Requires use of pricey butane, or a propane convertor
Witt’s Etna Rotante offers something many pizza ovens don’t: consistent overall cooking, an extra burner below the stone for crispy bases, and a fast heat-up so you won’t have wait long to tuck in. However, it falls short on guidance, a temperature gauge, and accessories, making it less suitable for pizza newbies.
Making your own pizza in a proper pizza oven can be either incredibly satisfying or incredibly frustrating. Once you get into those high temperatures, the chances increase of burning the edges or cooking one side well but the other not so much.
Designed to produce perfectly cooked pizza every time, Witt’s Etna Rotante comes with its own spin: a rotating pizza stone.
Coupled with a U-shaped burner wrapped around it, and a second burner underneath, it aims to nix burning and undercooked issues, while producing desirable leopard-spotted crispy crusts in under two minutes. A final flourish is a family-sized cooking area that’s 40.5cm in diameter, meaning that catering for a crowd is a cinch.
Design and build
Heavy at 26.8kg/ 59lbs
Witt’s Etna Rotante leaves a good first impression. Made mostly from steel and galvanised iron, and available in four painted colours, including a gorgeous matt orange, it feels well-built and robust.
Pizza ovens are naturally heavy things, but this one is weightier than most at 26.8kg/ 59lbs. It’s also quite bulky (H43.6 x W66.3 x D76.1cm/ 17 x 26.10 x 30in), meaning it’s either a two-person carry or it’s best to pick a place for it to live and leave it there.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
Another reason for this is that its four, fold-out aluminium legs have a tendency to collapse in when it’s moved – being able to secure them in position would be a plus.
If you’re raising it up on a heatproof table or similar, it’ll need to be sturdy enough to take the weight. Plus, the hose connecting to the butane bottle isn’t that long, so you may have to factor in the weight of that too.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
Its controls and gas connection sit low on the right-hand side. There are two dials to control the main U-shaped burner and burner below the pizza stone, plus a button to start and stop the stone’s rotation.
The rotation is powered by either 4 x AA batteries or a plug-in adaptor inserted underneath – confusingly, the instructions aren’t specific that you don’t need both.
Next to that battery compartment is a second one for the electronic ignition, which is powered by a single AA battery. It’s supplied with a gas hose with a butane connector, meaning that if you have propane at hand instead of butane (advisable since our bottle cost £70), you’ll need to source an alternative.
Inside is where the magic happens. Much like the turntable of a microwave, the pizza stone rotates at 2.5rpm to distribute the heat evenly. In front of this is a piece of static stone – ideal for keeping small amounts of food hot or catching any debris. Both stones are removable for cleaning – but the instructions specify to only use plain water, which we found ineffective against burnt-on residue.
Once it’s connected to the gas bottle, it’s fairly straightforward to get started with the Etna Rotante. The electronic ignition lit both burners quickly, and we could spend its preheating time (about 15 minutes) topping our pizza bases, so there was no waiting around – something we especially liked.
However, unlike ovens with a static surface inside, the success of cooking with the Etna Rotante comes from landing the pizza fairly centrally on its rotating stone. Even when the rotation is turned off, it was clear a pizza peel was required (the oven doesn’t come with one). All our attempts to get pizza in and out of the oven without a peel ended messily.
Along the same lines, there’s not much guidance for achieving the best results with the pizza oven beyond dough and tomato sauce recipes. Knowledge of using an outdoor oven seems to be assumed, indicating that this may not be the best product for those new to making homemade pizza at hotter temperatures than an indoor oven.
For example, there’s no temperature gauge to indicate what heat you might be cooking at (the oven goes up to 500°C/ 932°F), and visibility inside the oven is limited if it’s on the ground.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
We cooked most of our pizza for two minutes – more than the ‘less than 90 seconds’ suggested time, which may have meant our oven didn’t always reach its maximum temperature. As you can’t see the burner under the stone without looking underneath through an inspection hole, it’s hard to know whether at times the boost flame was extinguished by a breeze.
In the end, we found the best results came from a preheat on full power then cooking with the U-shaped burner on a medium setting. This gave a good balance of control over the results (as the dough can burn very quickly) without compromising on speed too much, and still produced the elusive leopard-spotted crusts.
Price and availability
In the UK, there are plenty of buying options for the Etna Rotante, including Amazon, B&Q and Marks Electrical but at the time of writing, there’s no price advantage from buying from any retailer – in each case it’s being sold for at the £699 RRP – so it’s best to browse for the colour you want.
In the US, your best best is to buy direct from Witt for $999.
But there are much cheaper pizza ovens available. We’ve tested and highly rate the wood-fired Ooni Fyra (£249/ $349) and the larger, luxury Ooni Karu (£699/ $799).
Aimed more at the pizza aficionado than the occasional outdoor cook, the Etna Rotante does lots of things well. These include consistent results once you get the hang of things, easy to use controls, and a fast heat-up.
And, while some pizza ovens are a bit boxy and traditional, we felt that it also scored highly in the style stakes with its modern shape and range of colours – sure to impress a crowd as well as cater for one.
That said, given its price point, you’d hope for better instructions and the ability to use propane, a far more accessible bottled gas in the UK at least, straight from the box.
However, if sleek design, authentic-looking results and a large capacity are at the top of your wish list, the Etna Rotante is sure to turn your head.