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A genuinely excellent resource if you want to use Pasta Machines successfully. It is written by somebody with years of practical experience and can take a lot of the pain and heartache away from the pasta adventure. There in a lot of untested misinformation on the internet and rather that waste time I have found this book a reliable shortcut to success in using these various devices and producing a delicious result. She has clearly spent a lot of time practically researching the area and the result is clear directions that worked for me. If you want to make it like a professional pasta chef I’d buy this book, it is excellent!
Absolutely fantastic! This book is THE BOOK I’ve been searching for..... Wonderful content, spanning everything from sheet pasta to extruded dough and a super recipe section that I’ve already made a number of dishes from (only having the book for a week)!
I am disappointed. I expected a book called "ultimate" to have a LOT more information on actually using the machinery and the various types, with plenty of photos and explanations, but there is very little. It's mostly recipes. Nothing at all on the differences between types of manual machines, different attachments (or how to use them), nothing on deep cleaning or maintenance. I wanted technical information, and details, but got general guidance.
The Kitchenaid attachment gets more coverage, but even that is skimpy (and since I use a manual machine with different widths for the roller settings, it was useless). She mentions the thickness settings on the Kitchenaid by their number, but nowhere gives us actual thicknesses in milimetres so we can match the KA settings with those on our Atlas or other manual machines. Nothing is mentioned about using an electric motor for an Atlas roller or even the speed in rolling on any machine. In the recipes she almost never gives a thickness measurement for pasta or noodles.
Several noodles have wavy edges, like reginette and lasagne ricce. Nowhere is the reason for these edges explained, or whether an attachment or hand cutter is best to produce these noodles. Or even what sort of attachment you need.
She doesn't say which doughs work best at which thicknesses or noodle styles (gluten formation and elasticity may affect preferred thickness). Noodles get very brief mentions with some dough recipes, but nothing about what sort of cutter or attachment is best to make them or if there are differences between making them and pasta. There's very little on the gluten content of different flours and how to compensate when using non-glutinous flours in your dough.
She uses unbleached, all-purpose flour for her basic recipes, but doesn't explain that the protein content in the USA can vary dramatically depending on region (the King Arthur flour she recommends is high protein at about 12%, and equivalent to our standard Canadian AP flour). She passes over lower-protein "tipo 00" Italian pasta flours (8-9% protein) that are typically used in other recipe books without explaining why. Nor does she get into the differences between the glutens in wheat and durum (semolina) flours.
The only extruder she mentions in passing is the Kitchaid attachment, but with nothing on equivalent dies on manual machines. The manual ones (and their dies) get ignored. Nor is there any information on how to best extrude and cut various pasta shapes using a manual extruder. What lengths are recommended? A few partial photos of drying racks are shown but none of the "flour sack" bags or towels she mentions in the text (or where to get them).
She often mentions dusting fresh pasta to keep it from sticking but doesn't explain how much to use of have photos that visually show too little, or too much flour. She mentions dough hydration in a few places but doesn't explain what it is, how it affects the process on different machines or pastas, or how to calculate it (figuring hydration is elementary in bread baking books).
She mentions a chitarra but not how to use it or where to get one, or even why it is used (or preferred). Nor are any of the other accessories like adjustable cutters, ravioli pressing forms or attachments, or specific handheld pasta rollers covered. Nor does she go into detail about the best lengths for different types of pasta. Her suggested cooking times don't take into account the thickness of the pasta, either. I could not find anything about what oil or other additives do in the dough or to the gluten formation.
Her recipes are reasonably good, and her doughs are worth knowing. Her serving sizes are shown (which is also good), using the standard 100g flour/1egg/plus other ingredients per person. We find this rather generous and usually cut back to 75g or less each, but that's a personal matter. She also includes a basic recipe for homemade ricotta cheese, which is very welcome, as is her recipe sage brown butter. But as good as they are, the recipes can't compensate for the lack of more detailled, technical information about the machinery itself in a book titled "ultimate.".
Her list of sources for equipment is welcome, but doesn't even mention Marcato, the manufacturer of the most popular manual pasta roller and cutter.
I am fortunate that this is only one of a few dozen books on pasta making in my library, and that others explain some of the missing information, but not all, especially about pasta machines themselves. Despite its title, it is not the "utlimate" book on using and maintaining pasta machines.
This book is clearly written and logically explained with both an artisanal and scientific approach to making various types of pasta at home. It is aimed at both the beginner as well as seasoned pasta makers. It has much to teach everyone who opens it, written by a master of her craft who unselfishly shares her tips, tricks, and secrets. Bravo Lucy for an outstanding guide to the wonderful world of homemade pasta!
Well and clearly written book. Chef Lucy Vaserfirer explains how to make pasta dough and then shape it with various mechanical tools and equipment in a very approachable nonna yet professional style. Excellent recipe section with sauces and serving suggestions. Great reference book anyone that loves making pasta should have at arms reach on their bookshelf.
Fantastic book! A real how-to guide to perfect pasta. The author is incredibly helpful and is very active on social media, the dough recipes for the Torchio is a must... anyone with a pasta machine or an adventurous cooking spirit must have this book!
Lucy is a talented Chef, culinary instructor and published author of several other fabulous cookbooks. I am so happy to add this one to my “Lucy” collection.
I have an embarrassing number of cookbooks, and a large portion of those are dedicated to pasta and noodles of all kinds. What makes this book unique is that this is the only one I have that really focuses on the proper use of three different pasta machines (a sheeter, an extruder and a cavatelli maker) to make a variety of noodles. As a pasta instructor, I am frequently asked about the differences between these machines and the proper way to use them. This book tackles all these questions and will give a home cook as well as someone more experienced the answers they need and the confidence to use each one efficiently. The book is not limited to the use of the machines, it is chock full of recipes, techniques and sources for pasta tools (and filled with beautiful images, most of which Lucy has captured herself).
Lucy writes her recipes in a way that is understandable and approachable for a home cook, but also in a way that culinary students or professional chefs will appreciate. It is a must have for a new or experienced pasta maker!