Few things are ever nearly as difficult as infomercials make them seem. Most of us couldn’t manage to fail so spectacularly at simple tasks like holding a bowl of chips, unrolling some plastic wrap, cracking eggs or straining pasta as these poor clumsy dimwits, directed to mess up in hilarious ways that are supposed to make them easy to relate to. Most of the products infomercials are pushing don’t actually do much to solve the so-called problems they present, but every now and then, one comes along that is actually just as useful as they claim.
The Pizzeria Pronto is one such product. Gimmicky at first glance, this item wouldn’t be out of place on late night television, though you’re more likely to find it at Williams-Sonoma than the As Seen On TV store. Thankfully, the creators spare us a bunch of clips of hapless would-be bakers struggling to pull pies out of the oven only to find them goopy in the middle or burnt to a crisp, which is actually a likely scenario if you’re not used to baking pizzas at home.
The act of tossing and baking a perfectly crisp yet chewy pizza crust is an art requiring lots of practice and skill for proper mastery. Pizzeria bakers working with traditional wood-fired ovens are at the expert level, and you can’t exactly expect the same results when attempting this feat at home. Or can you? The Pizzeria Pronto takes certain aspects of the baking process and makes them as fast and easy as can be.
This stovetop device, designed specifically for gas ranges, sort of resembles a miniature grill. Red and black, punctuated with ventilation holes, the tiny pizza oven heats up to 600°F or hotter and can cook a personal-sized pizza in just six minutes. Most conventional residential ovens can’t get anywhere near that hot — and searing heat is actually what makes for a perfect pizza.
Dual cordierite stones inside the mini oven take the heat from a gas stovetop flame and evenly distribute it to eliminate hot spots. That’s tricky to do even if you’ve got a fancy backyard pizza oven setup. A built-in thermometer will tell you when it’s time to pop in your pizza, and an optional metal pizza peel makes it easy to remove it when it’s done.
It takes up to an hour for many home ovens to even reach 500°F, but the Pizzeria Pronto reaches its max temperature in just 15 minutes, meaning you can have a homemade pizza on the table in well under thirty minutes (not counting the time it takes to make the crust.) If you cheat and buy store-bought, ready-made dough, your cook time will be minimized even more.
It’s a no-brainer that a made-from-scratch pizza cooked in a contraption that gets just as hot as a traditional wood-fired oven is going to beat any frozen pizza hands-down. While it’s true that most of us want to keep our kitchens free of unnecessary gadgets when possible, the Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven might be worth having around if you’re a true pizza fiend. It’s available at the Pizzacraft site, Amazon and as a sleek gray special edition at Williams-Sonoma.