Top positive review
Great little pasta machine
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2015
I took cooking classes while in Italy, and the Imperia was the machine that my instructor used. Needless to say, I wanted to buy one myself upon returning to the US - this is identical to the machine I used in Italy. I was somewhat dubious that I'd be able to replicate the results from my cooking class given that I'd never made pasta before, but I have been very pleased with this machine and have had great results.
The only assembly instructions are in Italian, though it is pretty intuitive when you look at the photos. The fettuccine/spaghetti attachment slides on to one side, and you slot the handle into the main roller or the fettuccine or spaghetti rollers, depending on what you're using. I found the little tray (for feeding the dough in?) unnecessary and don't use it.
I almost bought the motor (an additional $100) based on reviews I read saying that it is necessary because otherwise two hands aren't enough to make the pasta and the crank is too hard to turn. I'm glad I didn't. I have had no problems feeding the pasta dough in with one hand while turning the crank with the other. The machine attaches securely to the countertop with the included clamp, and you don't need another hand to "catch" the pasta when it comes out of the machine - if the dough is made correctly, it will not stick to itself and you can just pick up the sheet or noodles after they've fallen out the bottom. I have made sheets of pasta for pappardelle and ravioli (hand filled, not using the Imperia ravioli attachment), fettuccini, and spaghetti, all with success. The advice we got in Italy when making sheets of pasta for ravioli, etc., was to start with the widest setting, and roll it through each setting twice, dusting with flour as needed in between (ending on the second thinnest for ravioli). We were also told to crank the dough through quickly, to prevent sticking. These tips have worked very well and I have had zero problems with sticking, or it being too difficult to turn - my friend's four year old was able to turn it to make her own spaghetti after I set up the machine for her and helped her feed in the sheet of pasta. The recipe I use is the one I learned in Italy - ratio of 100 grams of flour to 1 egg, pinch of salt, and optional olive oil. Knead the dough until very soft and smooth and then let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before rolling out.
The instruction book says that the first batch should be a "test batch" to be discarded, as any grit, etc. lingering from the manufacturing process will adhere to the dough. I would not skip this - while I did not see any metal bits in the dough that other reviews have mentioned, my machine did have what appeared to be a bit of black oil on the rollers that was picked up in that first batch of dough. Unfortunately, it seems that there is still some oil in the edges of the machine - I have made pasta at least 10 times now and still have a problem with oil/black streaks in the dough if it is allowed to go all the way to the edges of the roller, which then of course has to be cut off and discarded. That, honestly, is the only negative I have experienced with this machine and my only reason for giving it 4 stars instead of 5.
Finally, I have read complaints that it is "not washable." If you are making your dough correctly, you shouldn't need to wash it! You're only going to have a problem if the dough is too sticky. There is nothing on my machine after I use it except a few bits of flour that brush right off. Getting the texture of the dough right is the most important thing!