The beauty of pasta fresco, fresh pasta, is not just in the eating, but in the making. A pasta that is both light and chewy is so enticing that the project is hard to resist. But pasta fatta a mano, pasta made by hand, takes time and work space and: in the beginning, practice. So, first consider your own kitchen habits and how much help you want to enlist from machines. A pair of hands and a long rolling pin can do it all. Of course, there is nothing that will replace the tactile sensation of combining flour and eggs, kneading, rolling and, finally, stretching the dough. But a mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with a blade can also mix and knead the dough. A pasta machine can roll it beautifully saves a great deal of time, and is very good for cutting. And, the all-in-one electric wizards can take the process from beginning to end.
The pasta described here is pasta all'uovo, egg pasta, the most practical dough to work with by hand. (Pasta made with just flour and water is more difficult to roll.) The specialties of handmade pasta are the Italian ribbons like fettuccine. the stuffed shapes like ravioli, and the small hand turns like orecchiette.