Compact and efficient, with possibilities that go beyond thin-crust and deep-dish pizza to include frittatas and other griddle foods.
The oven doesn’t give you a temperature reading.
This probably isn’t something a serious pizza geek would get excited about, but if you make the occasional pizza and have a kitchen with limited space and equipment, the Petite Pizzeria is a pretty handy appliance.
We have been burned before (literally and figuratively) by countertop appliances, so we were skeptical about this one. But hey, the Petite Pizzeria by NewWave (a Sur La Table exclusive) is the number-one-selling countertop pizza oven in Australia, so it has to have something going for it. Right?
A plug-in countertop oven, the Petite Pizzeria has a ceramic stone insert for thin-crust pizzas and a nonstick deep-dish pizza pan for heftier Chicago-style pies (NewWave says the deep-dish insert can also be used to cook frittatas or even to brown meat). The diameter of the cooking surface is 12 inches, and the whole appliance is only 6 inches high, so it’s pretty compact. The Petite Pizzeria has dual W-shaped heating elements (1,200 watts total) and a heat-control dial with three settings. The maximum high temp is 710 degrees Fahrenheit, and the manufacturer says a thin-crust pizza can cook in as little as five minutes. It comes with a pair of wooden paddles for transporting your pizzas. The ceramic pizza stone and nonstick pan are hand-wash only (it’s recommended that you avoid soap with the stone); wipe the oven body clean with a dry cloth.
We made cheese pizzas with fresh dough, cooked a frozen pizza, and made a flat kale frittata in the deep-dish insert.
Fresh pizza: Our first pizza out of the gate was a little flabby, but the second was nicely charred on the bottom, and it cooked through in about five minutes.
Frozen pizza: This took about eight minutes. We started on the lower oven setting and then cranked it up to finish (per the directions in the user guide). It was weird to rely on numbers (1, 2, or 3) instead of real temperature readings to try to get a sense of how hot the oven was.
Frittata: We used the deep-dish insert, which worked sort of like a mini nonstick sauté pan on a hot plate. We were able to wilt the kale in olive oil, just as we would in an actual pan on the stove. We stirred in cheese and eggs, and after a few minutes with the lid closed we had a tasty, nicely puffed, and browned frittata.
To sum up: If you're seeking out a serious pizza experience, the Petite Pizzeria won't get you there. But if you have a tiny kitchen, live in a dorm, or travel in an RV, this is a fun and useful appliance. Our frittata test seemed like only the beginning. Our brains churned, thinking about the possibilities: quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, calzones ...
Photos by Chris Rochelle