Store-bought pasta is great and all (especially when you don’t want to cook), but lately, you’ve wanted to start making your own noodles. Before you go all-in, you’re wondering if it’s worth it. I’ll tell you in this article.
What are the pros and cons of making your own noodles? These are the pros and cons of making your own noodles:
- Homemade is noticeably fresher
- Very inexpensive once you get the hang of it
- More pleasing taste
- Requires equipment you might not have
- Can be very time-consuming
- Eggs might not be allowed in all diets
There’s still lots more information to unpack ahead. I’ll separate the pros and cons of making your own noodles. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know whether you want to take on noodle-making as a hobby!
The Pros of Making Homemade Noodles
Let’s start with all the benefits of making homemade pasta, as there certainly are a lot of them.
Did you know that store-bought pasta is produced dry? That’s to extend its shelf life, of course, so grocers can sell the pasta for months at a time.
Dried pasta, after all, doesn’t expire for years if you don’t open it.
The thing about dried pasta though is that it lacks any degree of freshness. If all the pasta you’ve ever eaten to this point in your life is dried, you won’t notice it.
Once you try fresh pasta though at an Italian restaurant or on your travels, you’ll never want to go back.
Fresh pasta is something else entirely. It feels different, with a firm texture that’s still soft. Eating it makes you understand why some parts of the world go so gaga for pasta.
It’s not the commercialized dried stuff they adore, but fresh pasta. And you will too, which will put you in the mood to make it often.
Pasta admittedly isn’t the healthiest dish, but it can be better for you if you start making your own.
Each time you boil a pot of water and stir in hard sticks of spaghetti noodles, what you’re eating is more than you bargained for. Your pasta might contain preservatives and MSGs or monosodium glutamate, a type of flavor enhancer.
Unfortunately, the consumption of MSGs could be attributed to reproductive neurotoxic effects, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Once you start making your own pasta noodles from the comfort of your home, you can bid adieu to those health-damaging ingredients.
All you’ll need for homemade pasta is egg, sea salt, olive oil, and flour, be that all-purpose, semolina, or 00 flour.
It’s not just the freshness of homemade pasta that makes it so covetable. The flavor is a completely transformative experience as well.
Homemade pasta contains eggs, so it’s already going to have a different flavor profile compared to the store-bought dried stuff.
Your pasta recipe will use a good amount of water as well–which, although you wouldn’t think would affect the pasta’s flavor–absolutely does.
The smooth tenderness of homemade noodles will glide down your throat and hit your belly like it was always meant to be there.
Fresh pasta plays nicely with spaghetti sauce too. The noodles eagerly absorb the pasta sauce, clinging onto the tomatoey flavor more with each bite. This further augments the deliciousness of eating homemade pasta.
Faster to Cook
When you’re out of time to make dinner or your pantry is empty because you haven’t been grocery shopping all week, boxed pasta is a reliable dinner. You can boil the water, come back in the kitchen, toss the noodles in, and begin stirring.
And stirring and stirring.
Doesn’t it feel like it takes forever for store-bought pasta to cook? Well, that’s because it does!
After all, the pasta is dry, and you need to make it soft and edible. That’s going to take a while – say, 10 minutes, at least.
When you make your own noodles, they’re already at the peak of freshness by the time you serve them, or they’re very close.
Since they were never dried as part of a commercialization process, the noodles only take a few minutes in the boiling water to become tender enough to eat.
Seriously, you might spend more time boiling the water than you do cooking the noodles. How about that for a fast dinner?
Another reason that so many people stock their pantry shelves with boxed pasta is that it’s cheap, usually a few dollars per box. That’s a tough price to beat, right?
Yet homemade pasta does beat it. Once you have all your equipment and ingredients, it costs you pennies on the dollar to make pasta.
When you make your own noodles, you don’t just get enough for one serving of pasta. You have pounds of pasta at a time, like four or five pounds. It would cost you quite a pretty penny to buy the equivalent of that in boxed pasta at the grocery store.
The Cons of Making Homemade Noodles
If I’ve tempted you at this point to start making your own noodles at home, make sure you read through this section as well. It’s good to see this hobby from both sides of the spectrum.
Requires Equipment You Might Not Have
Making pasta calls for a variety of equipment, including utensils like forks and knives, variously sized mixing bowls, and a pasta machine.
You probably have everything in your kitchen already except for the pasta machine. The average cost of a pasta machine is $130, and the high-end ones cost more than $200.
Besides the expense, pasta machines are bulky, with many of them seven to eight inches long.
If you’re short on counter space, you might have to choose between your coffee machine or your pasta maker, and that’s a tough call to have to make.
Is a Big Time Investment
Fresh pasta might cook up in a matter of minutes but making it from scratch is a whole different ballgame.
You’ll need to set aside at least two hours if you want to make homemade noodles the right way, maybe even three hours.
At the start, when you’re getting used to everything, your time can even be twice that.
Even once you’ve gotten pasta-making down to a science, it’s still not necessarily a fast process.
Some will appreciate the old-world feel of working with their hands or stamping out unique pasta noodle shapes for hours.
Others will spend the entire time thinking about everything they’re not doing.
Indeed, making homemade pasta will require you to sacrifice things. You might have to skip a workout at the gym, wait until tomorrow to do laundry, or sit on pins and needles a while longer to see the big finale of your new favorite Netflix show.
Making your own noodles can be messy too, so you have to log additional time cleaning all that flour and the bits of pasta scraps.
For some, the final outcome is worth it. For others, they’d rather eat boxed pasta or go to a restaurant.
It Can Be Difficult
If you’ve ever seen YouTube tutorials showing you how to make your own pasta, it seems so effortless that you decided you wanted to try as well.
Effortless though it is not. In the beginning, you have to play trial and error to discover a type of flour you like. You need to get to know your pasta machine inside and out. You’ll have to figure out the hard way how long your pasta noodles need to dry out.
It’s frustrating when you spend two or three or more hours making pasta that in the end turns out to be inedible. It’s going to happen though, at least once or twice, maybe more than that.
Although the learning curve associated with making homemade pasta is steep, once you understand it, you’ll have a truly valuable skill you can pass down across generations.
You Need Room to Hang and Dry the Pasta
Getting back to what I said before about hanging pasta, that’s a requirement of the process. Fresh pasta takes 12 to 24 hours to dry if you want to store it and freeze it for later.
Where are you going to hang long strips of pasta? Down your basement on your drier line? Um, no. That’s not very hygienic.
You’ll have to rig up something in your kitchen or your living room. The room will be filled with dangling pieces of pasta that will remind you of mummy wrapping.
If you have pets or kids in the house, getting through to them that the hanging pasta is not a toy or a snack can be difficult.
Includes Egg, Which Can Be a Problem on Some Diets
I’m not saying that store-bought pasta never uses eggs, but for the most part, the boxed pasta in your pantry is eggless.
That’s not the case with homemade pasta. The egg is part of what gives the noodles their delectable flavor and freshness, so its exclusion would be noticeable.
Yet there are all sorts of instances in which eating eggs is inadvisable, such as someone with an egg intolerance or allergy or someone who’s vegan.
If you fit into one of these groups yourself or someone in your family or household does, you might want to rethink making your own noodles. You’ll have too much pasta to eat by yourself.
Not Sure If You Should Start Making Your Own Noodles? Take a Class
If your interest in making homemade pasta is piqued but you’re unsure if the commitment will fit into your busy lifestyle, I suggest signing up for a pasta-making class.
In the class, you’ll get to use high-quality equipment. You’ll also grasp the time and effort required to make pasta from scratch.
If you decide that by the end of the class that you enjoy making homemade pasta, you can always buy the equipment you need to continue doing so at home. Since you already learned how it’s done, you can begin producing your own noodles easily and quickly enough.
Maybe you choose not to make fresh pasta and stick to the store-bought stuff instead. At least you know that making pasta isn’t for you before you bought a clunky and expensive pasta machine!