Rolled pasta is about twice as light (half as dense) as extruded pasta, which makes it lighter tasting and better able to absorb sauces. The thickness of rolled pasta can be controlled from paper-thin to cookie-thick, whereas the size of the die controls the thickness in extruded pasta. Rolled pasta cooks in less than half the time that it takes for extruded pasta. Rolled pasta recipes have greater flexibility than extruded pasta recipes, which are limited to certain consistencies and lack the ability to add whole ingredients, which would not pass through the dies.
Extruded pasta allows you to easily make tubular and other odd-shaped pasta that can't be fashioned from rolled dough. Most store bought pasta is extruded into its shape. Shapes of pasta are quite diverse.
Pasta makers of one sort or another have been around for a long time. The oldest that we are aware of is the Chitarra (pronounced key-tahr-rah, it's Italian for guitar), a current model of which is pictured at left. An important symbol of the Abruzzi region of Italy, the Chitarra originated around 1800 in the province of Chieti.
The first mechanical home model is credited to have been manufactured by the Vitantonio Mfg. Co. in 1906, the same year Fante's was founded.
Pasta Maker Maintenance
Keep all pasta makers away from water to keep steel parts and wires from rusting.Wipe off flour with a pastry brush. Use a plastic scraper to remove any sticking dough. Lubricate from time to time, depending on the humidity in your environment. Place a drop of mineral oil where each roller meets the body of the mechanical pasta maker OR Wipe wires of the chitarra with an oil-dampened cloth. Store in their original box, in a dry place. We don't recommend taking pasta makers apart to repair at home.