This Imperia is going back to the shop!
by G Norman
Bought the top of range Imperia machine for £105 as a Christmas present for my wife, who is a very accomplished cook.
It was a disaster -
1 The booklet has very little information in English (there is a lot more in Italian!)
2 The box did not have a brush nor a cutter that others have referred to.
3 The handle is forever falling out.
4 There were two different units that slot on to give you different types of pasta, but neither has a type number on them nor anything to explain which pasta comes out of them.
How difficult would it be for the manufacturers to give some help to people who buy their product by explaining which device is for which pasta type?
The box cover has pictures and I was reduced to trying to measure which grooves were 2mm apart and which were 1.5mm apart in order to match up the pasta types. This is very disrespectful to customers.
5 How long do you cook the pasta for? The booklet doesn't say.
6 I bought a pasta drying rack too - but the booklet is again useless; it says let it dry for 10 minutes but when it has and it has been put through the machine again to make, say, tagliatelle, does it have to dry again? For how long? The book just doesn't say.
7 What pasta came out was not separate and it just gelled into a big lump. We hoped that in the cooking it would separate, but it didn't and so it all went into the bin - and the machine is going back to the shop!
Hi G and thanks very much for your thoughts. It’s a shame you’ve had such an unfulfilling Imperia experience.
I’ve added some thoughts below, which you might find helpful if you should change your mind or decide to give your Imperia set another go.
(Feel free to chip in more by adding any additional comments below this post.)
All the best!
Re: 2 The box did not have a brush nor a cutter that others have referred to.
Which retailer did you buy your set from G? Online? Is there a weblink you could share with us?
I had another reader with a similar experience before, only they were a customer of Williams-Sonoma in the US (see this thread).
If you can tell us which retailer it was – by adding a comment below if you like – then other Brits will know which retailer to avoid if buying an Imperia. This practice of different buyers getting different sets and different accessories, which seems to be quite prevalent, is frustrating to say the least.
Re: 3 The handle is forever falling out.
You’re right there, this can happen. It has, in all honesty, never happened often enough to me to grate on my nerves, but if it’s one of several niggles I can certainly understand you being vexed!
Re: 4 There were two different units that slot on to give you different types of pasta, but neither has a type number on them nor anything to explain which pasta comes out of them... This is very disrespectful to customers.
This one is strange, as on my Imperia box it says what type of pasta these attachments make; with the Classic SP150 model, these shapes are usually referred to as tagliatelle (the wider strips of the two) and fettuccine.
I would suggest actually not worrying too much about the names themselves – I’ve had identical pasta widths in different restaurants in Italy called completely different things. It doesn't seem to be something most Italian cooks take overly seriously.
Re: 5 How long do you cook the pasta for? The booklet doesn't say.
Yup, these Italians sometimes assume the rest of us just know this stuff!
The answer is to drop your pasta in a deep pan of already boiling, well-salted water. Add a glug of olive oil too, to stop them sticking.
Boil the shapes, stirring all the while, until they rise to the surface, then just a minute more. Usually does the trick nicely!
Re: 6 Bought a drying rack too - but the booklet is again useless; it says let it dry for 10 minutes but when it has and it has been put through the machine again to make, say, tagliatelle, does it have to dry again? for how long? The book just doesn't say.
Which drying rack did you buy G? Here's how I would do it: I'd just make the fresh pasta, cut it into the lasagna-width, machine-ready sections, then leave it 5 minutes to dry on the countertop.
Then I’d cut the shapes using the machine, and only then would I use the drying rack – as its point is to dry the shapes without them clumping together (i.e. after they've been cut into their final shapes).
Side note: the ‘clumpiness’ also depends what type of pasta you’re making. If durum wheat flour and water, this can stay quite moist, so hanging it to dry is useful. If making normal flour egg pasta however, I would be very surprised if sticking were a problem as usually the dough doesn't remain too moist. (Both pasta dough recipes are on this fresh pasta page.)
Are you using a rolling pin to get the pasta flat enough to put in the machine in the first place?
If when rolling the dough sticks to the pin, use more flour as it’s still too moist.
Re: 7 What pasta came out was not separate and it just gelled into a big lump. We hoped that in the cooking it would separate but it didn't and so it all went into the bin - and the machine is going back to the shop!
Couple of pointers here: first, make sure you remove and separate the shapes coming out of the machine immediately, as if they sit in a pile then for sure they will clump together. It could also be however, as noted above, that your dough is a little wet. See this thread for more thoughts on that.
Do let me know what you think, what you try (if anything) and what you decide.