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Mario Batali Piastra...?

In anticipation of this month's COTM discussion, I just got Mario Batali's "Italian Grill" from my local library. There are a few recipes that call for the use of a piastra -- an Italian griddle surface made from granite. I'm intrigued enough to want to try one, but I can't seem to find them available anywhere. The website referenced in the book (italiankitchen.com) is down and the product is not available on Amazon or anywhere else I can see.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using a piastra, and, if so, what your take is. What kind of a product do you use? It seems that a cast iron griddle can be used, but I liked the idea of granite because it's rustproof. Any recommendations? Thanks!

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  1. My raclette grill has a granite top and is nearly identical to this one:
    http://www.carolesthoughtfulspot.com/...

    As near as I can figure out the piastra you are looking for is 10x14" and my raclette top (would have to measure) might be about that size or perhaps 9x12". I know you can get replacement tops even at places like Sur La Table.
    http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

    I know nothing about a piastra, but I adore the granite top on my raclette grill and it seems not too far off the mark. It's' wonderful to cook on, though with raclette one is always cooking bite size pieces of food -- but I'm sure you could cook something larger on it. And I can't see why you couldn't throw it on the grill, as mine sits right over an electric element (it's just a slab of granite, after all).

    *eta: found Sur La Table's URL for the product: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

    1 Reply
    1. re: mlou72

      I saw that product on Sur La Table yesterday, but for some reason I'm not able to "add it to the cart." Your raclette grill top sounds like it could be a good substitute. Thanks.

    2. You might be interested in this recent post...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7932...

      Another alternative could be an inverted cookie or baking sheet.

      1. Hi Cindy, just a suggestion for a less expensive alternative. Essentially Mario's piastra is a piece of polished, unsealed granite. From what I've been able to find on-line, it's about 1.25" thick. Today we're heading to Lowes to look at their unsealed granite floor tiles. If they're not thick enough we're heading to a local garden centre that carries rocks and I'll get a piece of granite there as they sell them for stepping stones. It won't have straight edges but I'm not concerned about that. I'm going to look for as flat a surface as I can find w as few "veins" in it as possible as I understand Mario's piastras have been known to crack and, it seems the veining may be the weak point. mr bc tells me that the granite floor tiles range from $5-$7 a piece.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          That's BRILLIANT!!! Let me know what you find.

            1. re: CindyJ

              We didn't get there unfortunately Cindy, we've pushed this out to next weekend as we were delayed in our errands last weekend. I'll definitely come back and post here as soon as we get back though.

          1. I'm wondering, now, whether a pizza stone can be used in place of a piastra.

            3 Replies
            1. re: CindyJ

              I think I've seen a cast iron piastra somewhere. I think that pizza stones too fragile for this use. I have read a lot of posts about people trying to use a pizza stone on the grill to make pizza, and there were many reports of cracked pizza stones...

              1. re: roxlet

                If you're going to make pizzas on the grill, what do you need a pizza stone for? You can do them right on the metal grill.

                1. re: escondido123

                  I was thinking about using the stone in place of the piastra on the grill for things like mussels or calamari, not pizza.

            2. The original piastra was made of cast iron, so that could still be the way to go with all the CI grills out there. Then you could also use it inside when it's not grilling season.

              1. I also had difficulty finding a piastra. This one is available online, but it is rather expensive. http://www.myregistry.com/mrcart.aspx...
                If it breaks, I might try granite tiles or my cast iron grill that I use indoors,

                1. Used Mario Batali's piastra a couple of days ago for Christmas dinner, made the pinwheel steak. The steak was great, but my piastra has cracked and my son-in-laws, that we bought for him a few Christmasses ago is now a 2 peice unit.