Here are the tools I use regularly with the brands I recommend where I have a particular favourite.
I love my Marcato Atlas 180. The roller is wider than on some other brands and it’s just a lovely solid machine to handle. Pasta machines not only roll your pasta but also come with attachments, which cut the pasta into tagliatelle or tagliarini for a quick and easy supper.
So humble but so useful, it really is great for cleaning a work surface after kneading pasta dough. Use one with a flexible steel blade, which are good for cutting pasta dough as well.
Track down a cutter with a good brass cutting wheel. They’re more expensive but they are well worth it for the sharp cutting edge. A good cutter gives you a nice clean, decorative edge and also helps to seal fillings inside pastas such as ravioli, triangoli and agnolotti del plin. The best ones I’ve come across are made by Daniel Ewart in Canada with beautiful turned-wood handles.
Garganelli or Cavarola Board
You can search for a basic board online as there are several types available and it’s good to start with a cheap one, but my favourite boards come from Dan Ewart in Canada, who carves them by hand using beautiful woods. I use his boards to make garganelli, malloreddus and capunti, but sometimes I just use a fork or the reverse of a Microplane grater instead. I guess the message is to have fun experimenting a bit before you decide to invest in equipment you may not need.
I got lucky when an Instagram friend sent me a fantastic chittara box from the US, a beautiful, heavy galvanised steel model that was way better than the wooden one I had used before. Try Fantes in the US, or search online, but just know they can be a chunky item to store if you have a small kitchen, and they only make one type of pasta.
These elegant brass rods are used for making busiate – pasta in the shape of an old-fashioned curled telephone cord. I got mine from Dan Ewart in Canada, but you can also buy them from qb Cucina and I guess in Italy if you know where to go for them!
Nearly everything else I use is the type of equipment you have in a kitchen anyway – a good knife, plain pastry rings to cut curlugiones, maybe a piping bag to fill delicate pastas. Any large pan or saucepan will do to cook your pasta and sauces – cooks have always been inventive, and you don’t need a full baterie de cuisine to make simple pasta dishes.
Here’s some other brands I use in the kitchen. It’s always a pleasure to use good quality tools and when I replace things, I now try to get the best quality, most long-lasting items I can afford.
A Kitchenaid makes easy work of pasta dough, and there are attachments you can buy that roll and cut the pasta too.
Le Creuset, familiar for their colourful enamelled cast-iron, also make a great range of stainless-steel pans. I use one of their wide sauté pans for sauces, as there’s plenty of room to toss the pasta and sauce together in it.
Microplane graters are the best. A zester blade for zesting lemons, a fine or coarse blade for grating Parmesan – and for shaping garganelli on the reverse side.
Arcobaleno for pasta sheeters and extruders. Go big or go home: this US family-run business supply professional pasta machines for when your home-cooked pasta is in such demand that you need to go commercial!