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KitchenAid Pasta Extruder

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Posted by johngl

Pasta is really pretty cheap. Even premium, so-called hand made dried pastas go for around $3-5 per pound at the local grocer. So why in the world would anyone spend $179 for a pasta extruder?

Pasta Press by KitchenAid

Personally, I think it’s because I had a real fondness for the Play-Doh Fun Factory that belonged to a neighbor girl named Robin back in ’65. Then again, I may have had the fondness for Robin and she just happened to have the Fun Factory. She also had an Easy-Bake Oven. Hmmm. That could explain a lot. Does anyone else remember the horrible taste of stuff baked in that thing? It was probably the lead paint giving off fumes or something (that really could explain a lot!)

So, anyway, I’ll need to make about a pound of fresh pasta a week for a couple of years to get that money back, but it will be good for a few posts. Luckily, winter is coming and we have pasta a lot more frequently in winter.

the extruder

Off to the left, you may notice that I mounted the thing on my most powerful KitchenAid Stand Mixer (I have two).  I looked at this and decided I had done something incorrectly: there was no place to put the pasta dough.  Hmmm.

I fiddled around and even looked at instructions (it’s okay, the most glorious spousal unit didn’t see me) to try and figure out how to remove the die set from the top; the instructions let me down. Finally, after several minutes of careful examination, I discovered that you have to press in (with a lot of pressure!) on the sides of clear cover to disengage from the body of the machine.

there, that looks a little better

There, that looks a little better.  At least it looks a little more functional.

Now, to decide which pasta shape to make. Should it be small or large macaroni? Bucatini or spaghetti? Fusilli or rigatoni?  It has a die set for each of these. Pretty cool, eh?  I can even make some hollow pastas with this thing.  The Fun Factory couldn’t even do that.

Choosing fusilli because of its twisted nature (I’m nothing if not consistent), I grabbed the correct die, unscrewed the cap, took the spaghetti die out, then put the fusilli die in. Quick and easy.

Now, about the pasta dough. There were several recipes for dough in the instruction booklet that I discovered whilst looking for how to remove the die set. The instructions suggest starting with a simple dough your first time out. Nice of them to warn me.

Following the instructions to the letter, I grabbed three eggs and 2-3/4 cups of sifted all-purpose flour.  The instructions said if my eggs didn’t equal 3/4 cup, I needed to add water.

short of 3/4 cup

I added water.

I used the paddle attachment to mix the yolk-water mixture with the sifted flour until it just started to come together.  I swapped out the paddle for the dough hook and watched the KitchenAid knead the dough for two minutes at level two (this was all in the instructions). I then kneaded by hand for another couple of minutes. The instructions said 30 seconds, but it was barely holding together.

The instructions said to break the dough into “walnut sized pieces.”  Would that be English or Black?

cut into walnut sized chunks

So, one by one I pushed these dough chunks into the mixer with the really cheesy (sorry KitchenAid, but that thing is just bad)  plastic pusher thingy.

And guess what?  It actually worked!  The machine extruded the pasta dough but I used the little wire cutter thingy rather imprecisely initially.  Between stuffing dough balls into the extruder, pushing it down with the crappy pusher thing, and moving the cutting wire back and forth, I started having trouble with my timing.  Some fusilli are long, others are short.  It definitely looks homemade.

fusilli!

I dusted the fusilli with flour so they wouldn’t stick together and laid them out on a clean towel.

Setting a pot of water to a boil for the pasta, we opted for having some more of that left over pork loin roast with a creamy carbonara sauce.  I was curious how well the homemade pasta would hold the sauce, since that is the greatest benefit of making pasta at home.

Into the salted water went the pasta:

boiling pasta

Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes.  Watch it, or you might overcook it.

gripping the sauce

Mixing the pasta in with the sauce, things were looking pretty good.  It was holding nicely!

pork with carbonaron on fusilli

The pasta actually held onto a lot of sauce. It had a good chew to it and wasn’t at all mushy. It tasted like a good quality fresh pasta.

So, given the expense and the effort, I bet you are wondering just how often I will use this new kitchen toy. While I probably won’t do the weekly thing for two years straight, I certainly hope to get some value out of this sucker. It’s easier to use than the pasta roller, so that is a plus, too.

I think I see more fresh pasta in my future.

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27 Responses to “KitchenAid Pasta Extruder”

  1. Marilyn says:

    I was so happy when I went to this website and was able to find out how I could remove the storage container from the Kitchen Aid pasta press. It felt good to know I wasn’t the only challenged one in the crowd. Going to use it for the first time today….can’t wait to see how it works for me. Thanks for the help and advice.

  2. FV says:

    I bought the KA pasta extruder a month ago without knowing much about it and without having done any research. I had not seen it on offer at the TSC previously and had 2 months to return it so I thought I would take a chance on it. I had bought the Pasta Roller/Fettucine Maker pasta attachment with my original purchase and while I really liked that, I wanted to be able to make other kinds of pasta and not just fettucine.

    I am so excited with this purchase. I have now made pasta twice and quite successfully. I am still learning having been completely self-taught from the internet – isn’t the internet wonderful! I don’t use eggs and so have only made eggless pasta only. The first time my pasta dough was a little too moist for the extruder. By normal standards it was not moist at all but the extruder needs a really dry dough. So, the bucatini and macaroni that I made the first time were good didn’t hold their shapes that well. Yesterday however, I made rigatoni and used a firmer dough: dough that barely came together and this time the rigatoni turned out perfect! I am loving this machine. People have complained about it being difficult to clean but yesterday, as a result of my very stiff dough, the extruder plates came apart in three pieces which I hadn’t realised that they could and as a result, clean-up was a breeze.

    I think if you make egg-based fresh pasta you will need to ensure that the dough is fairly dry – you may have a trial and error period. I have read that the recipes for egg pasta that come with the machine are not that good for the extruder.

    I have not been able to dismantle the wire-cutter from the unit – it came all assembled. According to the instructions I should be able to but I can’t seem to figure out how. As it is easy to clean even when assembled, this I can live with.

    Another point to note is that when the unit arrives, the plates are stored in a plastic case fitted to the unit. It was by accident I was able to get them apart. It was very tough to separate them. You have to press the middle of the transparent case to release the case. There are no instructions for this.

    Anyway, apart from the above my experience so far has been great.

    I bought the KA Professional series in the summer this year and I am really thrilled with the machine overall. I bought the mincer attachment, shredder and juicer attachments as well and I am very pleased with all of them. I also bought the smaller bowl that fits into this unit with the special all-around whisk/beater and am loving that too.

    All in all, a great purchase.

    FYI, most extruded pasta is made with semolina flour, water and salt only. My recipe is 2 cups of semolina flour, between 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of water and salt. I add one tbs of olive oil. Be careful with the water as pasta dough needs to be silky and dry and for the extruder even drier.

  3. I am interested in buying additional dies for mine to do tagliatelle, linguini or fettuccine. I know my parents old pasta maker had those dies. Do you know of anywhere to get such additional dies?

  4. Greg says:

    Just bought this and we are VERY disappointed. The plastic die retainer ring cracked at the threads. The pasta recipe was easy to follow and we did. Just a poor concept and cheap production value. Should have been metal to withstand the pressure. The Kitchen-Aid sheet and fettucine rollers are great, as are the other products of theirs we have purchased. We were expecting much, much more from them.

  5. [...] cautious about the perils of making your own pasta, surf over to the Alcoholian’s blog about making pasta using the KitchenAid pasta press for a detailed glimpse into the process. Share and [...]

  6. santos says:

    great blog, linking to it from mine if you’re interested in seeing what i said

  7. Andie says:

    I am concerned with where this pasta extruder was manufacured. Most sites say Italy, but qvc’s says China. I emailed qvc to check, and the response was that it is made in China. Where was yours made? I emailed Kitchenaid for clarification but did not receive a response. Do you think it may have been made in Italy but now it is made in China? Thanks.
    Can l I get a response sent to my email address?

    • johngl says:

      Mine was made in — wait for it — Italy! And sure, I will email it to you.

    • mx says:

      i just saw a chinese pasta machine with the exact same 5 plates. every detail the same, high quality finish. it’s very unlikely to be a fake. my guess is ka designed the plates, ask the chinese to make them, and they designed their own machine to work with it. the machine looks kinda ugly compare to ka mixer (of course most do), but it makes better looking pasta. it also makes dough and grind meat, and only cost 35 dollars. now i’m really unwilling to buy this because i think it’s like 80% over priced.

  8. Barbara says:

    Where did you get this extruder. I can’t find it anywhere and I want one. I have looked for it on ebay and just googled it. That’s how I found your site. I found it once on ebay but now it’s gone. Help!!! I love to make homemade pasta.

  9. perfumed poodle says:

    I have just bought the kitchenaid kpexta and I too am disappointed as the dies are plastic; especially for the amount this appliance costs in the uk.i I find the machine horrifyingly noisy. It squeals and groans and is slooooow! I expect the motor to blow any moment. The fusilli are straight and the pasta dough has to be exactly right otherwise the pasta sticks together and is imposible to work with. Clean up is a real chore as the pasta sticks to the dies and needs to be left to dry before you can pick it out carefully to avoid damaging the plastic dies. IMO it works pretty well but some parts are cheaply made. It’s frighteningly noisy and definitely not worth UK prices.

  10. John says:

    I just came across this “new” KA appliance recently and your review has been one of the most positive towards it.

    After five months or so, are you still using your extruder? If so, how has it held up over the last few months? Are you able to get consistent results from it?

    • johngl says:

      Results are consistent as long as you use the pasta recipes that come with the unit. If the dough is too dry or too wet things don’t work quite right. The pusher tool is still cheesy. Other folks have said clean up is a pain, but if you let the pasta dry out, it comes right out of the heads.

  11. MW says:

    I went looking for reviews after my first attempt with the Pasta Press failed (I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being overly harsh in my views of its usefulness) and stumbled across your post (my post is here) For $179.99- the Pasta Press just isn’t worth it. I don’t know how you magically got your fusilli to curl- mine were straight as could be! Also, every time I went to cut the rigatoni (after it sloooooowly came out of the tube) every piece of pasta either got stuck together or stuck to the wire cutter. There is something fundamentally wrong in this design! I hope they get it figured out- I love fresh pasta and really wanted to love the Pasta Press.

  12. Caroline says:

    John — Nice post. To get the storage case off the top, though, grab onto each end and, with a twist of the wrists, tip the storage case back to release one long side of it from the unit. It’s no effort at all. The trick is to release just one side — if you try to release both sides at once, it can be difficult.

  13. chefjim says:

    Just saw this and am considering buying it. I already own the pasta roller with spaghetti and fettucine cutters. I was looking for rigatoni and hollow tube pasta and this fits the bill. The pasta maker with the food grinder does not offer much more shapes other than spaghetti and flat noodles, but this unit does. The dyes also look to be stainless steel rather than plastic, which was another concern of mine. As for cost effectiveness, I don’t look at it as once a week for two years to recoup my investment. I usually end up making mulitple batches for my in laws and aunts, as well as batches which I freeze, so my recoupment period will be lower. When I buy it and use it, I will post my results.

    • johngl says:

      Sadly, the dies in this extruder are hard plastic. I was hoping for brass or stainless for the money.

      I too have the roller and fettucine cutters, but this does make for a bit of variety in my homemade pastas.

      Thanks for visiting!

  14. Biz says:

    Loved this post John! I’ve always wanted one of those, but had no idea they were that expensive – I would have guessed $50! It looks good though.

    I made pasta from scratch a while back, and ended up using my pizza cutter to make the noodles – it took forever, but it turned out good.

    Happy Friday!

  15. Tony says:

    Wow, looks great John. My family always made pasta by hand, here and in Italy.

    Some years ago we discovered this pasta, it is the best we have ever found. It is hard to find in the states, but if you see it you might want to give it a shot!

    http://www.martelli.info/english/chisiamo.htm

    Hope you get your monies worth!!

    • johngl says:

      I was hoping the KitchenAid would have brass dies (as the folks you linked to use). It doesn’t, but it does seem to work pretty well.

      I’m guessing it will be more like a 5 year payback plan.

      The nice part is that it only takes a couple of minutes to make the pasta dough, another 10 minutes (maybe) for extruding the pasta. It cooks faster, so time-wise, fresh vs. dry is nearly a wash.

      And it just tastes so much better…

      Thanks for the link Tony!

  16. Can you imagine how much brisket or ribs or pork loin or steaks or chicken or lamb you can buy with that money???

    I will be thrilled to follow your progress, but there is soo much meat and so little time

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