If you enjoy cooking, pizza and entertaining outdoors check out a wood fired pizza oven. I put in a Mugnaini oven 4 years ago and I couldn't be happier. There is something magical about cooking in an ancient relic that has no moving parts and has been used to feed villages of people for hundreds of years.
What to Consider
When looking at Pizza ovens consider how you will use the oven. I chose the Medio 110 which is the largest "non-commerical" oven Mugnaini makes. The upside of a larger oven is that you can fit your Thanksgiving turkey in the opening and cook several pizza's at a time. The downside is that bigger ovens take longer to heat up (upwards of an hour) and in most instances you won't fire it up just to make a couple pizza's for dinner or to bake a couple loaves of bread.... it will be used for entertaining. A smaller oven is more practical for personal use and smaller gatherings, will take up less space and will use a lot less wood.
Why Do It
You might ask yourself what the allure of a pizza oven is when you can simply call your favorite pizza joint and have a pie delivered in less time that it takes to heat up a wood burning oven. If you ask this question then a wood burning oven is not for you. However, if you are into the process as much as the result you will enjoy the rewards of a pizza oven. Imagine if you will, a place where a small gathering of friends and family come together outside on a Sunday afternoon for some food and fun. The oven is fired, the corks are popped and the bocce court comes to life. As the dough rises, the herbs are chopped and the cheese is sliced the perfect pizza is 3 minutes away in the 600 degree oven. This is why is exactly why you do it.
Get your Pizza on!
Perhaps the best part of owning a pizza oven is the blank canvas to create whatever you want. My favorite creation is a fig, prosciutto and goat cheese pizza, although if I could only make on pizza the rest of my life it would be Neapolitan style pizza. I recommend 00 flour, a cold yeast rise, San Marzano Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hand chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
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