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Most manufacturers will put the recommended cooking time on the package. Pasta should always be cooked al dente which literally means to the tooth. You should be able to bite easily into pasta; it should not be hard or dry nor should it be mushy. If using the pasta for casseroles or lasagna the pasta may be slightly undercooked as more cooking will take place in the oven and the added sauce will be absorbed by the pasta and help to soften it also. Fresh pastas should be cooked in the same manner as the dried pastas but the cooking time will be considerably shorter. Fresh pasta usually cooks in one or two minutes. Always test the pasta by taking out a piece running it under cold water and tasting it to be sure it is the way you like it. Take your time and learn a little about each of the types of pasta. Start with one and try different sauces and meat variations with it. Once you have become familiar with one type (this can include different thicknesses) then move on and try another.
Some of the hollow or tubular pastas are elbow macaroni (most often used for macaroni and cheese or macaroni salad. Elbow macaroni usually comes in two sizes. The large size is great for casseroles and the smaller sizes are good used in soup such as minestrone or vegetable. Large width tubular pastas are ziti which again comes in several sizes penne rigatoni and cannelloni. Cannelloni are usually about 3 inches long and are served stuffed with a cheese or meat filling and topped with a marinara or meat sauce. The twisted pastas include Fusilli Bucati Gemeli Rotelli (Wagon Wheels). The twisted pastas are good for heavy sauces. Their shape will help to retain the sauce whereas with the smooth thin pastas the heavy sauces will just run off back into the plate. Fusilli are also nice for seafood pasta salads.
Also a good machine should have a warranty and provide good instructions. The best machines and the most popular worldwide are the pasta makers made in Italy factories. Italian made pasta rollers are made to specific and strict quality control standards. With higher quality you know you will be getting a great quality pasta machine for your money if you buy an Italian made one. As with everything the prices vary greatly. Generally prices online for Italian made machines are far less expensive than at the mall stores. It can be difficult to find imported Italian pasta machines at regular mall stores. With a good warranty and product name you should have no problem purchasing a machine within your budget online often with free shipping.