When I moved into my own flat last year, suddenly free from the politics of flatshares and housemates, I started cooking a lot. Making a risotto from scratch on a Monday night was normal. Or roasting a chicken just because. I could have three rings of my hob on the go, or use all the pans, because I didn’t have someone else waiting to cook when I was done. My dormant cheffiness was awakened.
Then, in January, hours before turning 30 and in the middle of a between-jobs quagmire, I ordered a pasta-maker. I’d seen Master of None’s second season, where Dev (Aziz Ansari) literally gets over a broken heart by moving to Italy and making pasta with some Italian nonnas, but I needed a budget version of Dev’s journey, one that swapped Modena for South East London. And as I got to grips with making a rough dough and flouring surfaces and precision cutting, I needed something like a Swiss Army knife for my kitchen.
You can get all kinds of scrapers online, but this metal one only cost me a fiver and it’s perfect. I use it to cut a sausage-length of gnocchi dough into perfect little pillows, and because it has measurements along the edge, I can also use it to cut out parcels of ravioli instead of one of those fancy ravioli stamps.
There are silicone ones, too, which might have other non-pasta uses, like eking out brownie batter from a mixing bowl or icing a cake. But the metal edge is so useful; if you hold it like a Stanley knife and tip the scraper onto its point, you can slice through a sheet of pasta dough to make spaghetti or linguine — which is way more rustic and nice to look at than an immaculate, identical handful of strands you get with a machine.
It’s pretty much my go-to kitchen tool — if I’m doing a mirepoix, I can use it to transfer finely diced onions and carrot from a chopping board into a pan. I can sweep veg peelings off the counter and into the bin, or divide up bread dough into more workable portions. It costs less than a pint of beer, but I use it practically every day, and I’m a sucker for anything multipurpose. If you have a cheffy partner or your secret Santa has an alt Insta for food pics, it would 100 percent make a great stocking filler.
Other Strategist-approved kitchen tools
Writer Bre Graham uses this grinder to add sesame flavour to everything from noodles to ice cream.
Self-confessed ‘condiment maximalist’ Isabelle O’Carroll loves this lazy Susan so much, she keeps it in the fridge so she can reach stuff with ease.
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