Mario Batali Amici Pizza Oven 500 Series [CBO500&CART]
by Jason Rabin
Date Added: Tuesday 19 June, 2012
I have now owned the Amici 500 for about a month and have had a chance to make everything from pizza to bagels to Naan bread and even roast chicken.
All I can say is that I am sold on the wood burning cooking concept. This oven is just amazing fun and looks great in my backyard. You will be the envy of pretty much everyone with this baby.
Just a few caveats: 1) The cooking surface has to accomodate both the thing you're cooking AND the fire, so it's not as large as it sounds on paper. One ten inch pizza is about the most you can realistically fit on the hearth. 2) Wood fired cooking is not easy to master; learning how to start a fire, sustain a fire and get the oven to white hot temperature takes practice. 3) Wood fired cooking is still pretty rare, so you'll need to look hard to find resources on the net for mastering the oven and many wood fired recipes. The resources available from the manufacturer on not great overall. 4) You will need to invest in an ember bin to place excess flaming embers when you clear the hearth for cooking. A metal garbage can is ideal, but the bin from a charcoal grille can substitute in a pinch.
My only criticism of this oven is the manual, which consists of basically a piece of paper. For something that is setting you back over $5,000 after shipping and tax, you would think they could give you a proper manual and recipe book. I also think they could have supplied a more practical oven brush, one that isn't flammable, plus some decent tongs for handling flaming wood.