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TOP 50 REVIEWERon May 4, 2012
I'm very pleased with this machine (the 2730/3000 model). While I've been using a traditional roller pasta maker (an Atlas) for decades, my only experience with an extrusion machine was many years ago with a Ronco. Not a good experience, to say the least. The Lello, in sharp contrast, is built like a tank. Very solid construction that inspires confidence that it will last a while.

My only complaint is the recipe book. While it offers several pasta options, it only provides quantities for the max amount that the 2200 or the 3000 can make. You can scale them back, of course, but it would be nice if they did that for you. Also, the instructions are in desperate need of good color photos, rather than the poor B/W photos.

Rather than get into a blow-by-blow description of the features (which are very well covered in other reviews) I wanted to concentrate on two points: Should you get this? If so, which model?

If you're considering purchasing either Lello model you've seen several negative reviews that basically state "I followed the instructions EXACTLY, and it didn't work." I have no doubt that the reviewers followed the instructions to the letter. So why did they fail? Mainly because instructions, regardless of their detail, can't take into account the inherent variances of different flour types and brands, plus the fact that dough is affected by the environment (how humid or dry the air is).

Success in making your own pasta means you have to pay attention to the dough - how it looks, feels, and moves. My grandmother, who taught me how to make pasta (or, for that matter, pretty much everything involving dough) used to say that the dough is alive and has to be treated as such (she said it in Italian, which sounded a lot more poetic).

Certainly use the directions as a starting point, but you need to experiment, learn from your mistakes, and keep trying. Sure, you might nail it on the first try. Then again, it may take a bunch of tries. It's much like making espresso - there's a learning curve and, if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded with a wonderful treat.

Unfortunately, these machines (much like many espresso machines) are marketed as "just add ingredients, push a button, and success!" It can set up some unrealistic expectations. Yes, you'll get to the success point, but expect to put in some time and effort.

Now to the second point: should you get the 2720/2200 or the 2730/3000 (this one)? They are much the same - same motor, gearing, warranty, etc. The only difference is that the 3000 holds a bit more (3 pound capacity vs 2.2 pound). To accomplish this, the 3000 has a one inch taller mixing bowl. That's the only design difference. The 3000 also comes with 2 additional extrusion disks: one for lasagna and one for Bucati (it's a hollow spaghetti). Since the disks run about $15 each, the two extra discs cut the actual price difference way down (provided, of course, that the two additional disks are something you'd want).

Even if the extra disks are not of interest, it's still worth going for the 3000 regardless if you won't be making a full 3 pound batch (which is a LOT of pasta!). The reason why is that the taller bowl makes it easier for the paddles to mix the dough even if it is not filled to the max. For example, my standard size batch is ½ the quantity listed in the Lello recipe book for the 2200. Having the larger bowl gives the machine more working room, and makes it easier to tweak the flour/moisture ratio.

But, regardless of which Lello you get, if you put in some effort, you're going to be treated to some wonderful pasta. Highly recommend!
0Comment88 of 94 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 19, 2010
If you weigh the ingredients, you'll find the dough is perfect with no fiddling required. I've done all-purpose flour with egg, all-purpose flour with water (reminds me of asian noodles), semolina with a 1/2-1/2 egg water improvisation, and they've all turned out great (tried about 1/2 of the included dies to date - no problems with any).

It appears to be built very well.

To the review of the person who ditched it said they need to constantly push the dough into the auger. I usually have to do this 1 time per batch (takes less than 10 seconds), so I'd chalk that up to operator error.

Its slow to extrude (at first!) About 1 minute after the pasta starts coming out of the die, it goes PLENTY fast enough.

No question - this machine is loud... not loud enough to ding it a star however... I just jack the stereo up louder!
0Comment55 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 22, 2009
I am not impressed. I recently purchased this machine with high hopes that technology had advanced enough to out perform my old worn out, long retired early 90's vintage "Pasta Express From CTC".
There are those instances when time is short it would be nice to not make pasta by hand using a more traditional pasta roller/cutter. So I decided to give this machine a try thinking Lello may have got it right by watching what designs didn't work with other vendors of similar machines over the years. But after three uses it is in my opinion a marginal improvement.

First the good points...
It's mixes the flour into pasta dough very well. The design of the stirring paddles do a decent job of mixing the flour and water together. Using Semolina and whole wheat blend you can generally get perfect consistency dough in about 10-15 mins.
Single direction operating motor for both mixing and extruding. Gone is the need to flip a direction switch for each operation.
Simple operation to swap out extrusion die, and its metal outer ring makes cutting off the pasta easy with a single scrape of a knife blade.
Solid construction. This machine is heavy and definitely stays put on the counter top when operating.
Clean up is pretty simple (use the let it dry dirty method) and all parts disassemble easily. The extrusion auger chamber was the only component that was hardest to clean.
Well written recipe instruction booklet.

Now the not so good points...
Yep... it's made in China (did you expect no less?).

Very noisy. When in operation the motor reduction gears are really LOUD! My first impression was perhaps the unit needs some time to "break in". Nope... the idler gear for the extrusion auger is rattling away sounding like it's in dire need of some grease. The noise this thing makes when mixing dough made me wonder if I shouldn't take it down to the nearest AAMCO transmission shop for a tune up. This is a food processing appliance but it sounds like a gravel yard rock crusher. It had me reaching for my ear plugs. However when under load i.e. extruding pasta it seems to quite down a tiny bit. This machine is one of the noisier appliances in my kitchen, second only to the blender.

Extrusion speed. Can you say sloooooooooooooooow ! I've literally made a ton of pasta over the years using other techniques and this machine is painfully slow. It seems to take forever auto-loading the auger slot and produce pasta on the other end. Once it gets going the pasta oozing from the extrusion die creeps along. Many times the stirring paddles in the mixing bowl fail to push enough material into the auger slot to keep the extruded pasta coming out at a constant rate. This requires you to frequently stop the machine, rearrange the dough, and start it up again. Not very "automatic" in my view, more like semi-auto. Lello definitely needs to rethink how to improve the auger/extrusion chamber components, especially the dough feed slot. This in my view is it's weakest design point.

Smelly. My new machine smelled like paint fumes when operating. Not sure exactly what is causing the odor, but once the motor had been running for a few minutes (empty or full mixing bowl) and the reduction gear oil or motor windings got warm, it smelled like old lead paint. Not very appealing when making fresh delicious pasta. Now the components that are in contact with the food appear to be mostly food grade polycarbonate plastic. But when you smell paint like fumes wafting out from the motor ventilation holes, it definitely evokes thoughts of the recent issues regarding lead tainted plastic in products coming from China.

All in all I give this unit 2 stars. I find mixing the flour in a bowl or mixer and using a traditional pasta roller/cutting machine is overall quicker, and much more straight forward. Plus there is nothing like getting personal with the food you eat by using your own hands to prepare it. Sure it's a wee bit messy, but the time spent making your pasta manually and cleaning up after will overall be less than the time it takes to make the same amount using this machine. I sent my machine back for a refund. Perhaps I'll wait another 15 years before trying another "automatic" pasta maker again.
66 comments173 of 195 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 25, 2010
I have been using an old CTC pasta machine that is on it's last legs. I liked that I could make a hearty, all egg, semolina flour pasta with the CTC. The Lello requires bleached flour at all times, either 100% or at least partially with semolina or other flours. Plus, all flour must be sifted and weighed. As an experienced pasta machine operator, I am familiar with the different and certain consistencies that seem to work best. The Lello seems to require a more moist yet lighter dough mix, with smaller coagulations. I had a difficult time getting the mix to fall into the 2nd stage auger for extrusion. While I feel that the Lello may make decent lighter and basic pastas, it failed at making the heartier, all egg, semolina pasta that I enjoy.
11 comment32 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 26, 2009
This unit replaced two wore out Simac pasta makers. Pretty much a straight forward replacement. Uses same pasta dies & same book. The Simac book had pictures of what the product was supposed to look like when mixing. That is helpful to someone new to these. Weighing the flour is the best way. Be accurate on ingredients. Let the noodles dry for a short time before cooking as it will help keep the pasta separated for cooking. Way faster cooking times. If you think it's almost ready, it is. I cook my pasta after making it & have a problem of eating the fresh cooked pasta as is. Use plenty of salt in the water unless you can't for health reasons. As for noise, it's a machine. Plenty stable on the counter. Let dry & then clean method works best. Remember the glue we made from flour & water as kids? That"s what you will get if you try to clean it right away.
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on May 3, 2007
I got this machine from my husband for my birthday and tried it last evening for the first time. I followed the directions exactly for one pound of the white flour pasta, weighing, not measuring the flour. This is an important distinction because a cup of flour can vary in weight by several ounces. I think the instructions are good, though they don't exactly tell you what consistency of dough you are seeking to achieve. I would describe it as dough that holds together but isn't wet or sticky. I had perfect pasta extruding from the machine after twenty minutes and two adjustments for more liquid.

One pound makes alot of pasta, more than enough for a main course dinner with enough leftover to freeze. We really enjoyed it. I will make another kind of pasta, perhaps semolina, soon.

Holly Sean
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on February 16, 2006
I checked out several brands before deciding on this one. I followed the directions exactly, and the pasta came out perfect. it makes up to 3 pounds of pasta each time.That's a lot of pasta. But, you can freeze the leftover that you don't need right now. the noodles are not sticky and they cook fast. the fettucine cooked in 3 minutes after water boiled. I have no regrets.
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on August 19, 2005
This machine was recommended for pasta with freshly milled whole grain. Does an excellent job with 1/2 kamut and 1/2 soft white. I use eggs instead of water, and follow the measurements exactly. I'm sure that it would do a great job with white flour.
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on January 17, 2010
This is fun for the whole family! Reiterating other reviewers, as long as you follow the instructions on measurement, ingredients, etc., pasta comes out great. We've tried angel hair, rigatoni, lasagna, ravioli noodles, among others, using egg noodles, flour without egg, semolina flour and regular bleached flour, and all have come out superb. You do have to leave yourself some time for prep, and it can take several minutes for a full 3lb batch to mix and squeeze out into noodles, but it's actually a fun family and friends event to watch the pasta come out and cut and hang the noodles. I'd recommend getting a pasta drying rack (we went with the Norpro, $12.99 on Amazon), and a good digital kitchen scale.

There really is a difference in taste between boxed and fresh pasta. Fresh out-of-the-machine pasta does a much better job of clinging to and absorbing the various pasta sauces, which really enhances the flavor in cream-based and marina-based sauces (compared to boxed pasta, where sauces tend to slide off the pasta).

We've also made spinach pasta and pumpkin pasta, which make fun gifts as well.

Two good books to accompany the pasta maker: "The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles" by Cooks Illustrated, and Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking", the latter a must for budding Italian cooks.
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on January 24, 2012
Super easy to use. Cleanup is a snap if you let the dough dry slightly. The machine is not slow to extrude dough except at the very beginning when initially forcing the dough through the selected pasta die. Once it starts comming out (less than 2 minutes if you prep the machine as in the instruction manual by letting the initial dough out before putting die of choice on)it is just the right extruding speed to keep up with the cutting and hanging of the noodles. If it takes longer than that then your dough is too dry and this can be hard on the machine.

1. I would suggest stopping the unit.

2. Closing the shutter slide.

3. Removing the die and pulling out the rotary screw to remove the dough.

4. Place dough back in Lello dough bowl and then adjust dough consistency by adding water.

If when extruding the dough, if it breaks easily, then it is too dry. Follow procedure above to correct. If it sticks together when extruding, once again, follow procedure above to adjust. Once you learn the consistency your looking for it is easy and quick to make a batch of gluten free dough.

I have read other reviews where they say the machine is loud but it isn't. Acutally thought it would be louder based upon the other reviews so I was pleasently surprised. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a lot of the pasta attachments so my husband wondered why I needed this machine. With the kitchen aid I can not make shells and true round spagetti plus it is difficult to handle gluten free pasta dough to send through the rollers to achieve the desired thickness before changing the attachment for the desired pasta cutter and getting the dough cut before it dries and starts to crumble (remember I am working with gluten free dough). I love my kitchen aid don't get me wrong but I know that your better off getting equipment that is designed for a specific purpose. This machine was SUPER EASY when it came to making gluten free pasta dough.

Corn Based Gluten Free Pasta
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
3/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour
3 Tbsp Potato Starch
1 cup Corn Flour
1 cup Corn Starch
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Xantham Gum

Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Medium eggs slightly mixed

Place flour mixture in Lello flour bowl and cover with lid. Turn on the machine and slowly add the oil through the opening in the lid. Next slowly add the eggs. Set a timer for 10 minutes and come back to check the consistency of the dough. If too wet add more tapioca flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. If too dry add 1 teaspoon of water at a time. Let the machine run for at least 5 minutes between adjustments before doing more changes. Remember to do your additions in small increments to get the dough to the desired consistency. For gluten free pasta, the dough worked best when it was a little bit smaller than an unshelled walnut. I had no problems extruding the dough and it did not stick together. I was able to place the extruded noodles in one large pile as I cut it to the desired length and it did not stick together.

When cooking the fresh pasta ensure your water is salted and boiling with a little olive oil added to it. I cooked 1/2 of the extruded batch at one time and it was done in less than two minutes. When you see the pasta floating you know it is done cooking. I also use a large pot with a strainer insert so lifting the strainer out to remove the cooked pasta was easy and I was able to cook the second batch right away.

If you are gluten intolerant and ever wish to have really good tasting pasta then you must make it from scratch. All of us who are gluten intollerant will have a varity of gluten free flours on hand. Play around with different blends to find the taste and texture you desire as this machine makes it fun and easy to do. When making up a batch of flour I would suggest it not weigh much over 1 lb total for the dried flour combination as this will fill the bowl once you have added your liquids to it. I would also not add more than 1 Tablespoon of xantham gum to a full batch of flour as more is not needed even if you double or triple a recipe you already have. I tripled a recipe I use to get the totals above and should have used 9 eggs based upon the original recipe but only had to use 6 so keep this in mind when making your dough. Don't assume it will need all of the liquid if doubling or tripling an existing recipe. Plus using the machine requires a drier consistency than when making the pasta manually. Also when substituting flours some take less liquid and others will take more. The recipe above is a good baseline to begin using other flours to replace the "Corn Flour". I would suggest you add one egg at a time and let the machine mix for 5 minutes before adding the next egg. This ensures you do not place too much liquid in the flour and it also gives the flours a chance to absorb the liquid. I substituted Garbonzo Fava Bean flour tonight in a batch and my dough was too wet and I had to work in more white rice flour to dry it out which took some time to do because of how sticky it was. The dough was so wet it formed a ball and just rotated without being mixed. I had to open the lid and break the dough apart sprinkling rice flour in between the dough and then restart several times before it would again mix the dough into walnut sized chuncks.
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