Kitchn Love Letters

I Splurged on This Top-of-the-Line Pasta Maker — And I’m Never Going Back to Store-Bought Noodles

published Nov 1, 2021
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Credit: Emma Fiala

Last October, when my husband, Johan, and I drove to Malcesine, a historic village along the mountainous, northeastern shore of Lake Garda, we didn’t know yet that Germany (where we live) was weeks away from the start of a seven-month lockdown. We just thought a long weekend away would be nice and Italy’s largest lake is one of our favorite escapes. A scenic, southbound drive from our home in Bavaria gets us there in about six hours, and taking our car means it’s easy to stock up on weighty liquids like wine and olive oil. 

Aside from consumable essentials, I didn’t have plans to buy much else on that trip. Maybe a pair of chic, comfortable loafers, if the opportunity presented itself. That was going to be it. But then this Marcato Atlas 150 happened. A window display of lovely kitchenware caught my eye (something that always happens, regardless of locale) and there it was: shiny, silver, seductive. If a pasta rolling machine can have a “come hither” gaze, the Italian-made Atlas 150 peered right into my soul. With sunlight glinting off its surface like a beacon of culinary comfort, I entered the store.

“I’ll wait out here,” Johan said. He knew my visit was unlikely to be brief and he was correct. I emerged an indeterminate amount of time later, having established through a choppy blend of English, German, and a few scraps of my own elementary Italian that the proprietor did indeed have a silver Atlas 150 available. Of course, I bought it.

Credit: Summer Rylander

Out of the box, the Atlas 150 (which, by the way, is available in a wide range of colors, should the classic silver be too boring for your tastes) is ready to roll your pasta dough through 10 levels of thickness, and then cut those sheets into either fettuccine or tagliolini. There’s a glorious array of available attachments and accessories for this machine, all of which I would love to have, but, you know, restraint and budget, blah blah — fine, I’ll expand my collection gradually.

Anyway, the first time I used my Atlas 150, I turned a lump of dough into many haphazard sheets. Some were more tragic in appearance than others, but all of them were shortly transformed into the best lasagna I’ve ever made; ragged edges hidden in velvety tomato sauce and luxuriously seasoned buffalo-milk ricotta.

Shoutout to my Italian friend Dani, who, upon listening to my struggles with my shaggy first-attempt dough, advised me to knead continuously for a full 10 minutes before even thinking about passing a piece through the Atlas rollers. This made all the difference and my subsequent use of the machine has been hand-cranked bliss. I didn’t realize until later that the Atlas 150 is considered the go-to for pasta rolling machines, so it’s no wonder I was enjoying myself!

Our spontaneous purchase proved timely last year (see aforementioned reference to a seven-month lockdown), but, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no bad time to bring an Atlas 150 into your own life. I’m already scheming more pasta dishes and cozy weekend cooking projects now that fall is upon us once again, and I’m excited to have a handsome partner by my side. My husband will be there too, of course.

Do you have a pasta machine you love? Tell us about it in the comments!