A Passion for Perfect Pasta – Lillo Due machine-made pasta is better than handmade, says Phil Howard

Pasta has been on the menu at Phil Howard’s iconic two Michelin star Mayfair restaurant, The Square, ever since it opened in 1991. “Our philosophy is to deliver pleasure, through harmony of flavour,” he says. “It’s about simple things, done well. Everyone loves a great pasta dish. It can be an absolute, perfect pleasure.”

In the past pasta at The Square has been rolled by hand. Recently Phil installed a Lillo Due pasta machine, supplied by Fords Food Equipment, and he says it’s helped achieve perfect pasta.

“The machine mixes, kneads and extrudes the pasta,” he says, “so it’s fool proof. However, the critical element is food quality. Handmade pasta needs more moisture in the dough. Because the machine’s dough is dryer, it means when we cook the pasta it is perfectly al dente.” A huge choice of different pastas can be made using the Lillo Due. It extrudes the pasta through bronze dies, which impart a rough surface texture that holds sauce better than pastas made using other methods. “The texture of the machine’s pasta is superior to handmade, not only in terms of bite but also in the ability to cloak itself in the sauce. It’s the perfect vehicle for our sauces,” says Phil.

The Lillo Due from Fords Food EquipmentAs well as delivering perfect pasta, the Lillo Due has allowed The Square to extend its pasta repertoire. “Different shapes, different flours, different flavours – chestnut pasta is a favourite – and different types. For example, some pastas require enormous pressure to create, which the machine can apply easily, but which would be impossible to make by hand. Others can only be made using an extruder, such as proper spaghetti, linguine and rigatoni.”
The Square’s Lillo Due has a 1kg flour hopper. The machine is designed to be as simple as possible to operate and the pasta-making process is effortless and fast: the machine will automatically mix, knead and extrude a ten-portion batch of pasta in as little as 20 minutes, or 3kg of pasta per hour. “It’s very straightforward, not only to operate but also to look after, and it’s strong and robust. It really does the job.”

The theatre of cooking is an increasingly important part of the restaurant industry and the Lillo Due scores here, too. “At The Square the machine is in the kitchen, but at our other venue, Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes, we have one right there in front of the customers. People have a passion for pasta, but most don’t know how it’s made and they really enjoy watching the machine in action. “It works a treat, it’s a lovely thing.” The Lillo Due is part of Ford Food Equipment’s range of pasta making machines.

The company’s full product range includes ravioli machines, planetary mixers, prosciutto slicers, gravity slicers, dough mixers, dough rounders, dough dividers, pizza base sheeters, juicers and vegetable slicers.

Fords Food Equipment pioneered the introduction of fresh pasta extruding equipment and has a strong reputation for knowledge of the process, quality of equipment and high standards of customer service. Fords Food Equipment is an operating division of Fords Packaging Systems Ltd, the multi-million pound engineering company which builds specialist packaging machinery for the worldwide food and drinks industry.

For more information, please take a look at our website: www.fordsfoodequipment.co.uk