I am thinking about getting a pasta maker. Of course it takes more time to make your own pasta but it seems like it would be fun and nutritious. What are the real advantages to making your own pasta from scratch with a pasta maker, as opposed to using store-bought pasta?
The best part of making your own food is the ability to experiment! Sure, you can get spinach or tomato pastas in the store, but is there something else you've always wanted to try? Try some chili peppers for a Mexican flair, or ginger and leek for Asian foods. I've heard that even certain fruits work well, and chocolate could form the base for a unique dessert.
It depends on what store you buy your pasta from, and what sorts of pasta they have to offer (there are at least 2 shops here in Bruges that make better pasta than anybody I know would ever be able to make, but "in the countryside" people don't have that luxury).
Oh, and of course if you like to cook, making it yourself might be more fun of course, especially if you like to experiment. ;)
So - fresh pasta vs. dried, boxed pasta: (1) cooks waaay faster, and (2) also absorbs sauces better. Boxed pasta is great too - but fresh pasta is preferable!
Fresh pasta simply tastes better, and as Aparna said, absorbs sauces more than boxed pasta. Also, fresh pasta is way cheaper than boxed one.
In a while, getting experience at preparing fresh pasta by yourself will let you do it faster and faster...
And you won't experience the "Oh no, my sauce is ready but I'm out of pasta" anymore!
Just try both of them and you will feel the difference by yourself. The taste, the texture, the cooking time and more.
I've been making my own pasta for a few years and I roll by hand which I find very enjoyable. Every time I make it, it gets better flavor and texture that store baught doesnt compare too. Plus its fun and its cheap. In fact I only use store baught pasta in emergencies now. Some of the best home made pasta is for lasagna and stuffed pasta tubes called cannelloni!
There are uses for both fresh and dried pasta. One does not replace the other. They can both be delicious, but serve different purposes. You will only realize the advantages of making your own if you make it convenient to use your pasta maker. Put it in a closet...or somewhere out of reach...and you will not use it frequently enough to learn the process or develop the skill. There is a learning curve, so expect it to take some before you can produce it properly and quickly. Once you get the process down, you will be able to create far better filled pastas than you can purchase almost anywhere. Leftovers of all sorts can become ravioli and tortellini fillings. You can make large quantities (if you are patient...or have friends to help) and freeze for later. Fresh pasta cooks in less time. Making your own costs less. Having said that, I stock plenty of dried pasta for recipes that require those products.
I make homemade pasta for the same reason I bake bread. It's a way to have fun in the kitchen, experiment, maybe or maybe not get a tremendous result (the suspense is always fun), all without spending much money.