Try saying, "Find the Perfect Pasta Rack" fast three times, we dare ya.
Anyone who delves into making fresh pasta at home—whether you’re using a machine or rolling and cutting it by hand—quickly learns that the dough need to be separated ASAP before cooking. This helps avoid clumpy pasta that dissolves into a gloppy mess as soon as it’s dropped into boiling water. If you don’t plan to cook it right away or have extra pasta that you’d like to keep for future use, fresh pasta can be dried more thoroughly over several hours and then stored at room temperature. This also requires hanging so that it can dry completely and evenly, with air passing around all its surfaces to prevent the formation of mold.
You should dry your pasta before cutting it, according to Stefania Porcelli, chef of Checco er Carettiere restaurant in Rome. Porcelli explains, "After making fresh pasta sheets—whether with a rolling pin or machine—hang them to dry on a rack. They shouldn't be left too long, at most a few hours. You want the sheets to stay a little bit moist so you're able to properly cut them into the desired shape (fettuccine, tagliolini, etc.).
Next, lay your cut pasta on a wooden counter or workspace covered with a cloth and some semolina. When the strands are no longer sticky, you can swirl them into 'nidi' or little nests and store. The main thing here is to let them dry both before you cut them and after."
While you can certainly improvise and utilize clothes hangers, a laundry drying rack, the back of a chair, or even a broom handle, if you plan on making homemade pasta regularly, a dedicated pasta drying rack is a more efficient, less messy, and more hygienic solution.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Pasta Drying Rack?
Pasta drying racks can be used for drying multiple types of pasta, such as fettuccine, spaghetti, and large lasagne sheets. Based on the total length of pasta noodles or sheets you prefer to make, you need to decide the height of the product. If you like to cook long fettuccine pasta or lasagne sheets, we recommend choosing a rack with a height of 16.5 inches or more. For making average-length pasta, a drying stand with a height less than 16.5 inches should work fine. Just make sure that the product is tall enough to prevent the hung pasta ends from coming in contact with the countertop.
If your chosen pasta drying rack features a flat base, make sure it is large enough to stabilize the entire product and prevent it from toppling over after all of the pasta and sheets have been hung. We recommend picking a product with a weighted base and a size of 7/8 inches. This will ensure that your pasta drying stand won’t tip or topple and will retain its balance even when full of fresh, heavy pasta.
Number of arms and rods
The next thing you need to focus on is the number of rods or arms the pasta drying rack has. Some products have 10 long arms that radiate from the center stand in different directions. On the other hand, there are a few racks that come with four long rods. Once you slide them through the holes in the stand, you will have eight arms to hang pasta noodles and sheets on. You need to decide whether you want eight or 10 arms on your pasta drying rack based on the number of portions you plan to cook.
Some pasta drying racks have reinforced feet rather than a flat base. If you choose one of these products, make sure that the feet are oriented in such a way that the entire rack is balanced equally on all sides. Also, we recommend choosing a rack that has four rubber, non-slip feet as it will offer more stability and balance regardless of how many pasta noodle strips or sheets you hang on its arms.
Storage and portability
Make sure you choose a pasta drying rack that is lightweight so that you can easily store or transport it. If you have a shortage of space in your kitchen, a pasta drying rack with a collapsible structure is ideal. This way, you can fold down the arms and reduce its overall size so that it can fit in any corner of the kitchen or inside a drawer or cabinet.
Arm and rod orientation
Pasta drying racks are meant to dry handmade pasta so that the noodles or sheets don’t stick to each other or form a clump. Because of this, they usually have their arms or rods oriented in such a manner that no pasta noodle or sheet comes in contact with other pieces and sticks to them. This type of orientation allows for faster, more even drying without leaving any wet or moist spots on the pasta.