I am not someone who likes to have a lot of useless kitchen gadgets and tools cluttering up my cooking space. So, imagine my surprise and delight at finding a countertop pizza oven that actually makes excellent, restaurant-quality pizzas.
Normally, I devote the Monday Meal blog to recipes. However, this week I'm taking a detour into kitchen tools because I'm so excited to share this discovery with my fellow pizza fanatics.
However, I can't take credit for discovering the NEWWAVE Stone Bake Pizza Oven myself. I owe that to food expert, restaurant critic and cookbook author John Mariani. In his weekly free online newsletter last week, he recommended three kitchen gifts for the holidays. Like me, he was initially suspicious of the NEWWAVE Stone Bake Pizza Oven. It's lightweight and, frankly, looks sort of like a Foreman grill for pizza. But, Mariani -- who is an authority on Italian food -- was very impressed by this pizza oven and so I decided, based on his recommendation, to buy one and take it for a spin.
I found the pizza oven at Best Buy, where it was on sale for $79.99 (it normally retails for $99.99). The oven comes with two metal pizza paddles that are perfect for placing pizzas on, and removing pizzas from, the hot stone.
The oven cooks single 12-inch pizzas (I wish they made a bigger model for larger pizzas). Now, normally, I cook pizzas at home in my regular oven, which can only reach 550 degrees F. and can take a half hour to reach that temperature. This little pizza maker goes up to 700 degrees and takes about five minutes to get there. Think of the savings on electric bills!
It has a removable (for cleaning) pizza stone that sits above an electric coil. There's another electric coil in the top of the lid. The amazing thing is that the pizza oven only takes five minutes to heat up. Then, you simply put your pizza on the stone, close the lid, raise the temperature, and the pizza cooks in about four minutes, depending on thickness.
Best of all, it comes out bubbly, crispy and slightly charred, like a wood-fired or brick-oven pizza. I made a pepperoni pizza for my stepson and he declared it "better than Domino's," which is high praise coming from a teenager.
Please rest assured, I was not paid for this endorsement. I bought the pizza oven with my own money and I just love it so much I wanted to share it with you.
For my basic pizza dough recipe, which makes two 12-inch pizzas, click here. For these pizzas, I used nothing more than dough, passata, fresh mozzarella, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, and pepperoni for the pepperoni pizza.
The pizza oven also cooks frozen pizzas in about half the normal time, along with pita pizzas, dessert pizzas, etc.
Here are some before and after photos of the first two pizzas I made with my NEWWAVE Stone Bake Pizza Oven.
Here's an uncooked Margherita pizza.
Slide the pizza onto the baking stone, close the lid and raise the temperature.
Four minutes later, this was the result -- the first pizza I'd tried with my new pizza oven. (I'm not so good at making "round" pizzas.)
Garnished with basil.
Better than Domino's!
I can't imagine a pizza lover/cook who wouldn't be thrilled to find the NEWWAVE Stone Bake Pizza Oven under the tree on Christmas day.
Photos by Ted Scheffler