Fresh pasta in a flash
The Philips Pasta and Noodle Maker creates fresh pasta and noodles in next to no time. It does all the hard work for you by automatically mixing, kneading and extruding the finished product. With four shaping discs you can choose between spaghetti, penne, fettuccini/linguini or lasagne. Extra shaping discs are also available if you'd like more choice. It comes with a book of recipes that includes gluten-free along with suggestions for adding different ingredients to personalise the flavour.
Fiona Mair, home economist from CHOICE's test kitchen, found the Pasta and Noodle Maker very easy to use and operate and overall was very impressed with its performance. You can choose between making a 300g or 600g serve of fresh pasta which will take either 10 or 15 minutes to create. Fiona made two batches of spaghetti, penne and lasagne, first using plain all-purpose flour and then using a mixture of durum wheat semolina and all-purpose flour. If you follow the recipe measurements precisely you'll get evenly mixed dough that can be cooked to perfection.
You'll need to cut the pasta to your desired length as it comes out of the machine, and with less mixture to work with at the end of the cycle you may find some pieces to be uneven and tear. However, when making penne, Fiona found that some pieces tore and split throughout the extruding cycle.
Unfortunately, the shaping discs give you no control over the thickness of the pasta or noodles. Fiona found the lasagne sheets were too thick and would require blanching before baking to ensure they're cooked well. When making soba noodles, Fiona found they came out a bit sticky. They needed to be dusted with extra flour and cooked immediately so they wouldn't break.
Ease of use
The machine is fairly quiet to operate and quite easy to assemble, but there are many detachable parts, none of which are dishwasher safe. After the cycle some dough remains inside the disc and around the blade which can make cleaning a chore, especially if you wash every part straight away. Fiona says it's best to let any leftover dough caught in the discs to dry slightly then use the cleaning tools to poke out the dry dough. The tools work well when used like this. The exterior is very easy to wipe over and once all parts are clean there's a convenient storage drawer that fits all the discs and cleaning tool attachments.
Overall, this is an impressive appliance that makes what can be a long and tedious job a fast and efficient one. It may take a few attempts to perfect your recipe but for the best results use either durum semolina flour or a combination of durum and all-purpose flour. If you have time, make a few batches and freeze the pasta for later on.