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This attractive silver Pasta Machine measures approximately 19cm x 17cm x 16cm (h) when fully assembled. An optional attachment allows you to turn your pasta sheets into either spaghetti or fettuccine. Alternatively the pasta sheets can be used for lasagne or to press ravioli. An adjustable clamp is included so that the machine can be securely fastened to a range of surfaces. It also includes a recipe booklet an instructions.
The first time I ever made pasta in the classroom I was slightly intimidated (especially as a lot of the children in my pre-school come from Italian families who take the subject of spaghetti quite seriously!) but I was delighted to discover that it’s actually really straightforward. With the Pasta Machine you just make the dough, repeatedly run the dough through the rollers to stretch and strengthen it (starting from the widest setting and turning the numerical dial to make the rollers progressively tighter) and then feed it through the blades to make spaghetti or fettuccine.
The Pasta Machine is unique as a cooking tool because it requires a great deal of strength and gross motor coordination. Many kitchen tools and utensils focus primarily on fine motor movements of the hands and fingers. The larger muscle groups, and a sense of overall strength, can sometimes miss out. The Pasta Machine incorporates those large movements and provides a workout for children. The motion of cranking the handle, particularly as the wheels get closer, is not as easy as it looks and children love putting their muscles into action as they turn it.
One of my favourite aspects of the pasta machine is that it naturally inspires a long process. The more times that the dough is fed through the rollers, the stronger it becomes. Sustained attention, and purposeful repetition, actually improves the outcome as well as creating an enjoyable process.
In a classroom context, or in a home with multiple siblings, the Pasta Machine is also a great way of promoting spontaneous teamwork. As the sheets of pasta get longer a child will often ask a friend for help (or discover that a friend spontaneously offers it!) to hold the sheet up as they turn the handle and/or to catch the sheet as it comes through.
One of my favourite Pasta Machine memories was the first time that I made homemade pasta with my niece when she was around 10 years old. She adored the machine and enthusiastically rolled sheet after sheet (we had far more than we could eat by the end of the night!) She decided to make “pillow pasta” (aka. ravioli!) so we left our sheets of dough intact, rather than rolling them through the blades, and hand-pressed our ravioli squares. My niece was incredibly proud of creating her dinner entirely from scratch and she still often speaks about how fun it was. We’ve made many meals together but that one seems to stand out in her mind, perhaps because the long process of making and rolling the dough meant that we got to spend a particularly long time in the kitchen together, chatting and laughing as we worked.
From preschoolers through to primary school children, adolescents and adults this is a piece that will stand the test of time and inspire engaging experiences and delicious dinners!
Simple pasta dough recipe:
2 and a half cups of plain flour
4 eggs (or equivalent egg-replacer product, such as this one that we use in my own classroom for the protection of children with egg allergies)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
Keep some plain flour handy to dust as needed.
Sift the flour into a bowl, add the eggs (or egg replacement) and mix by hand.
Don’t worry if the dough seems a bit dry, that will prevent it from sticking in the machine.
Place the dough on a clean work surface (such as our Non Stick Pastry Mat) and knead by hand.
Run the dough through the rollers of the pasta machine to create sheets.
Run the sheets through the blades to create strands.