Atlas pasta maker 150: in-kitchen review
Italian company Marcato’s Atlas pasta maker, the ‘Atlas 150’, is billed as the most versatile manual pasta maker on the market and the world’s best-selling pasta machine.
I recently received this machine from Marcato to try and review here. So now that I've used it a good few times, here's what you need to know...
Like its closest competitor (Imperia's SP150), this Atlas pasta maker is a manual rolling machine, which means you pop in your fresh pasta dough and turn a handle to roll it flat. You can then also turn this flat dough into either fettuccine or tagliolini long pasta shapes using the cutting attachment provided.
The 150 is made from seriously heavy duty stainless steel, while its rollers are made from Marcato's exclusively patented anodized duralumin.
In the box:
• The main Atlas 150 pasta machine
• A separate 'slot-on' cutting attachment (for making fettuccine/tagliolini - plus numerous other attachments are available here)
• A detachable handle (steel with molded plastic grip)
• Metal kitchen-top screw attachment (steel with molded plastic grip)
• Multi-lingual user manual
In the world of manual pasta rolling machines, this list above is the standard batch of components we have come to expect.
It's worth noting however that the Atlas does not include a couple of accessories that its competitor, the Imperia, does sometimes offer (depending on the country or retailer in question).
For example, my Imperia machine came supplied as standard with: a lasagna-width pasta cutter (you make your fresh pasta, roll it a little, then use this to cut your dough into strips that fit exactly into the machine's rollers. I find this a pretty useful bit of kit), and a small brush for cleaning excess flour and gunk from the machine.
Quality-wise the Atlas' components are wonderful. They are heavy, and therefore virtually indestructible, and in the case of the rollers for example, beautifully and smoothly finished. When you turn that cranking handle, you really do feel like you're operating a piece of high-quality engineering. It's all a world apart from some of the cheaper pasta makers on the market, from the likes of Prime Pacific.
The one small thing that took some getting used to with the Atlas was how you alter its thickness setting: rather than simply turning the thickness settings knob, you actually pull this knob out of the machine and then turn it. I found this a little nervy at first (you kind of expect the knob to ping off in your hand), but you soon learn that it's actually as strong as everything else.
Using the Atlas pasta maker...
Here’s how the Atlas pasta rolling process works:
STEP 1 – First, you secure the Atlas 150 to a kitchen worktop or tabletop using the large screw clamp provided (this slots into a hole at the side of the machine).
Quick recommendation: I also like to wedge a little folded kitchen paper between the clamp and the worktop to avoid any scratching or marking.
- Next, just slot in the machine’s handle. This handle doesn't lock in, but I haven't experienced an issue with it coming out mid-roll, which can happen occasionally with the Imperia.
STEP 2 – Make your fresh pasta dough (need help? see my easy guides).
- You can then either cut off a chunk from your dough ball and start rolling your pasta, or do what I prefer and flatten it a little with a rolling pin first, adding a little flour as you do. This approach ensures the pasta is dry enough not to stick to the machine's rollers, which can sometimes happen if you just make your dough ball and immediately pop it in the machine.
STEP 3 – With your dough flattened slightly (just 30 secs of rolling is fine) - chop off half a handful of dough and start feeding this into the machine's two main rollers with one hand, while turning the rolling handle with the other.
- What you'll get below the rollers is a rough-width sheet of flattened pasta. You can then re-roll this pasta until it is exactly the desired thickness by adjusting the Atlas' width-setting knob, found on the side of the machine. No less than 9 settings are available (easily the largest number on the market). Of course you could also try hand-cutting your own different pasta shapes (ravioli, penne etc.). See my guides.
Tip: If you are making lasagna sheets, medium width pasta will work well. For long pasta shapes like fettuccine and tagliolini, and ravioli, try going a little thinner.
STEP 4 – If making fettuccine or tagliolini, just slot on the machine’s cutting attachment (the second largest steel component after the machine itself) and repeat the pasta-feeding procedure through these smaller cutters to get the long pasta shapes you desire.
Tip: To avoid them sticking together, be sure to remove each batch of long pasta shapes from below the cutters as you go, and keep these on a well-floured plate or work surface until ready to cook. Alternatively, you might prefer a space-saving pasta drying rack.
Verdict: This Atlas pasta roller machine works perfectly. Although it doesn't tout all the accessories its main competitor sometimes provides, its quality, durability and ease of use are easy to wholeheartedly recommended.
Were I forced to choose between recommending the Atlas 150 and the Imperia SP150, I would be hard pressed to make a preference as both are super sturdy, great value and do exactly what they promise. The Imperia wins on accessories maybe, but I found the Atlas 150's extra thickness settings and super-smooth, nicer finished rollers slightly more impressive.
Future upgrade? Should you grow tired of cranking the Atlas' handle, an easy-to-attach motor is also available (from here).
- In the US? See this Amazon page.
- In the UK? See this Amazon page.
(Note: The Atlas 150 is usually available with free shipping.)
Why do I recommend Amazon? I use Amazon regularly. Its deliveries are usually quick, its prices highly competitive and the company's support/returns policy (which I've had to use in the past) is reliable.
Have you used this Atlas machine?
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What Other Visitors Have Said
Click the blue links below to read what other visitors thought about Marcato's popular Atlas machine...
Sweet Atlas Pasta!
Love it, but have one complaint.
Smooth, Slow. (But buy the motor!)
I have had an Atlas 150 for years
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