guests are walking through the door. Fresh pasta is a messy process, and there’s no way to avoid it. And it’s never a quick clean-up—dough scraps sticking to countertops or cutting boards only become even more gluey when you try to scrub them off with a wet sponge. Enter this life-changing gadget and you can easily scrape it all into the trash without ruining your counters. Central Restaurant
Pasta Drying Rack
When I cook in my grandma’s kitchen with infinite counter space, I let my noodles rest on baking sheets covered in parchment paper and dusted with flour while I finishing working with the rest of the dough. But for smaller kitchens, this wooden drying rack is an essential. Save valuable counter space by hanging noodles on the rack, either just to hold or to dry the pasta for storage. Plus, it folds up for easy storage. Sur La Table