Make Professional Quality Artisinal Pasta At Home With the Lillo Due Pasta Extruder

by sockii

The Lillo Due Pasta Extruder by Bottene in review. This professional quality machine will allow anyone to make artisinal extruded pasta in their home kitchen.

Pasta: it's a favorite food ingredient all around the world! Although it's readily available in countless shapes, styles and colors at your local supermarket or specialty grocer, many people enjoy making their own noodles at home for their freshness and unique textural quality.

And while it's easy enough to make simple flat noodles by hand or with a basic pasta machine, it's impossible to create specialty shapes like fusilli, bucatini, or ziti unless you have a specialty extruder attachment for a food processor, or similar type of machine. However most professional chefs and those passionate for pasta will tell you that typical home-extruder machines are quite inferior than those of professional quality; the plastic extruder dies on home machines are not strong enough, and only work with a very soft dough that produces gummy, bland pasta.

But if you're truly passionate about making pasta at home and want to make all kinds of shaped, extruded noodles easily and efficiently, I have to absolutely recommend the Lillo Due by Bottene. This beautiful machine is a joy to use and is one I've been happy to have in my own kitchen for several months now. It's small enough to fit in almost any home kitchen but strong enough to even serve a small restaurant kitchen as well...or perhaps a home-based pasta business?

Let me introduce you to the Lillo Due, the basics of making extruded pasta, and show off some of the great pasta I've made at home myself.

Tomato trotolle made with the Lillo Due Extruder
Tomato trotolle made with the Lillo Due Extruder

Watch The Lillo Due In Action

See how easy it is to make fresh extruded pasta with this great machine

What's So Great About Fresh Extruded Pasta?

Why It's Better Than Pasta From a Box

Typical homemade pasta is made with flour (of various kinds), eggs and/or water kneaded by hand and then either rolled and cut or run through a simple press that produces flat sheets or ribbons of noodles. And such pasta is wonderful for many uses where you want extra fresh, soft noodles that are pliable, quick to cook, or can be stuffed like ravioli or tortellini.

But you can't readily make fancy shaped pasta in such a fashion, such as ziti, fusilli, bucatini or wagon wheels! Those pasta shapes are instead made with an extruder, where the pasta dough ingredients are mechanically mixed and then forced through dies of different shapes. The noodles can then be cut by hand or automatically to a desired length, then either consumed fresh or dried for later use.

Basically all commercially produced, dried pasta you purchase in markets today is made using large-scale extruding machines. This pasta is generally only made with flour and water, and the type of die used affects their texture. Brass dies are considered the ideal because they produce extruded pasta with a rough, coarse texture that "grabs" pasta sauces and gives noodles a lighter color once dried. That's what artisinal pasta producers will generally use, but the drying process is slower using brass dies than mass-production companies want. So most big commercial companies use extruder dies coated with teflon or other non-stick materials, with results in a pasta with a smoother texture that dries to shelf-stable quickly. But, with speed there is a sacrifice in that final texture, and that's why many true pasta enthusiasts prefer to make their own noodles or only buy those made by artisinal pasta companies using brass dies and equipment.

Notice the rough surface of these bucatini noodles - this is a trademark of brass die extrusion.
Notice the rough surface of these bucatini noodles - this is a trademark of brass die extrusion.

The Lillo Due pasta extruder is just like the kind of machine top quality professional chefs would use in their own commercial kitchen to produce fresh extruded noodles. In fact, it could well serve a small restaurant kitchen that needed to produce 50 or more servings of pasta a night! The pasta dies for the Lillo Due are made of brass for that great textural quality (some shapes are available teflon-lined as well.)

It's so simple to use, too. Just mix your flour with the liquid component(s) of your choice: water, eggs, pureed vegetables, even wine. Get the dough to the right "crumbly" texture, then switch it from the mix setting to extrude. Watch as the noodles start coming out of the machine quickly so you can cut them to the length you want. Then either use the noodles fresh or let them dry to store for later enjoyment. It's like having a pasta factory in your very own kitchen!

These two trays of strozzapretti were made in an hour's time with 2 kg of semolina flour.
These two trays of strozzapretti were made in an hour's time with 2 kg of semolina flour.

Where Can You Purchase One Of These Extruders? Check eBay

If you're interested in buying one of these Lillo Due pasta extruders, your best place to look for a good deal on one is eBay. That's where I bought mine, and also some of the various brass dies I use with my machine. There is usually an auction or two running at any given time and you can get one typically for less than the full list price.

Tip: Store Brass Dies and Equipment in Vinegar to Keep Them Clean and Tarnish Free!

My collection of brass dies and other components, cleaned and stored in vinegar
My collection of brass dies and other components, cleaned and stored in vinegar

Brass Dies for your Lullo Due

Available on eBay now

Keeping the brass dies and other brass components of the pasta extruder clean and tarnish free is important!

After use, I wash my dies thoroughly in hot soapy water, then place them in a plastic container full of vinegar to soak and loosen gummed-up flour. Sometimes it can take overnight soaking or even several days to work out all of the pasta flour from the dies. After again washing them thoroughly, I then store all of the dies in a clean container of white vinegar until next use. This keeps them in great shape and tarnish-free. It's so easy!

Again eBay is a great place to go to look for different pasta dies for your Lillo Due machine. They are available in many different types including spaghetti, fettuccine, tagliolini, rigatoni, macaroni, lasagne, linguine, bucatini, chitarre, pappardelle, reginette, fusilli and other specialties.

A mixture of red wine, beet, tomato and plain semolina pasta. The colorful mix would be great for a gift!
A mixture of red wine, beet, tomato and plain semolina pasta. The colorful mix would be great for a gift!

Homemade Extruded Pasta: Great for Gift-Giving, Too

While it can seem like an expensive investment at first, the Lillo Due pasta extruder can definitely earn its keep not just in your daily use but around the holidays, too! After all, for the price of some flour, gift bags and whatever flavorings you might wish to use, you can make fun artisinal pasta gifts for your friends and family.

You can also host pasta-making parties where people can try their hand at making different shapes and flavors of pasta to take home or eat right then and there with a choice of simple, tasty sauces. It's fun and even kids will find it cool to watch the fresh pasta being made.

Campanelle pasta - another shape you can make with this machine
Campanelle pasta - another shape you can make with this machine

A Few Tips and Tricks for Using the Lillo Due Extruder

Despite ease of use, there are some things you definitely want to know about properly using a pasta extruder such as the Lillo Due:

  • Dough texture is extremely important! One of the hardest things is to get just the right moisture ratio in your dough. It needs to be fairly crumbly and dry, much drier than if you were making hand-rolled or hand-cut pasta. If the dough is too wet it will jam up in the extruder die and your noodles will not have the right texture and consistency. Experience and experiments will help you get a feel for this, especially if you are trying to use different types of flour instead of standard semolina.
  • Always thoroughly clean your dies before use. If your brass die has any old, dried flour in it your noodles will not come out with the proper shape. So always be sure to inspect them for cleanliness before attempting to use. In the summer, you can even take your pasta dies outside and blast them with a watering hose to really clean out the old "gunk"!
  • Always make sure your mixer and auger are locked in place before use.The Lillo Due has a very powerful motor and you don't want to risk damaging your machine, or causing injury, if the moving parts in the mixing "hopper" are not properly aligned and locked.
  • Allow the dies to warm up before "keeping" extruded noodles. When extruding, the first pasta coming out of the dies is likely to look mis-shappen, incomplete, or too rough. Don't worry, just cut off those noodles and toss them back into the hopper. The brass dies typically need a few minutes to heat up to start producing noodles with the right consistency and texture. So don't think you need to adjust the dough mixture too quickly.

Another Tip from Experience: White Grease

Make it easier to remove your brass dies after use

One repeat problem I kept having with my Lillo Due was removing the die after use. Heat combined with the pasta flour often made it very difficult for me to unscrew the die cap without considerable effort—and using a pipe wrench risks stripping and ruining the brass. A plumber (in my house for other reasons!) suggested I try a food-grade silicon grease coating before screwing on the pasta dies, the kind used regularly in restaurant equipment. And he was right! It works like a charm and I never had a problem removing my pasta dies after use now. A little goes a long way, too, so it's an inexpensive material to keep on hand, to keep your pasta making going smoothly.

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Pasta Drying Trays: A Necessary Accessory

These trays are perfect for drying your noodles for later use

One necessary accessory to have with this machine is a tray or trays for drying your pasta for later use. Plastic trays with mesh-style bottom are perfect for this as they allow air to flow all around the shapes.

Are You Ready To Make Some Fresh Pasta Now?

Pasta Primavera with Fresh Rigatoni
Pasta Primavera with Fresh Rigatoni
Updated: 02/05/2017, sockii
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Caroline on 02/05/2017

Hi Sockii,

Thank you for your answer.
I'm getting my hands on the lillodue after months of using it.
I got good results for the lasagna by changing my flour mixture, using tipo 00 flour rather than durum wheat which I use for fusilli, or casarecce.
The drying process still need improvement and it is true that freezing works fine.
Haven't tried flavoured pasta yet, got to have a go!

Good pasta making!

sockii on 11/18/2016

Hi Caroline -- sorry for the long wait in responding. It definitely took me some time to get the lasagna noodles just right but now I can make them almost without fail. I think the biggest tip I have for the lasagna - and all of the noodles, really - is to make sure your lasagna bronze die is PRISTINE clean before trying to use it. Any old/dried flour in the die at all will cause imperfections in the noodles and make them break apart in strips, as you experienced. I keep my dies in vinegar at all times and will then thoroughly wash with hot water before using, even blowing through the die to make sure nothing is stuck in them.

I also find the lasagna sheets come out best when the die is very hot, and will "junk" the sheets coming out the first few minutes (tossing them back in the mixer) until they are fully smooth and consistent. The heat plus making sure your water/flour mixture is just right are key.

I also encountered issues in drying the rigatoni and have not found a perfect solution just yet - though these days I am freezing extra noodles as I make them for better shelf life (especially if making special flavors like beet or pumpkin.) I will see about updating this article shortly with some other tricks I've picked up with time and experience. I hope you are still enjoying your Lillodue!

Caroline on 04/20/2016

Hi Sockii, nice article which has been useful to me as I bought the Lillodue a few months ago. I'm having very nice results with it but still struggling with the lasagna and the texture of spaghetti which I find too thin. If you hav any tips, I'm eager to learn them! I find it hard to have the right texture for the lasagna as the dough comes out in stripes instead of a nice smooth sheet of pasta. Pasta making is an art and practicing is the secret I guess. I also tried to dry the pasta and got problems with the rigatoni which tended to break in lenght. I had no problems with the fusilli or the casarecce. As you said it is a tricky science! Anyway if you have tips, recipes... I'm in!

sockii on 05/09/2015

Thank you, CruiseReady! I am hoping to have a pasta-making party some time this year, perhaps this summer when my herb garden is in full swing and I can have fun making different type of herb-flavored pasta.

sockii on 05/09/2015

Thank you, flycatcher! I learned about the vinegar trick in a pasta-making class, where I first learned about working with an extruder such as this machine. Now I have to learn how to best dry my pasta for long term, shelf-stable storage. It's a tricky science to be sure with lots of variables including humidity, temperature, and the amount of moisture in the flour/water mixture.

flycatcher on 05/08/2015

Your pasta looks amazing, Sockii! Nice tip about storing the brass pieces of the extruder in vinegar: I'd never have thought of doing that, but it makes so much sense.

CruiseReady on 05/08/2015

What a wonderful explanation of making pasta at home. The video was fun to watch, and I really loved the idea of a pasta making party. I would sure go to one of those - what fun!

Marie on 02/19/2015

No one could possibly guess that this was homemade pasta by looking at it, I'm sure, because it looks incredibly professional. Fresh pasta is a delight to eat.

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